Sunday, April 26, 2009

Amateur Hour

It seems that no matter how much information, no matter how classified, is lost that some people just aren't getting the message-

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. 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.

The agency in question tried to hush the loss up and blamed the incident not on the preposterously bad common sense of the agent in question but on their newness. Yep they had the gall to claim that they were still working on their security protocols.

Now, I don't work in the field but it would have seemed prudent to me to prioritise security if you're working with top secret information.

Some questions spring to mind- why was such vital information on a thumb drive in her handbag on a bus in the first place? Why on Earth did she need that information away from a secure location? Also, why was so much information gathered together in one place? And was the drive made safe by their highest levels of encryption?

They say you should never attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity but sometimes you have to wonder at just how stupid these officials- handling incredibly sensitive data- are.

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