Afghanistan: Secretary of Defense Ben Wallace “rather angry” over data breaches by the Ministry of Defense | Politics News


Defense Secretary Ben Wallace called the processing of data in his department “not good enough” and revealed he was “quite angry” about violations related to the resettlement of Afghans in the UK.

Two email data breaches were recently discovered at the Defense Ministry in the team responsible for managing the Afghan Resettlement and Assistance Policy (PFRA).

The program allows all Afghans who have assisted British efforts in Afghanistan, such as interpreters, to apply to come to the UK due to the risk of persecution at the hands of the Taliban.

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There are fears that they may be further threatened by government data breaches if the information falls into the wrong hands.

In both cases, the PARA candidates’ email addresses were visible to all email recipients, rather than candidates who have been blindly copied into emails to protect their identity.

During a visit to Rosyth, Scotland on Thursday, Mr Wallace said the second violation actually predates the first one that had come to light and for which he apologized in the House of Commons this week.

“This is an older violation than the one I originally came to report to parliament,” the cabinet minister told the PA news agency.

“Subsequently, I launched an investigation, I was not aware of this breach earlier, smaller is not good enough, I said that not only was I angry enough at the time, but also we must have an investigation and fix it.

“At the same time, I have committed even more resources and people to make sure this does not happen again and to deal with those people in Afghanistan that we have brought back – over 8,000 people as part of the ARAP program.

“That’s a significant number of people, including their families, scattered across the UK, but there are still 260 people who have to do our best to get out.

“These are the people, some of them, who are rightly affected by the leak, we will do all we can to make sure they are protected and then work with neighboring states to get them out.”

Defense Secretary Ben Wallace in the Venturer building after a frigate steel cutting ceremony for the first Type 31 frigate, at Babcock Rosyth, Fife.  Photo date: Thursday, September 23, 2021.
Mr Wallace revealed his anger during a visit to Rosyth in Scotland

On Tuesday, Wallace told MPs he “immediately ordered investigations” after a data breach involving more than 250 people.

Admiral Sir Ben Key, the Joint Operations Commander who led the planning and evacuation of Kabul, is leading the investigation and one person has been suspended.

The BBC reported later in the week that a second breach involved the details of 55 people.


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