An MP3 player purchased for $14.50 (brown Zune?) at an Oklahoma second-hand store had an extra surprise inside—60 files containing Iraq- and Afghanistan-deployed soldiers' personal info, a mission briefing and base equipment manifests. Score!
Chris Ogle, who hails from the Kiwi town Whangerei, says the device (sadly unspecified) never worked as an MP3 player, and when he plugged it in to diagnose why, said military files were found. Included in the dump are large lists of deployed soldiers with their SSNs, cellphone numbers and health info, as well as lists of equipment deployed to various bases and mission details.
Chris says he will return his new found treasure to the DOD if they so request, and in the mean time, is honing his skills at providing soundbytes in rhymed verse:
"The more I look at it, the more I see and the less I think I should be!"
ONE News found amongst the files lists of soldiers based in Afghanistan, along with the names of some personnel who have fought in Iraq and cellphones numbers for soldiers based overseas.
ONE News called some of the numbers and the phones are still active.
The files that the numbers were located in are marked with a warning saying the release of its contents is "prohibited by federal law".
There are also details of equipment deployed to the bases and private information about soldiers, such as social security numbers and even which ones are pregnant.
"One of the first rules of military endeavour is not to give the opposition anything whatsoever that they could use to compromise your position, in any way at all," says Peter Cozens of Strategic Studies at Victoria University.
Most of the files found are dated 2005 and seem unlikely to compromise US national security, but experts contacted by ONE News say they could put the individual soldiers at risk.
"This is just slack administrative procedures which are indeed a cause of embarrassment. And it's the sort of thing which ought not really to be in the public domain," says Cozens.