Join Date: May 2007
Points: 266,671,423, Level: 100
Submariner accused of
passing encryption data to
A Royal Navy submariner allegedly
passed computer codes used to
encrypt secret messages to an enemy
state, the Old Bailey heard.
Petty Officer Edward Devenney, 29, is
accused of breaching the Official
Secrets Act by collecting and passing
on the code breaking data.
He is said to have handed over the
secret information, which might be
useful to an enemy, to an unnamed
individual in January this year.
He is also accused of gathering data
on encryption and cryptography
technology between November 18 last
year and March 7 this year.
Cryptography is the technique used in
programmes to encrypt secret
Information on the techniques is likely
to be examined in a closed hearing at
any future trial.
He was arrested at his barracks in
Plymouth in March. At an earlier
hearing, Westminster magistrates’
court heard he allegedly offered
military information to a foreign
An application for bail – heard in
chambers at the Old Bailey on
Monday – was refused by the judge,
Mr Justice Saunders. He also granted
anonymity to potential security
industry witnesses due to give
Devenney, of Strabane, Co Tyrone,
Northern Ireland, was due to enter a
plea to two breaches of the Act, but
the case was adjourned for legal
Appearing via videolink from
Wandsworth prison, in southwest
London, and dressed in a green shirt
and blue striped sweater, he spoke
only to confirm his name.
He will return to court on a date to be
fixed in early October to enter a plea.
A provisional trial date has been set
for November 13.
It will be decided during the October
which parts of the evidence will need
to be heard in secret.
The petty officer's legal team are
currently in the process of consulting
security experts. They were given until
July 20 to submit their defence case to
He is being represented by Lord
Carlile of Berriew QC, a leading
barrister and former MP who
defended Paul Burrell, who was the
butler of Diana, Princess of Wales.
Devenney, who served at HMS Drake
in Plymouth, Devon, faces two charges
under 1911 Official Secrets Act.
They are collecting information for a
purpose prejudicial to the safety or
interests of the state, collecting any
secret official code word or password
or sketch, plan, material article or
note, or other document or
information, namely cryptographic
material that was calculated to be or
might be, or was intended to be
directly or indirectly useful to an
The second charge relates to
communicating information to
another person for a purpose
prejudicial to the safety or interests of
the state, communicating to another
person information that was
calculated to be or might be or was
intended to be directly or indirectly
useful to an enemy.
In 2008, in an unrelated case,
Corporal Daniel James, an Army
translator who worked for the head of
Nato forces in Afghanistan, was found
guilty of breaching the Official Secrets
Cpl James, 45, an Iranian by birth,
sent coded emails to about British
troop movements to the Iranian
military attaché in Kabul.
In 2010, MI6 employee Daniel
Houghton, was also convicted and
jailed for breaching the act.
The IT graduate, 25, helped develop a
method of intercepting emails in the
secret service, but tried to sell official
secrets for £2 million to agents from
In 1997, former MI6 officer Richard
Tomlinson was jailed for violating the
Official Secrets Act by giving a
synopsis of a proposed book to a
He pleaded guilty to the breach, after
apparently giving details of his career
in the Secret Intelligence Service, but
the book was later published.
In 1983, Foreign and Commonwealth
Officer Sarah Tisdall was imprisoned
for leaking government documents to
the Guardian newspaper.