If the lax IT security situation in Whitehall, where data and computers go missing with alarming regularity, were not so serious it would be laughable; even more so than it is today after it emerged yet another laptop has gone AWOL.

The latest security breach involves the theft of an MoD laptop from inside the Ministry's Whitehall HQ in London. The numbers now add up to 658 such losses or thefts in the last four years.

Encryption key too

Moreover, along with the PC the thief took a USB drive that supposedly holds a key to decrypt the data on the laptop. We're assuming both were simply stored together – that wouldn't be a surprise, at least.

In a scene straight out of TV show The Thick of It, the theft happened in November but only came to light when it was leaked last week and subsequently confirmed by the MoD.

Reports of a Malcolm Tucker-type spin-doctor seen ripping new orifices for Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth remain unconfirmed.