Feeds

Serious Farce Office: 32K secret BAE probe files spaffed to WRONG bod

Anti-fraud squad coughs to stunning evidence leak blunder

Intelligent flash storage arrays

The UK's top anti-fraud agency has admitted it sent tens of thousands of sensitive documents from an investigation into arms giant BAE Systems to the wrong person.

The probe into multinational defence corporation BAE Systems ended after the aerospace firm paid a whopping $400m fine to the US relating to a violation of US rules across a number of countries (and £30m to the SFO over accounting issues in a Tanzanian radar deal) back in 2010.

After it closed the case, the Serious Fraud Office was then supposed to return 32,000 pages of documents and 81 audio tapes, as well as other assorted bits of electronic storage media, to 59 different people who supplied them as evidence during the investigation.

But the SFO mistakenly sent the huge cache to one unnamed individual – and three per cent of the data remains missing.

The SFO insisted none of the data related to national security and said it was making every effort to recover the missing information.

A Serious Fraud Office spokeswoman said: "The SFO is dealing with an incident of accidental data loss.

"The data concerned was obtained by the SFO in the course of its closed investigation into BAE Systems. The SFO has a duty to return material to those who supplied it, upon request, after the close of an investigation.

"In this instance the party requesting the return was sent additional material which had in fact been obtained from other sources."

The embarrassing data fumble took place between May and October 2012. It was only flagged up in May 2013 and the SFO rolled into action in June.

The affected parties were notified and an investigation has now begun. Alan Woods, a former senior civil servant, is leading the probe, which was was ordered by the SFO's director.

Emily Thornberry, Labour's shadow attorney general, said: "This is government incompetence of the first magnitude. The SFO has stumbled from shambles to shambles, with the attorney general completely failing to get a grip. Incompetence like this threatens to have an impact on the reputation of the UK and its relations overseas."

She added: "People will be wondering how many other skeletons there are in the SFO cupboard that the attorney general is aware of but is declining to make public. The government needs to get a grip, get to the bottom of this mess and come clean about exactly what went wrong and how."

Do you know who received these leaked documents from the SFO? Get in touch and tell us in confidence. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers
Jilted Johns and Jennies with busy fingers face two years inside
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.