For the second time within a week, a government official in Britain left secret and sensitive national security documents on a commuter train, reported the Independent yesterday.
According to the paper:
The confidential files outline how the trade and banking systems can be manipulated to finance illicit weapons of mass destruction in Iran. They spell out methods to fund terrorists, and address the potential fraud of commercial websites and international internet payment systems. The files also highlight the weakness of HM Revenue & Customs' (HMRC) IT systems, which track financial fraud.
The paper, however, said it will not divulge any specific details of the documents' contents. The paper received the documents from a passenger who found the documents on the train.
Last Tuesday, another passenger on a commuter train also found a batch of secret documents. The documents, which outlined al Qaeda vulnerabilities and graded Iraq's security forces' performances poorly, were given to the BBC. It has been reported by the Independent that a senior intelligence officer was responsible for that breach and that he has been suspended.
Opponents of Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Labour government were quick to pounce on his government's latest embarrassing failure to protect confidential information.
"This latest failure is extremely damaging to the Government's fight against terrorism as no one knows where the information may have ended up," said Chris Huhne, the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman. "This is another appalling embarrassment for an accident-prone government."
"Baroness Neville-Jones, shadow security minister, said the Government needed to 'get a grip' on the issue of protecting sensitive data, and lamented 'yet another example of a lapse in discipline,'" according to the Independent.
Last November, the British government divulged that it had lost two computer disks that held sensitive and personally identifiable information on 25 million of its citizens.