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ssgtt32
10-27-07, 10:35 AM
Oct. 27, 2007, 1:28AM
Private Pentagon files surface in Alvin home
One folder contained Social Security number of Colin Powell

By RICHARD STEWART
Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle

ALVIN Did a former Pentagon employee take a file cabinet filled with sensitive information about America's top Army generals including former Secretary of State Colin Powell and then leave them behind in an Alvin house sold in a sheriff's sale?

That's what police and the Department of Defense would like to know.

Members of an Alvin family looking for salvageable materials a few days ago hauled the file cabinet holding the records home from a small house on Lee Street that is being renovated.

"The contractor told us to take whatever we wanted," said Alfredo Moreno III.

His uncle, Martin Ortiz, later looked through the cabinet and got a shock when he opened one of the drawers. "I thought, what is this doing here?" he said. "I knew this was important."

"Here we are in little old Alvin," Police Chief Mike Merkel said Friday, "and I have a folder in my hand that contains Colin Powell's Social Security number."

After a brief look through some of the files, which appeared to be from the 1980s and 1990s, Merkel said he saw "sensitive information that doesn't need to get out."

He ordered the file cabinet and its contents to be hauled to the police station and locked in an evidence room.

Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Brian Maka said military investigators will review the files, see if they are genuine and investigate how they got to Alvin.

"We take any release of sensitive information of military personnel as being very serious," Maka said.

Also in the file cabinet were certificates indicating that a former owner of the small house worked at the Pentagon from 1987 to 1994.

Attempts by the Houston Chronicle to reach the woman were not successful.

Tax records indicate she owned the house from 1999 until last May when it was sold in a sheriff's sale. The new owners are renovating the house.

The front file in the drawer was labeled "Generals list" and included names, addresses, phone numbers, Social Security numbers and other information on dozens of Army generals.

The file labeled Colin Powell listed him as a lieutenant general, a rank he held from 1986 to 1989.

Merkel said he will let the military investigate the mystery. "There's no law against hauling away a file cabinet that's being thrown away," he said.

The chief praised Moreno and his family for handing over the files. "It's a good thing that this didn't get out and end up on the Internet," he said.

Moreno said he's glad to be rid of the files. "They made us nervous," he said. "We didn't want them."

richard.stewart@chron.com

HardJedi
10-27-07, 10:37 AM
wow. thats all i can really say. wow.:cry: