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Ex-spook jailed for selling secrets

12 months for CD & USB shenanigans

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Ex-MI6 worker Daniel Houghton has been sentenced to 12 months in prison for unlawfully disclosing top secret material, in breach of the Official Secrets Act.

Houghton, 25 years old and previously living in Hoxton, London, worked for MI6 for just under two years. He left the organisation with Top Secret files which he then tried to sell to MI5 agents masquerading as agents of a foreign power.

Houghton was caught in a sting operation run by MI5 back in March. He was arrested with a briefcase containing £900,000 having, he believed, handed memory sticks and a laptop hard drive to representatives of another country.

He had previously tried to sell the secrets, which he appears to have been able to burn onto CDs and USB memory sticks at work, to Dutch spooks for £2m. The Dutchies tipped off MI5. The files were classified Top Secret and reportedly included details on 300 British agents as well as more general espionage and intelligence gathering techniques.

It also appears that MI6 were unaware they'd even lost the data until the Dutch warned them. That or they deliberately let Houghton leave with the files in order to entrap him, and possibly other agents when he tried to sell them on.

Given recent enormous government data losses you might assume that computer systems at the highest levels of security would have things like CD burners and USB ports disabled.

The Met police are preparing a statement. We'll update the story when we receive it. ®

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