The General's list in an Alvin, Texas file cabinet
Did a former Pentagon employee take a file cabinet filled with sensitive information about America's top Army generals — including former Secretary of State Colin Powell — and then leave them behind in an Alvin house sold in a sheriff's sale?The house had been sold at a Sheriff's sale indicating it was a foreclosure. At this point it is not clear whether the former owner was a pack rat or had something else in mind.
That's what police and the Department of Defense would like to know.
Members of an Alvin family looking for salvageable materials a few days ago hauled the file cabinet holding the records home from a small house on Lee Street that is being renovated.
"The contractor told us to take whatever we wanted," said Alfredo Moreno III.
His uncle, Martin Ortiz, later looked through the cabinet and got a shock when he opened one of the drawers. "I thought, what is this doing here?" he said. "I knew this was important."
"Here we are in little old Alvin," Police Chief Mike Merkel said Friday, "and I have a folder in my hand that contains Colin Powell's Social Security number."
After a brief look through some of the files, which appeared to be from the 1980s and 1990s, Merkel said he saw "sensitive information that doesn't need to get out."
He ordered the file cabinet and its contents to be hauled to the police station and locked in an evidence room.
The front file in the drawer was labeled "Generals list" and included names, addresses, phone numbers, Social Security numbers and other information on dozens of Army generals.
The file labeled Colin Powell listed him as a lieutenant general, a rank he held from 1986 to 1989.