Few things in the world of digital documents are as pesky and revealing as "metadata" -- the information automatically embedded in documents by popular software such as Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat. When the government or a business forgets to purge metadata from documents before releasing them to the public, the results can range from embarrassing to dangerous.
On Sunday, the New York Times ran a story on President Bush's Nov. 30 speech on the war in Iraq. While White House officials said many federal departments contributed to the new national strategy on Iraq, one look at the metadata stored in the 35-page National Security Council document, titled, "Our National Strategy for Victory in Iraq," showed that the original author of the paper was Peter D. Feaver, a Duke University political scientist who was recruited to join the NSC staff as a special adviser in June after he and several Duke colleagues presented the administration with an analysis of polls about the Iraq war. Their analysis concluded that Americans would support a war with mounting casualties if they believed that effort would ultimately succeed.
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