UTV Podcast: How Simple FOI led to massive police blunder which may be felt for years to come

PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne apologised for the data breach.

On the latest episode of the UTV Podcast reporter Jordan Moates discusses the PSNI data leak and the subsequent events since.

On Tuesday 8 August the PSNI posted a document exposing information on all 10,000 officers and staff including their initials, surname, rank and place of work.

The breach happened because a tab on a spreadsheet containing the information was accidentally attached to a Freedom of Information which was visible on the website 'What Do They Know' for up to three hours.

Since the data breach police have said they are confident dissident republicans have a copy of the information.

Redacted information released in the data breach was posted on a wall of a library in Belfast, with a threat and picture of the Sinn Féin Policing Board member Gerry Kelly.

Jordan was one of the first journalists to cover the story and he tells us the who, what, where and whys around the data breach and what happens next.

In the podcast he discusses the cause of the leak, how officers initially thought it was a joke and the predicted cost of the blunder, which could rise into the millions.

Importantly Jordan says the full impact of the data leak is not close to being felt: "It'll be no shock to people that the PSNI and MI5 work together. There has been a number of operations over the last couple of years where we have seen the new IRA targeted and people brought through the court system.

"We know the security services had a role in all that.

"The shock will come now that we know there are 40 people, essentially imbedded with MI5 from the PSNI's point of view.

"If you look at the list and have access to their list you can find out what their names are, their surnames at least.

"Covert operations do go on fairly regularly, it could be very simple, one person sees a name on the list, sees that person out on the street and then thinks 'oh they were in intelligence', they are doing that so what are they doing here today.

"I think the ramifications for all of this, all the difference policing operations very much yet to be really fully felt.

"We are probably in the very early stages of all of this still."

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