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Secret Service camera bought on eBay

Nikon camera, good nick, includes secret files

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Today's government data loss shenanigan is a repeat performance of that old favourite - flogging off old kit containing secret information to a random punter through online tat bazaar eBay.

An unnamed 28-year-old delivery man from Hemel Hempstead bought a Nikon Coolpix camera for £17 on eBay. But when he returned from his holiday and downloaded the contents of the camera he found pictures of rocket launchers, log-in details for the Secret Service's encrypted remote computer network marked Top Secret and a hand-drawn diagram linking different, named al-Qaeda cells including individual names and occupations.

There were also details on Abdul al-Hadi al-Iraqi - a 46-year-old captured by the CIA in 2007 and currently in Guantanamo Bay.

The man went to Hemel Hempstead Police Station but the situation was treated as a joke, declared the Sun.

However, days later Special Branch officers arrived at the man's home, shared with his mum, and seized the camera and his computer. Officers also told the family not to speak to the media.

Journalist and author Neil Doyle told the paper: “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.”

Yesterday it was apparently decided to charge the civil servant who left top secret documents on a train from Waterloo with offences against the Official Secrets Act.

Although the CPS said it had given its advice to the Metropolitan Police, there is no official statement from the police on whether charges will be brought. ®

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