Swiss intelligence employee stole ‘millions’ of classified pages
December 5, 2012 2 Comments
By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Swiss authorities have warned Western intelligence agencies that their secrets may have been compromised by a disgruntled intelligence employee who stole “thousands or even millions of pages of classified material”. Citing “European national security sources”, Reuters said the employee at the center of the case worked for the NDB, Switzerland’s Federal Intelligence Service. He had been employed by NDB for eight years as a network technician with “full administrator rights” and had unrestricted access to the NDB’s computers, as well as to those of Switzerland’s Federal Department of Defense, under which the NDB operates. About a year ago, however, the unnamed technician apparently became disgruntled after his views on how to structure the NDB’s databases were allegedly sidelined or ignored. He eventually decided to use several portable hard drives to download countless classified documents from Swiss government servers and managed to carry them out of the office building where he worked, using a backpack. According to Swiss authorities, he intended to sell the classified information to foreign governments or black-market operatives. He was apprehended, however, after he tried to set up a numbered bank account with Swiss-based UBS bank, using what bank security officials described as “suspicious identification documentation”. The former NDB network technician is currently the subject of a criminal investigation by the Office of the Swiss Federal Attorney General, and authorities say they think they arrested him before he was able to sell the stolen information. But they are not certain of that, which is why they have apparently notified several Western intelligence agencies that some of the information they have shared with the NDB in the past may have been compromised. Among them, says Reuters, is the US Central Intelligence Agency and Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, also known as MI6. Reuters says it contacted the NDB, CIA and MI6, all of which refused comment on the case. Meanwhile, a Swiss parliamentary committee has begun an investigation of the case and is expected to issue a detailed report in the spring.