THE British government said on Thursday it had suspended a senior intelligence official who left a file with top secret documents about Iraq and al Qaeda on a train and MPs called for an independent inquiry.
A passenger found the orange folder on a London commuter train and handed it over to the BBC, which said it contained top secret documents on Iraq’s security forces and the government’s latest assessment of al Qaeda.
The sensitive papers were with an unnamed official who worked in the Cabinet Office, the central government department that supports the work of Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
The Cabinet Office said the official was authorized to take the seven-page file out of the office providing strict security guidelines were adhered to.
“I can confirm that he has been suspended,” a Cabinet Office spokesman said of the intelligence official.
The spokesman would not give details of the mislaid documents but did confirm that they were secret.
Police officers from London’s Counter Terrorism Command have begun an investigation into the incident while the Cabinet Office has launched its own internal inquiry.
Home Office (interior ministry) minister Tony McNulty told BBC TV it was a “very, very serious matter” and lessons needed to be learnt. – Reuters.