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Saturday, July 13, 2002



Officials ‘account
for’ stolen secret files

But the military will not say
if the data was actually recovered


Staff and wire reports

Military officials said the search for top-secret materials stolen from a car at Waimea Bay last month is over.

"The military is satisfied that all of the missing material has been accounted for," according to a written statement released by the U.S. Pacific Command yesterday.

Navy Capt. John Singley, the command's public affairs officer, declined to elaborate on whether "accounted for" means the materials were actually recovered.

"I wish I could go into more detail, but I can't go beyond that," he said.

A source close to the investigation said it appears that whoever stole the documents -- consisting of no more than three compact discs and various paperwork and files -- threw them in the trash, which by now has been destroyed at the city's HPOWER garbage plant.

The files on CD were taken June 14 from the car of a military officer, who has not been identified, after its owner and three other Air Force and Army officers stopped at Waimea Bay on the North Shore for a swim.

FBI spokesman Kevin Rickett confirmed earlier this week that the agency is investigating the theft.

However, Rickett would neither confirm nor deny whether Singley's comments about the missing documents being "accounted for" were accurate.

"We cannot release details about the investigation itself," Rickett said.

According to Singley, the military is also conducting its own investigation.

"Upon its conclusion, appropriate disciplinary action may or may not be taken based on the results of the investigation," he said.

The material on the discs was so "top-secret" and sensitive that President Bush was notified, according to a KHON-TV report that cited unnamed sources.

Where the officers came from and where they were headed to is also considered highly classified, according to one source.

Singley would not say whether the officers are assigned in Hawaii or were here on a trip. It was also unclear whether their car was a private or U.S. government vehicle.

The theft came to public light just this week after police and federal agents raided a house in Wahiawa on July 5.

Residents denied any knowledge of the theft and authorities did not discuss results of the raid.

However, a source familiar with the investigation said that by Thursday, investigators were aware of who was involved in the theft and were locating them.

Sgt. Robert Olmos at the Wahiawa police station told the Associated Press that police had given federal investigators the names of individuals who have been suspects in past break-ins at the beach.

"All we were told is that it was some highly classified information that involved national security," he said.

Officials at the Pentagon confirmed Washington's awareness of the theft but provided no information.

Wahiawa police said there was a total of 13 car break-ins last month in an area that included Waimea Bay.

Theft is common at beach parking lots around the state. Many lots have signs that warn drivers to remove all valuables from vehicles.


The Associated Press and Star-Bulletin reporter Nelson Daranciang contributed to this report.



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