Pay no attention to that swimming pool behind the curtain!
Detailed plans for the new U.S. Embassy now under construction in Baghdad appeared online in a major breach of the tight security surrounding the sensitive project that will be America’s largest diplomatic mission abroad.
Computer-generated projections of the nearly completed heavily fortified compound were posted to the Web site of Berger Devine Yaeger Inc., an American architectural firm that was contracted to design the massive facility in the Iraqi capital.
The post was removed by the company from its Web site Thursday shortly after being contacted about it by the State Department.
“We work very hard to ensure the safety and security of our employees overseas,” said Gozalo Gallegos, a State Department spokesman. “This kind of information out in the public domain detracts from that effort.”
Oh really? Is it the safety and security of your employees you’re worried about, or the safety and security of your luxuries?
The 10 images included a scheme of the overall layout of the compound, plus depictions of individual buildings, including the embassy itself, office annexes, the Marine Corps security post, swimming pool, recreation center, ambassador’s and deputy ambassador’s residences.
U.S. officials said the posted plans conformed at least roughly to conceptual drawings for the new embassy, which is being built on the banks of the Tigris River behind huge fences due to fears insurgents will attack what is already a prime target.
Yeah, I can’t imagine why insurgents might want to take a shot at it; it’s not like we’re rubbing it in their faces or anything…
The $592 million embassy, on a chunk of prime real estate two-thirds the size of Washington’s National Mall, is expected to be completed in September. The images posted on the Web site show that it will be a spacious and comfortable facility, albeit dangerous.
Identified as the “Baghdad U.S. Embassy Compound Master Plan,” the images show palm-lined paths and gardens, volleyball and basketball courts outside the Marine post, as well as the swimming pool, all with a view of the river.
“In total, the 104-acre compound will include over twenty buildings, including one classified secure structure and housing for over 380 families,” the Web site boasts.
It says the compound will include the embassy building, housing, a PX, commissary, cinema, retail and shopping areas, restaurants, schools, a fire station, power and water treatment plants as well as telecommunications and wastewater treatment facilities.
All within the city recently named as the Worst Place to Live on Earth. Volleyball, anyone?