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Tower blueprints turn up in trash

April 19, 2008|From Newsday

NEW YORK — A homeless man's discovery of documents purported to be blueprints for the Freedom Tower is a serious security breach and has prompted an internal investigation, a spokesman for the New York Port Authority said Friday.

Workers found to have broken rules governing the disposal of the blueprints will be fired, and contractors whose employees may have mishandled the papers could lose their contract to build the 1,776-foot tower on the World Trade Center site, Port Authority spokesman Steve Coleman said.

"We already have protocols in place" to prevent sensitive documents from falling into the wrong hands, Coleman said. He added, "We don't tolerate stupidity."

The New York Post reported Friday that a homeless man found the 150-page document while rummaging through a trash can. The blueprints were dated Oct. 5, 2007, and were labeled, "Secure Document -- Confidential," the newspaper said.

Port Authority inspector general Robert VanEtten launched an investigation into the discovery Thursday after officials learned about the Post story, Coleman said.

Although blueprints for the tower now under construction have been modified since October, Coleman said that they should not have been thrown into an ordinary trash bin.

Port Authority employees are required to follow a 60-page set of instructions on handling and disposal of documents such as blueprints, Coleman said, adding that contractors are subject to the same rules.

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