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Sandy’s hidden toll: Thousands of FBI files

A year ago this week, Hurricane Sandy swept into the New York region—destroying lives and uprooting homes in what became the second costliest hurricane in U.S. history.

But as New Yorkers take stock of what was lost on the first anniversary of the superstorm, one result of Sandy’s destructive fury is only now becoming clear: the huge and still unquantifiable loss of records held by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in or near the country’s financial capital.

The storm sent water streaming into several covert FBI file storage locations in New York and New Jersey, damaging between 8,000 and 9,000 cardboard boxes, each capable of storing hundreds of documents from investigations and cases spanning at least two decades.

By the time emergency contractors had drained the buildings, it was evident that many of those boxes —and the files within them—were irreparably harmed.

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