The folks in the Secret Service manage to lose a boatload of secrets — on a subway train in 2008


Advanced Secret Service technology

U.S. Secret Service investigative and personnel information was left on a Washington subway train in 2008 and is still missing…

Citing law enforcement and congressional sources, CNN reported Friday an unidentified contractor working for the agency left a pouch containing two computer backup tapes bearing the sensitive data on a train in Washington’s Metrorail subway system in February 2008. One source said the tapes have yet to be recovered despite a thorough search…

“Some of the information could cause lives to be at risk, if someone wanted to get at the families of a high-level government worker or someone they perceived as being someone who could work against, say, a terrorist cell,” said Eric O’Neill, a former FBI counterespionage agent.

The Secret Service, in a statement acknowledging the loss of the pouch, disagreed.

“These back-up tapes were not marked or identified in any way and were protected by multiple layers of security,” it said. “They could not be accessed without the proper equipment, applications and encoding…”

O’Neill, now a partner at the security firm The Georgetown Group, said even if encrypted, with new technology developed in the past five years, the tapes “could be cracked in moments.”

Kind of makes you feel all warm and secure inside, right? The folks protecting us against terrorist plots manage to leave other stuff they’re protecting on a subway train. Can’t find it or get it back for 4 years – and finally decided to let other folks know about it.

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