Sunday, 15 June 2008

Lost Anything Lately?  


OK, so I have to admit to being a little absent minded. In fact the amount of umbrellas I have left over the period of my life on various trains, buses and in bars and restaurants could fill an entire train carriage.

However, I cannot remember a time (nor can I imagine a time) where I have either:

a) Taken out and read sensitive documents (admittedly I do not tend to read such documents very often)

b) Subsequently left said sensitive documents on the train, failed to get them back, to only find where the documents are when they have been reported by the media

Okay, so I do not work in the civil service and I am unlikely to be in this position. But surely the debacle of the top secret information passed onto the BBC by a train passenger should not have been repeated within days? Surely when there has been one huge embarrassment other civil servants would take special care not to leave their paperwork on a train?

It is true that, as Geoff Hoon recently stated, the last batch of paperwork did not include secret information. However, that is not really the point - no paperwork should be left behind on a train, particularly so soon after some secret information has been left on a train!

Whoever the person is who left the 'BBC Papers' on a train should, of course, be fired. These documents should not even have been out of their office. However, it is the Heads of the department, both Civil Service and elected, who should be held to account for these failings in security. It is unlikely that these people will face any repercussions, but the government as a whole is likely to find that this is another nail in a coffin that has long since been buried.

What next?

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