The FBI Needs to Burn 53 Tons of Classified Material

Richard Cavalleri/

It's going to be a document inferno.

The FBI announced its files were going digital in 2012. Nevertheless, the bureau will need to destroy an estimated 53 tons of “classified and sensitive” material in the coming year to ensure the FBI’s secrets stay secret.

A government contracting document issued late last month by the FBI’s Information Management Division describes exactly how this will happen.

“The contractor must be able to destroy classified and sensitive information via incineration during Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19),” it says. “The contractor must provide at least two individuals, one to unload the information and one to place the information in the hopper for the incinerator.”

Two FBI agents will supervise the entire process from pickup to burn, which will take place at two bureau-approved secure facilities in the Washington, DC area owned by Covanta Environmental Solutions.

For context, 53 tons is as heavy as 30 Ford Tauruses, seven tyrannosaurus rex; 100 grand pianos; and nine million single sheets of 8 1/2×11 paper.

The expected cost of reducing the FBI’s secrets to ash is $17,507.49.

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