With the issue of intentional government leaks of classified information frequently in the news, the problem of unintentional leaks of classified and sensitive information is frequently overlooked. The examples are numerous and startling.

Last year, U.S. military commanders in Iraq released a long-awaited report of the American investigation into the fatal shooting of an Italian agent escorting a freed hostage through a security checkpoint. In order to give the classified report the widest possible distribution, officials posted the document on the military’s “Multinational Force-Iraq” Web site in Adobe’s portable document format, or PDF. The report was heavily redacted, with sections obscured by black boxes.

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