Press Room

Feb 18 2015

Shredded Documents from US Embassy Reconstructed


North Andover, MA | February, 18, 2015:  As a 30-something year old, I am a member of a younger generation that does not remember the Iranian Hostage Crisis of 1979. So here's a look back at why it's not just shredding in general, but how we shred that is so important.


On November 4th, 1979, student revolutionaries stormed the US Embassy in Tehran, Iran taking 90 people hostage, including 66 Americans. In the choas, staffers raced to shred senstive documents containing highly confidential information. The documents were "strip shredded" and left behind assuming they were destroyed forever.


Who would have thought that the shreds would eventually end up in the hands of local carpet weavers who would leverage their skills and craft to painstakingly reconstruct the documents. Well, they did. It took years of patience and persistance, but their efforts were successful.


Not only were government secrets compromised and agents' lives put at risk, but the Iranian goverment actually released the information in a series of books called "Documents from the U.S. Espionage Den." The books are available for sale to the public by local vendors in Iran.


Although it's an extreme example, it serves as a reminder that secure shredding by qualified professionals is really the best way to go. At Shred a Box, we employ cross-shredding which is more secure than strip shredding. Trained employees transport the material under lock and key and never leave it out of sight. The entire shredding process is video-recorded. And after shredding, the material is de-inked and reduced to pulp to create new, white blank paper.


Thanks for reading and happy shredding.

Laura Heffernan
Executive Vice President
Email Laura


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