http://www.excite.co.uk/news/story/UKOnlineReportTopNews/IIMFFH54838_2001-04-08_00-48-00_B135808 By Sinead O'Hanlon 08/04/01 LONDON (Reuters) - Spies and security service staff will be issued with high-tech James Bond style briefcases after a spate of embarrassing bungles in which agents have lost official secrets, the Ministry of Defence has said. A ministry spokesman told Reuters 15,000 thief-proof briefcases had been ordered at a cost of 1,000 pounds each after it emerged security service and armed forces staff had lost 204 laptops since 1997. "It got to the point where these things seemed to be disappearing every week and it was an embarrassment." Many of the briefcases will be fitted with gadgets more familiar to fans of British agent 007 or the "Mission Impossible" television series than the average civil servant. As well as being able to withstand high explosives, the cases will be fitted with a "self- destruct" mechanism to wipe the laptop's hard drive if a thief tries to open the case, the spokesman said. Only a fraction of the briefcase losses have been made public but the few that were have embarrassed British security services. In November an agent for MI5, the domestic intelligence service, left a briefcase full of secret documents on a train. In May a military laptop - believed to contain details of a warplane project with the United States - was stolen from a naval intelligence officer at a train station. The previous March there were reports that two agents - one from MI5 and the other from Britain's overseas security service MI6 - had lost laptops containing secret information. The MI5 laptop, said to contain confidential information on Northern Ireland, was also snatched at a train station. ISN is hosted by SecurityFocus.com --- To unsubscribe email LISTSERVat_private with a message body of "SIGNOFF ISN".
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