81 Boxes of Top-Secret and Restricted Documents Missing at National Archives
Friday, May 04, 2012
Indiana Jones and Sallah Find the Lost Ark of the Covenant
At the very end of Raiders of the Lost Ark, the prized Lost Ark of the Covenant is last seen disappearing inside an immense government warehouse, presumably lost forever amid thousands and thousands of boxes.
The same fate may have befallen thousands of real, classified documents stored within the federal government’s mammoth facility located outside Washington, DC.
According to the inspector general for the National Archives and Records Administration, NARA has lost track of 81 boxes containing top secret or restricted data—including nuclear weapons information. Among these are four boxes of material designated “Top Secret” by the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
Government officials don’t think the materials have been stolen. Instead, the paperwork may just be unaccounted for inside The Washington National Records Center, which features rooms double the size of football fields that house row after row of boxed documents.
In addition to the 81 missing boxes, NARA could not account for 1,540 other boxes of material classified at the “secret” or “confidential” level, said the IG.
William J. Bosanko, NARA’s executive for agency services, insisted his agency is conducting a “very aggressive search” for the misplaced papers.
To Learn More
Secret Files Missing at National Archives (by Jim McElhatton, Washington Times)
Classified Records Said to be Missing from National Archives (by Steven Aftergood, Secrecy News)
Report of Investigation (Inspector General, National Archives and Records Administration) (pdf)
Clinton-Era Hard Drive Goes Missing from National Archives (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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