British top secret files on Al Qaeda left in train

June 12th, 2008 - 7:02 pm ICT by IANS  

London, June 12 (DPA) British officials expressed “horror” at a serious breach of security after top-secret intelligence dossiers on the Al Qaeda terrorism network and the latest assessment of the security situation in Iraq were left on a commuter train. The documents belonged to a “very senior intelligence official working in the Cabinet Office”, the BBC said Wednesday. They were found in an orange envelope on a train leaving London’s Waterloo Station Tuesday and were handed over to the BBC by a passenger.

Scotland Yard has launched an investigation into what was described as a “grave security breach”. The documents, which all had security codings, should under no circumstances have been taken out of government buildings.

Just seven pages long, but classified as “UK Top Secret”, the package contained the latest government intelligence assessment on Al Qaeda and a topical report on the military situation in Iraq.

The documents were so sensitive that each one of them was numbered and marked “for Britain/US/Canadian and Australian eyes only”, the BBC’s security correspondent Frank Gardner reported.

The Iraq report included passages which gave a “damning” assessment of Iraq’s security forces, the BBC said.

The two reports were assessments made by the government’s Joint Intelligence Committee.

There had been expressions of “horror” across several government departments that top-secret documents could have been so casually mislaid, said Gardner.

“Two documents which are marked as ’secret’ were left on a train and have subsequently been handed to the BBC. There has been a security breach, the Metropolitan Police are carrying out an investigation,” a spokesman for the Cabinet Office said.

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