Even whilst MPs and Lords were being fobbed off in Parliament last Thursday 12th June by Government Ministers, after the Joint Intelligence Committee Top Secret papers were left on a train, regarding the lax and arrogant culture of "these rules and procedures do not apply to me personally", which seems to be endemic amongst senior civil servants in central Whitehall departments, there was Yet Another Example which threatened to give intelligence assistance to enemy terrorists and organised criminals and to unfriendly or evil nation states.
Exclusive: New batch of terror files left on train
IoS returns confidential documents to Treasury as officials promise to tighten procedures
By Simon Evans and Margareta Pagano
Sunday, 15 June 2008
Secret government documents detailing the UK's policies towards fighting global terrorist funding, drugs trafficking and money laundering have been found on a London-bound train and handed to 'The Independent on Sunday'.
The government papers, left on a train destined for Waterloo station, on Wednesday, contain criticism of countries such as Iran that are signed up to the global Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an inter-governmental body created to combat financial crime and the financing of terrorism.
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 Independent on Sunday has returned the documents, and will divulge no details contained in them.
Alistair Darling, the Chancellor, who is in Japan at the G8 meeting, has been told of the latest debacle, and his department insists steps are being taken to tighten security procedures.
Last night, a spokesman said the Treasury regretted the latest incident: "We are extremely concerned about what has happened and will be taking steps to ensure it doesn't happen in the future."
They may be "extremely concerned" that they have been found out in public, but there is no evidence that they are capable of really , effectively, "taking steps to ensure it doesn't happen in the future".
All the same Obvious Questions we asked in our previous blog article apply to this case as well.
How many sensitive Government documents are being taken out of their physically secure office locations, and although they are not being lost, they are simply being copied illegally ?
There needs to be some criminal prosecutions of senior Whitehall civil servants responsible for allowing this culture of sloppy data security to infect the senior echelons of Whitehall.
One or more Labour Government Ministers should do the honourable thing and resign from office over this latest data security disaster., which is symptomatic of systematic failures in management, training and data security technology resources.
If all we get is Yet Another Review, then that will be an insult to the general public, and to the majority of conscientious and honest civil servants.