The sensitive papers on 28 soldiers selected to train as snipers, including an Army pass giving access to Ministry of Defence (MoD) bases, were found under the spare tire of a used car bought from a Leeds garage last August.
The papers, dated July 2010, contained names of the trainees, including one currently operating in Afghanistan, as well as information abut the snipers’ training course.
An Army source told the Mirror newspaper: “We have a duty of care to provide the best possible support for our soldiers, their families, and those who are deemed at risk if their identities are exposed while on operations. Snipers fall into that category as they are at the forefront of our fight against the Taliban.”
Another Army source told the Daily Mail newspaper that only around five or six of those named were likely to have passed the difficult course to qualify as snipers, with the possibility of then being deployed.
“The information was unclassified so there is no immediate concern", he said. "However, it’s not the kind of thing we really want out and about. People will be reminded to take a little bit more care”, the sourced added.
The MoD said it was investigating the data breach.