U.S. Militarys PDF Fiasco Was Avoidable
Opinion: Reporters uncovered blacked-out text in a PDF document and found classified information about the shooting of an Italian intelligence agent in Iraq. With the right software, the leak could have been prevented.When I first heard on the radio that secret information had been found hidden in a document given to media by the U.S. military in Iraq, my first thought was Microsoft Word. Most people dont realize how much information Word (along with PowerPoint and Excel) stores with your document, including previous versions and some changes. But the culprit was Adobe Acrobat, not Microsoft Word. Reporters found they could remove the black from blacked-out areas of the PDF document and read the text underneath.
Apparently, someone in the military thought he could redact the document just by blacking out the text he wanted to keep secret. But if you open the document in Adobe Acrobat, the original text is easily uncovered, as the Army found outpresumably to its horror since the information included "rules of engagement" never publicly released and useful to enemies planning attacks.