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Lessons Learned About Paper Shredding from Iran

by rubybadcoe

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You’ve probably seen many alien movies where the mother ship is attacked and destroyed by a ragtag group or squad of soldiers. It only goes to show that even the strongest and biggest could fall when vital intelligence gets to its head. The U.S. can be compared to that mother ship: It’s big, it’s powerful, but it can fall with a simple data leak.

Over time, the authorities have learned not to take document destruction with a grain of salt, as they learned the hard way in Iran. When the U.S. embassy was taken over at the height of the Iranian Revolution in 1979, local carpet weavers were able to reassemble the shredded pieces of controversial files. Iran released the files in a series of books published by Muslim students for the whole world to know. Indeed, it was a lesson learned the hard way.

Since then, U.S. authorities stepped up their document destruction by making the pieces lose any hope of being reassembled. For this, they use Level 5 or Level 6 paper shredders that cut up paper in micro strips measuring between 0.78 and 1mm wide and between 4 to 11mm long. To achieve this, the shredders do cross-cut shredding.

Cross-cut shredding reduces paper files into confetti-like pieces instead of the usual long strips. While it takes more time to do a cross-cut than a strip-cut, the former is secure enough for U.S. government agencies like the Department of Defense and the National Security Agency. Because shredding companies in Los Angeles often deal with firms, services for these levels are rare.

However, the agencies don’t stop there; the pieces, too, have to be destroyed. In some high-level agencies, methods such as adding chemicals to the pieces to break down the material and really thwart any attempt of reassembly are employed. Most companies don’t have to resort to a level 5 or 6 shredding system. However, shredding companies in Los Angeles suggest learning from the government’s mistake if you don’t want sensitive data to be published as a hardbound book.

For more information on high-security shredding authorities make use of, you can visit If you want to know what level of shredding suits you best, consult shredding companies in Los Angeles.

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