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Thursday, June 12, 2008

"Excuse me, you've left behind your state secrets"

I use public transport and I'm an averagely observant person. Therefore I'm obviously disappointed that I've yet to stumble upon a briefcase full of documents labelled "Top Secret". Yesterday's story about the Cabinet Office official leaving the Joint Intelligence Committee reports about Al Qaeda on a train further boggles a mind already fairly boggled by the previous story about the lost MOD computer that had the personal details of 135,000 people who'd applied to join the Services, the hard drive that had the names of three million driving test candidates and the MOD laptop that was pinched in McDonalds.

The fact that nobody has yet reported finding equally sensitive material from the private sector suggests either that, say, Tesco executives are not daft enough to leave a laptop containing all the name and addresses of their club card members in Burger King or that members of the public are turning up such commercial gold dust all the time and can't be bothered to hand it in.

Can I suggest that until the Civil Service is confident enough that it doesn't have a load of staff who habitually leave stuff on trains or in their cars they cease putting the words "Top Secret" at the top? I've always believed that the easiest way to get anything ignored is to shout it from the rooftops.