A homeless man foraging for cardboard in a Manhattan sidewalk trash can found schematics for the skyscraper to rise above Ground Zero, the New York Post reports.
The 150 pages, marked “Secure Document – Confidential” and “properly destroy if discarded,” contained duplicate copies of specific floor plans for the 1,776-foot-tall Freedom Tower, including the location of support beams, elevators, air ducts, wiring, and the thickness of the building’s concrete walls. One duplicate was missing 14 pages, according to the report.
Mike Fleming, the 28 year-old recovering drug addict who found the plans, showed more diligence than the documents’ legal owners, immediately contacting authorities:
“They were right on top and the garbage truck came along 10 minutes later,” [Fleming] said, “I was outraged, because this is priceless and it could gets [sic] into the wrong hands.
“I am an honest guy. This could have ended up on eBay or gotten to al Qaeda.”
Candace McAdams, a spokeswoman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the World Trade Center (WTC) site, told reporters that the state’s inspector general would investigate the mishandling of the documents, dated October 5, 2007.
McAdams downplayed their value:
According to McAdams, the plans are several versions old, “not very detailed” bidding documents that are given to anyone bidding on contracts.
In a similar case, 26 pages of plans for Canada’s new national counterintelligence center were found in a trash can on an Ottawa street.
To learn about efforts to fend off corruption in construction of the new WTC complex, check out “Towers of Integrity: Rebuilding Fraud Free,” by Deborah Wetzel in the July 2007 print edition of Security Management.