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Last Updated: Friday, 1 June 2007, 22:21 GMT 23:21 UK
US Iraq embassy plans put on net
Image of swimming pool planned for new US embassy in Baghdad
The architects said the images would not help enemies of the US
Plans for the new US embassy in Baghdad have been posted online by the architects, but had to be removed amid fears they could compromise security.

The State Department ordered that the architects remove the drawings, but not before they had been copied by blogs.

The mission, which is nearing completion, will be one of its biggest, most expensive and most tightly guarded US embassies in the world.

Ten images appeared showing the overall layout plus individual buildings.

They included computer-generated pictures of office annexes, a swimming pool, recreation centre, and the ambassador's residence.

The website boasted: "In total, the 104-acre compound will include over 20 buildings, including one classified secure structure and housing for over 380 families."

Taking no chances

The architects, US company Berger Devine Yaeger, said the plans were only preliminary and would not have assisted America's enemies.

"Google Earth could give you a better snapshot of what the site looks like on the ground," said spokesman Jeffrey Willis.

But the US State Department was taking no chances.

"We work very hard to ensure the safety and security of our employees overseas," said spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos.

"This kind of information out in the public domain detracts from that effort."

The project has been shrouded in secrecy, with the construction site - in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone, bordering the River Tigris - hidden behind high concrete blast walls.

The complex, built with a budget of $592m (299m) is expected to be completed in September.


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