"State Dept. Orders Site To Take Down Photos Of The $592 Million U.S. Embassy In Iraq"
On Tuesday, ThinkProgress highlighted photos of the U.S. embassy in Iraq, which is set to open in September. Projected to cost $592 million, the embassy will have a staff of 1,000 people and operating costs will total $1.2 billion a year. The complex will be 104 acres, which is the size of approximately 80 football fields.
The architectural firm designing the embassy, Berger Define Yaeger, recently posted the designs for the colossus on its website (which is currently down). Today, the State Department ordered Berger to remove the images. AP reports:
Detailed plans for the new U.S. Embassy under construction in Baghdad appeared online Thursday in a breach of the tight security surrounding the sensitive project. […]
The images were removed by Berger Devine Yaeger Inc. shortly after the company was contacted by the State Department.
ThinkProgress has captured several of the images:
The complex “will include two office buildings, one of them designed for future use as a school, six apartment buildings, a gym, a pool, a food court and its own power generation and water-treatment plants.”
According to news reports, “Some U.S. officials acknowledged that damage may have been done by the postings and used expletives to describe their personal reactions.” But it is unclear whether the damage was done to security or public relations. (Aerial images of the embassy can be easily obtained from sites like Google Maps.)
The real damage of these images comes from bolstering the perception of a long-term U.S. occupation. While Americans will be living in posh quarters, the citizens of Baghdad are currently surviving with just 5.6 hours of electricity a day. Baghdad was also recently rated the world’s worst city in which to live.