Friday, June 01, 2007



Sometimes it doesn't seem that anyone remembers how to keep a secret anymore...
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Detailed plans for the new U.S. Embassy now under construction in Baghdad appeared online in a major breach of the tight security surrounding the sensitive project that will be America's largest diplomatic mission abroad.

Computer-generated projections of the nearly completed heavily fortified compound were posted to the Web site of Berger Devine Yaeger Inc., an American architectural firm that was contracted to design the massive facility in the Iraqi capital.

The post was removed by the company from its Web site Thursday shortly after being contacted about it by the State Department.

"We work very hard to ensure the safety and security of our employees overseas," said Gozalo Gallegos, a State Department spokesman. "This kind of information out in the public domain detracts from that effort."
Uh-huh. I'll just bet it does.

Sounds to me as though someone at Berger Devine Yaeger wanted to boast about the fine job they're doing... and forgot completely about it being a top-secret facility!

The article continues with weasel-worded excuses from the company, and lame after-the-fact comments about how the architectural renderings weren't that accurate anyway. But I found this more convincing:
Some U.S. officials acknowledged that damage may have been done by the postings and used expletives to describe their personal reactions, but downplayed the overall risk posed.

"People are eventually going to figure out where all these places are, but you don't have to draw them a map," said one senior official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak about the embassy project.
(emphasis mine)

So now the American Embassy in Baghdad, a 592-million-dollar project, is compromised before it's even completed. Nice going, guys.

Let me add, by the way, that there are enough goof-ups to go around. Some newspapers -- such as the Seattle Post-Intelligencer ("intelligent as a post") and the Washington Post -- managed to grab some of the images... and published them. (What, are they now jealous of the New York Times?)

Just to be clear, by the way: so far I've seen at least two of these images, cached and re-published by others. I have chosen not to put them up here.

Why? -- Not because I think it matters much. (I doubt either of my regular readers is an al-Qaeda operative.) And I understand that the barn door is now wide open, so any pictures I post probably wouldn't make matters worse.

No, I've chosen to keep those pictures off this site because I have my pride, damn it. Regardless of whether my actions make any difference to the Big Picture, I choose not to be part of the problem -- or to throw my weight in with those who are.

Other bloggers, including some I respect, have posted pictures. That's their decision to make; I've made mine.


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