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British spy loses secrets in a handbag

British spy loses secrets in a handbag
British spy loses secrets in a handbag

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By Isabel Oakeshott and David Leppard
The Sunday Times
April 26, 2009 

A BRITISH agent has thrown the war against drug traffickers into chaos 
by leaving top secret information about covert operations on a bus in 
South America.

In a blunder that has cost taxpayers millions of pounds and put scores 
of lives at risk, the drugs liaison officer lost a computer memory stick 
said to contain a list of undercover agents=E2=80=99 names and details of more 
than five years of intelligence work.

It happened when the MI6-trained agent left her handbag on a transit 
coach at El Dorado airport in Bogota, Colombia. Intelligence chiefs were 
forced to wind up operations and relocate dozens of agents and 
informants amid fears the device could fall into the hands of drugs 

The incident, which was hushed up by the Serious Organised Crime Agency 
(Soca), the agent=E2=80=99s employer, is an embarrassment for the government. It 
is another blow for Jacqui Smith, the home secretary, who has ultimate 
responsibility for Britain=E2=80=99s anti-drugs operations and the safeguarding 
of criminal intelligence.


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