Western spy networks have been exposed by a disgruntled IT worker who left the Swiss intelligence outfit, the Federal Intelligence Service, with a drive packed with top secret information.
The thumb drive had all the secret information on counter-terrorism which is shared by Western governments.
According to Reuters, intelligence agencies in the United States and Britain are among those who were warned by red-faced Swiss authorities that their data could have been put in jeopardy.
It is believed that the suspect became disgruntled because he felt he was being ignored and his advice on operating the data systems was not being taken seriously.
He downloaded terabytes of classified material from the Swiss intelligence service's servers onto portable hard drives. He then carried them out of government buildings in a backpack.
Spooks arrested the technician amid signs he was acting suspiciously. It seems he was trying to set up a numbered bank account and the Swiss think he was trying to find a buyer for the data.
He has been released from prison while a criminal investigation by the office of Switzerland's Federal Attorney General continues.
The techie had worked for the Federal Intelligence Service for about eight years and was apparently "very talented" technician and senior enough to have "administrator rights".
Swiss investigators have recovered large numbers of portable storage devices containing the stolen data after they arrested the suspect, according to the sources. They think they arrested him before he had a chance to sell it, but can't be certain.
Now the Swiss are engaged in a huge navel gazing exercise over whether or not the theft could have be avoided. According to the Swiss press, the techie had been showing warning signs that should have been spotted by his bosses or by security officials.
At one point he had been so hacked off that he stopped showing up for work.
The NDB did not realize that something was wrong until the largest Swiss bank, UBS rang them up to tell them that there had been a potentially suspicious attempt to set up a new numbered bank account, which then was traced to the NDB technician.