Sunday, April 26, 2009

This Never Happened to James Bond

What's up with all the mishandling of sensitive information over in the UK? Two weeks ago a counterterrorism police action was almost compromised when a senior official walked past press photographers holding an uncovered briefing memo, and now we learn that a British narcotics liasion officer in Colombia has mislaid a flash drive loaded with a ton of highly sensitive stuff.

British spy loses secrets in a handbag:

A BRITISH agent has thrown the war against drug traffickers into chaos by leaving top secret information about covert operations on a bus in South America.

In a blunder that has cost taxpayers millions of pounds and put scores of lives at risk, the drugs liaison officer lost a computer memory stick said to contain a list of undercover agents’ names and details of more than five years of intelligence work.

It happened when the MI6-trained agent left her handbag on a transit coach at El Dorado airport in Bogota, Colombia [TSB note: Bogota must have really cooled down since my years there, if she was allowed to ride around in an airport bus instead of an armored car]. Intelligence chiefs were forced to wind up operations and relocate dozens of agents and informants amid fears the device could fall into the hands of drugs barons.

-- snip --

Chris Grayling, the shadow home secretary, said: “This is an extremely sensitive part of Home Office operations and is the latest in a series of big data errors. It underlines why this government, and Jacqui Smith in particular, has to get to grips with security protocols.”

I have one word of advice for my fellow civil servants in the UK - Ironkey. (I'm loving mine).

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