Air Force tosses secret files in garbage

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Air Force tosses secret files in garbage


The Air Force last year negligently disposed of classified documents but only reported the files missing nine months after the fact, a lawmaker said Monday.

According to Representative Shin Hak-yong of the Democratic Party, an orderly of a senior Air Force officer threw away the Air Force’s Operational Plan 3600-06 and Operational Order 2500 in December 2010. The officer had borrowed the documents days earlier from Air Force Operations Command.

Shin, who serves on the National Assembly’s National Defense Committee, said Operational Plan 3600-06 details the Air Force’s contingency plans against North Korea, while Operational Order 2500 serves as a guideline for peacetime aerial operations.

The orderly disposed of the files before the Air Force’s regular security check, during which inspectors check a given unit’s handling of confidential documents. Shin said a colonel-level officer merely watched as the orderly threw away the documents, which were labeled “military secrets.” A closed-circuit television also captured the moment when the files were tossed into a garbage truck, the lawmaker added.

Under military law, all branches of the service must immediately report any missing document to the Defense Security Command, the top counterintelligence unit. Shin said the Air Force only notified the command of the incident in September of this year.

The official said that these documents were incinerated and there is no evidence that any of the confidential information had been leaked. But he also acknowledged mishandling of military secrets on the Air Force’s part.

“An Air Force officer was assigned to a different post and told the orderly to clear out old materials without checking for confidential documents,” the official told reporters.

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