A New Zealand man has been declared the latest winner of find-the-USB-device-containing-classified-government-data hide-and-seek.
For this round, the US government cleverly stowed 60 files containing personal details about American soldiers who served in Afghanistan and Iraq on an MP3 player sold at an Oklahoma secondhand store.
Chris Ogle, 29, of Whangarei, said the MP3 player never worked as a music player, but it did prove to be a terrific source of US military secrets when he plugged the device into his computer.
The files, which included names and cellphone numbers for soldiers based overseas, were located in a file marked with a warning declaring its contents "prohibited by federal law."
The player also contained information about equipment deployed to bases and even a mission briefing, according to TVNZ. Not bad for the $18 he paid.
"The more I looked at it, the more I see and the less I think I should be," he said.
Although most of the files were dated 2005, TVNZ said some of the phone numbers listed in the files are still active.
Ogle said he would hand the device over to the US Defense Department if asked.
Some previous government participants in the game last include: NATO, which lost a USB memory stick containing classified info in a Stockholm library, and Japan, which had a USB device containing troop deployment maps stolen, recovered, loaned, and then lost. ®