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'Sensitive' police document may be threat only to NYPD's image

From Katie Silver, CNN
  • New York Police apparently threw into trash a "sensitive" counterterrorism plan
  • The document was supposed to be destroyed
  • A passerby who's a blogger finds it and posts it online
  • A police spokesman says the document contains no secrets or threats

New York (CNN) -- A "sensitive" counterterrorism document belonging to the New York Police Department was found in a trash can outside a police station by a passerby who has drawn attention for posting it online.

Bucky Turco, the passerby who's also a blogger, found the document Thursday evening outside the Manhattan South Stationhouse on 42nd Street.

That was apparently just one day after the papers were used in a police department's counterterrorism training session, according to CNN affiliate WABC. The document was dated May 11.

The eight-page document, entitled "COBRA Task Force Deployments," contained a map of Times Square, instructions on vehicle checks and an old NYPD Terrorism Intelligence Report, dated February 21. COBRA, which stands for chemical ordinance, biological and radiological awareness, is a federally funded program to instruct officers on how to react to terrorist threats.

The document was stamped as "law enforcement sensitive" and said it "may not be distributed to members outside the NYPD" and that "all copies must be destroyed upon completion."

"The paper was just sitting in the can," Turco said.

He took it home, read it over "to check it wasn't a threat," and then posted it on his blog Friday afternoon, he said.

NYPD spokesman Paul J. Browne said the document didn't contain any top secret information.

"The document involved the deployment of 20 highly visible uniformed officers whose assignments were obvious to anyone with eyes in their head," he said.

"Granted, we would have preferred it was disposed of more discreetly, but its discovery by a dumpster-diver posed no threat to the public or anyone else," Browne added.

Turco, whose site has received more than 100,000 hits since posting the police document, doesn't disagree.

"The document sounds and looks scarier than it is," he said.

"The only threat it presents is to the NYPD's image," he added.

Turco said he hopes the incident will prevent further slip-ups by the NYPD.

"We're talking two blocks from one of New York City's main terrorist targets," he said.

He was referring to how last May, Faisal Shahzad, a U.S. citizen who was born in Pakistan, tried to set off a car bomb in Times Square. The attempt was foiled and the former financial analyst was sentenced to life imprisonment.

CNN's Michael Martinez contributed to this report.