Tuesday, September 30, 2008

MI6 British Spy Camera Sold on eBay - With Secret Terror Pics

British intelligence officials are trying to find out which MI6 officer sold that Nikon Coolpix camera. On eBay. For £17. That's about $30 USD. Offhand, I think he may be unemployed soon.

An article in The Sun quotes terrorism author Neil Doyle: " 'These are MI6 documents relating to an operation against al-Qaeda insurgents in Iraq. It's jaw-dropping they got into the public domain.

" 'Not only do they divulge secrets about operations, operating systems and previously unheard-of MI6 departments, but they could put lives at risk.' "

British Officials

Displaying the sort of polite consideration that's so typical of the British character, those of Her Majesty's subjects who have come across secret documents and data have been kind enough to return them to the proper authorities. Like in June of this year, when an inattentive took papers out of Whitehall. And left them on a train.

Actually, it was two officials, two sets of secret papers, and two trains ("More secret files found on train" BBC (June 15, 2008)). Similar procedural irregularities had occurred previously, but that double-barrel whammy hit the Brit headlines and made international news ("British police investigating after secret documents about Al Qaeda left on train" International Herald Tribune (June 11, 2008)).

One might have expected that the "UK Top Secret" stamp might have reminded the absent-minded official.

That dodgy matter of documents on the trains, and now this spy camera, suggest that some people employed by the British government haven't quite grasped the importance of the second word in "military intelligence."

Selling State Secrets: For $30.50?!!

I remember, back in my youth, reading of government officials being accused of selling very sensitive information for sums of around $10,000 USD (around £5,500). Although ten thousand dollars was quite a bit of money back then, those people were sitting on information that should have been worth at least ten times that. I remember trying to decide whether I was more upset about them betraying their country, or having such abysmal business sense.

As for the British agent who sold a Nikon Coolpix worth over $100 USD (new) containing MI6 documents on eBay, for about $30 USD: that's so daft, I almost have to assume that he's a twit.

In the news:
    "For sale: Second hand camera, good condition, contains top secret MI6 terrorist records and pics"
    The Sun (U.K.) (September 30, 2008)
    • "A SECOND-HAND camera sold on eBay by a top MI6 agent held secret records used in the fight against al-Qaeda terrorists.
    • "Names, snaps, fingerprints and suspects’ academic records were found in the memory of the digital device.
    • "Alongside them were photos of rocket launchers and missiles which spooks believe Iran is supplying to Osama Bin Laden’s henchmen in Iraq."

4 comments:

Brigid said...

The pain, the pain.

Oh, and MI6 isn't the official name, though everyone calls it that (thank you, Mister Bond). It's SIS. Poor SIS.

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...

Brigid,

Sis-boom-bah for semantic rigor.

Thanks for the information. The "everyone" you referred to includes at least one British news service.

While we're at it, what does SIS stand for?

Secret Intelligence Syndicate?

Somewhat Impressive Snoops?

Security Intelligence System?

Valencia said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Joyce

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Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...

Valencia,

I hope you are still visiting.

I'm finally catching up on email, comments, and some related matters - sorry about the delay.

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Blogroll

Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.