It cannot be left to someone at a junior level in the organisation to decide whether information, especially information of this nature, should be downloaded—and then, in this case, posted in a way that was totally insecure.
This evening, most news outlets are now reporting that, well, nothing could be further from the truth:
The emails reveal that the "HMRC Process Owner for Child Benefit" - Nigel Jordan, an assistant director of HMRC - was copied in to correspondence earlier this year when crucial decisions were taken which led to the current data crisis.(Telegraph)
Further, in Prime Minister's Questions yesterday, Gordon Brown said:
When mistakes happen in enforcing procedures, we have a duty to do everything that we can to protect the public.
However, tonight we know that there was no "mistake". The data sent was deliberately not desensitised in order to save HMRC the measly sum of £5000.
So Alistair Darling has misled Parliament by attempting to pass this off as the actions of a rogue "junior" individual at HMRC. Gordon Brown has directly lied to Parliament by calling this a "mistake" when it was clearly and provably a deliberate cost-saving decision.
I'm really enjoying watching Gordon Brown "set out his vision" for the country, aren't you? No wonder Brown is so interested in Africa. Maybe he's looking there for advice on how to run a country.