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Senior UK Army officer loses BlackBerry mobile phone in China

Posted by Author on July 10, 2009

By Aislinn Simpson, The Telegraph, UK, 10 Jul 2009-

Major General Gerry Berragan, 51, was reportedly pickpocketed as he travelled by train and immediately notified the Ministry of Defence in London of the theft.

The BlackBerry phone and personal organiser is capable of storing and sending thousands of emails and could have revealed military secrets.

The security breach was considered so serious that the new Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth is said to have been informed and ordered an investigation.

Married father-of-two Maj Gen Berragan, who is Director General of Army Recruiting and Training and has served in Iraq, Northern Ireland and Kosovo, is understood to be the highest ranking officer ever to have been involved in such a security breach.

The loss is the latest to afflict the MoD since it was revealed that 700 of the department’s laptops were lost in the past five years.

“Maj Gen Berragan will have had access and briefing papers on a myriad of secret defence subjects,” a security source told the Sun newspaper.

But despite concerns about China overtaking Russia in spying on the West and its military secrets, a senior MoD source told the Sun the BlackBerry theft was not thought to be suspicious.

“We do not think Maj General Berragan was targeted by Chinese agents. He was in civilian clothes and we think it was opportunistic pickpocketing,” the source was quoted as saying.

The MoD said in a statement that no sensitive information had been compromised. “We are fully investigating this incident,” the spokesman added.

The Telegraph (UK)

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