A senior civil servant has been suspended for leaving top secret intelligence documents on a Waterloo to Surrey train.
The commuting spook left an orange envelope on a seat when he got
off the train. It contained two documents prepared for the Joint
Intelligence Committee - one on the capabilities of Iraqi security
forces and one on al-Qaeda's vulnerabilities marked "UK Top Secret" and
"for US/UK/Canadian and Australian eyes only".
The documents were handed in to the BBC which passed them to the police.
A spokesman for the Cabinet Office told the Beeb: "Two documents
which are marked as 'secret' were left on a train and have subsequently
been handed to the BBC.
"There has been a security breach, the Metropolitan Police are carrying out an investigation."
The unnamed male civil servant worked for the Cabinet Office. Police
were already searching for the documents which he had reported missing.
Keith Vaz, chair of the Home Affairs committee, called for an official inquiry, as did the Tories.
Civil servants can face disciplinary action for leaving such
documents on their desks within Whitehall. Strict procedures are
supposed to mean these documents are only considered safe when properly
The government's review of data security did mean civil servants
were carrying copies of documents to work on at home because they were
no longer allowed to take insecure and unencrypted laptop computers out
of the office. But we kind of hoped the security services took this
stuff a bit more seriously.
The government last night won the right to intern terrorism suspects
for 42 days without charge. Brown won by nine votes provided by the
Democratic Unionist Party. The DUP has denied it did any deal with
Brown in exchange for votes.