Lost British defence dossier was not espionage: UK Defence Minister

Weekly government cabinet meeting in London
FILE PHOTO: Britain's Defence Secretary Ben Wallace arrives for a cabinet meeting at the FCO in London, Britain September 22, 2020. Leon Neal/Pool via REUTERS

July 19, 2021

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain said it had found no evidence of espionage connected to the discovery last month of a wad of secret papers at a bus stop which contained details about a British warship and Russia’s potential reaction to its passage through the Black Sea.

The classified documents were discovered in southern England by a passer-by.

Defence minister Ben Wallace said in a statement on Monday that an investigation into the loss had confirmed how the papers were lost, and said the person responsible had had their security clearance suspended.

“The investigation has found no evidence of espionage; and has concluded there has been no compromise of the papers by our adversaries,” Wallace said.

“The investigation has independently confirmed the circumstances of the loss, including the management of the papers within the Department, the location at which the papers were lost and the manner in which that occurred. These are consistent with the events self-reported by the individual.”

(Reporting by William James; editing by Michael Holden)