RAF officers at risk of blackmail after files stolen

#1
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.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...ailing-drug-abuse-use-prostitutes-stolen.html

msr
 
#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.
 
#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
jim30 said:
Similarly, I think we should be careful about casting too many stones, I doubt many people here are utterly squeaky clean :)
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?
 

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#7
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
jim30 said:
. Similarly, I think we should be careful about casting too many stones, I doubt many people here are utterly squeaky clean :)
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
smartascarrots said:
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.
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
jim30 said:
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.
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.
 
#14
Trouble is, if people think that their darkest secrets will be lost, are they going to give them up in the first place?

msr
 
#15
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.
 
#16
smartascarrots said:
jim30 said:
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.
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.
And the result of that will be than when questioned for DV (PV for us oldies) no one will open up. Now this may not seem too much until you realise that the US would then freeze us out of certain intelligence loops because our vetting wasn't up to scratch!

Look at the GCHQ hullaballoo!

Although I suspect this has all been spiced up.

Question - WTF was it doing on a disc in the first place? And second - are the Snowdrops still doing Vetting? Because that was always a stupid idea as well. The police should be nowhere near security vetting.
 
#17
smartascarrots said:
jim30 said:
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.
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.
Get off your high horse. Everyone, bar none, has things in their past that could be used against them - and it doesn't need to be a misdemeanour.

To blackmail somebody, all you need is something they feel ashamed of. A lot of people are abused as children, or suffer impotence, or are driving at the speed limit when a child jumps out in front of them - Though all these things are beyond the control of the person, they could well be used against a person for the purposes of blackmail.
 
#18
One can only conclude that at any future DV interview one should be economical with the truth. To be anything else, would appear to be plane stupidity. What checks and balances remain when Top Secret (and higher) clearances are stolen?

This country is going to the dogs. As a nation we have become the laughing stock of the world.
 
#19
DeltaDog said:
Get off your high horse. Everyone, bar none, has things in their past that could be used against them - and it doesn't need to be a misdemeanour.
I know that full well. I know there are things I got up to as a young lad that I wouldn't be too happy about the missus finding out.

But a) I'm not a senior officer in the armed services and have never tried to be knowing all the while I have a past I'd rather not have revealed and b) if it came out I'd take it on the chin. It's called moral courage and I always understood it to be the sort of thing officers were supposed to show.
 
#20
rickshaw-major said:
smartascarrots said:
jim30 said:
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.
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.
And the result of that will be than when questioned for DV (PV for us oldies) no one will open up. Now this may not seem too much until you realise that the US would then freeze us out of certain intelligence loops because our vetting wasn't up to scratch!

Look at the GCHQ hullaballoo!

Although I suspect this has all been spiced up.

Question - WTF was it doing on a disc in the first place? And second - are the Snowdrops still doing Vetting? Because that was always a stupid idea as well. The police should be nowhere near security vetting.

I got DV'ed earlier on this year for my latest posting, and it's done by a rep from the Defence Vetting Agency.

The rules are v plain; if you've f**ed up you fess up, and then your "weaknesses" aren't leverage against you; thereby protecting both yourself and your oppos.

As for the "If you can't do the time, don't do the crime" school of thought, common assault is an imprisonable offence under Scots and English Law - how many of us have never settled matters on rugby / football field, or a Mess Bar (or indeed a pub car park in a couple of instances I'm not particularly proud of) by means of a couple of minutes of Queensbury Rules?

If we kicked out everyone who has committed some manner of faux pas under the mantle of "Conduct Unbecoming" then the Defence Budget would be in massive surplus, because there'd only be about 3 people left.

Members of HM Forces, of which I am v proud to be one, are human beings at the end of the day!! People f**k up, God knows I have in the past, and that's why we have the Army / Navy Air Force Acts of 1955 (superseded by Tri-Service Legal Act 2006 I think - can anyone clarify?) so that the CoC can award suitable punishment to those found guilty of being a bad lad.
 

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