The Sun tabloid newspaper claims an exclusive report:
By JOHN KAY
Published: 12th December 2009
A MAJOR hunt was in progress last night after a laptop crammed with secret data was stolen from inside the Ministry of Defence nerve centre.
The machine, plus an encryption key to unlock highly sensitive files, vanished from the heart of the MoD's London HQ.
It sparked fears that a "mole" is operating there.
Last night a source said: "This has the potential to become one of the most serious security breaches at the Ministry for a very long time.
If that anonymous statement is true, then given the scale and sensitivity of the IT privacy and security breaches of recent years, it must be a real disaster.
"Laptops have been mislaid before, but not with encryption keys."
Too many of the previously lost or stolen laptop computers had no encryption whatsoever.
The computer was left in the HQ by a high-ranking RAF officer.
He was removed from the maximum security building and posted to another station while the incident is investigated.
MoD cops have been drafted in to probe the loss.
A Ministry spokesperson said: "An investigation is ongoing."
The Ministry of Defence still do not appear to have implemented their own Action Plan for securing laptop computers etc.: Report into the Loss of MOD Personal Data - Sir Edmund Burton Review and MOD's action plan in response to the Burton Report.