RAF officers at risk of blackmail after files stolen

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by msr, May 25, 2009.

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  1. msr

    msr LE

    And we didn't have to wait long: Senior RAF staff could be at risk of blackmail after files detailing alleged drug abuse, extra-marital affairs and use of prostitutes were stolen, it has emerged.

    The files - which contained vetting information of up to 500 staff, including their criminal convictions and personal debts - were on three computer hard drives stolen from RAF Innsworth, Gloucestershire, last September.

    In an internal memo sent at the time, the Ministry of Defence warned that the information was an 'excellent target list' for foreign intelligence services, investigative journalists and blackmailers and would 'tarnish' the reputation of the service if published.

    The MoD said that those affected had been interviewed individually about the consequences of the leak for them and their families.


  2. If the information is that likely to lend itself to blackmail, surely it's also serious enough to warrant resignation or sacking? At the very least being open to blackmail is proof you've failed to uphold the values and standards of service.
  3. Somebody needs to spend time in prison for this. People won't take protecting PM information seriously until there are serious consequences.
  4. OK, I'm not in a position where I am likely to get into a position where blackmailing me is going to do any nation or terrorist any good so I may not be the best person to comment on this.

    This case does, however, repeat the comment I made on Capital Punishment - "If you can't do the time, don't do the time".

    If there is some reason that something that you do can hold you in a bad light at some point - DON'T do it!

    If these officers (or airmen) have done something that can bring the RAF into disrepute, they should have been removed from the Service. In the business world, if you do something that affects the company, you get the Order of the Boot, why should the forces be different?
  5. It sounds like someone got files related to DV information - in other words peoples dark history that they don't want to discuss publicly.

    For those of you that havent been through the process, it involves a very deep interview in some very personal areas of your life. The aim is to disclose those skeletons that if not declared could cause embarrassment to HMG. The act of disclosure mitigates this as the blackmailer can't actually use it against us as we already know.
    My guess is that the drugs issue is for before joining up rather than current drug use. Similarly, I think we should be careful about casting too many stones, I doubt many people here are utterly squeaky clean :)
  6. I doubt too many of the people who've commented here are senior officers in the nation's armed forces. With great authority goes great responsibility.

    If something's already been revealed during DV for the purpose of neutralising it's blackmail potential then why are people so worried about the blackmail potential of its release now?
  7. Auld-Yin

    Auld-Yin LE Reviewer Book Reviewer Reviews Editor

    I would be very careful about asking for the heads of those whose details are on the disk. What a newspaper, in the search for readers and therefore a gory headline, considers embarrasing may just well be something totally innocuous.

    I don't doubt the disk has been lost but I would be wary about the embarrassment level of the content.

    It might just be a list of junior officers' extras for p!ssing in the Mess flower pots after a function.
  8. Very clear synopsis of a/ why we shouldn't be too quick to knock anyone who had an interesting youth and b/ why we really should start to treat secrets as being well, secret...

    I actually thought on reading the title that we were going to see people exposed as having been commissioned in the RAF; 'give us the money or we'll tell your family the truth. You're not in gaol for fraud, you're an officer in RAF administration' :D

    (with the apology in advance to the sensitive souls)
  9. Not at all. The article mensions use of prostitues and extra-maritial affairs. They're incredibly powerful as tools of blackmail (tell us this, or we'll tell your missis)- but if we sacked everyone involved in those two activities, the Infantry would be all but wiped out.
  10. "If something's already been revealed during DV for the purpose of neutralising it's blackmail potential then why are people so worried about the blackmail potential of its release now? "

    In the 'good old days' it may have been a FIS that wanted the info. Today if a criminal got it, they could, if they really wanted to, use it to threaten him for disclosure to non work related contacts. While Sqn Ldr Bloggs may be perfectly happy that HMG knows he likes dressing up as a schoolgirl and being spanked by prostitutes, his wife may not know that particular little gem - hence the concern.
  11. To which I would say a resounding 'Tough'.

    If you can't do the time, don't do the crime. And don't think it anyone's fault but your own when your misdemeanours or peccadillos become public knowledge.
  12. It is interesting how this story has developed; back in September the information was 'stolen' from SPVA, whereas now it has just been 'lost'.

    September 2008

    May 2009
  13. msr

    msr LE

    Trouble is, if people think that their darkest secrets will be lost, are they going to give them up in the first place?

  14. I was pv'd twice. Once under Army auspices and once by RAF team. The RAF one was the most intense and I felt that I had had to open up much more under their questioning. I used to see RAF Police vetting reports. They could quite well contain such gems as "Sgt A has six children and no known homosexual tendencies" Whilst an adverse report might debar them from specific postings or employment I was never conscious that disciplinary action would follow. They knew the bad apples and kept them away from the barrel of good ones.
    The potential blackmail value of what has gone could well have been sexed up to sell papers.