The Ministry of Defence has been accused of a security blunder for publishing online the name, rank, and army number of 20,000 military personnel which could be used by Islamic State as a ‘hit list’.
The names released includes those of officers, reservist officers, members of the Officers’ Training Corps (OTC), and adult volunteers of the army cadet force, reports The Times.
One serving reservist named on the government website said: “They’ve basically provided a target list for Isis.”
“This is a serious security threat when Isis and other groups are looking to target individuals,” said Major Chris Green, a former reservist who is also named on the list.
It is actually a pretty terrifying error,” continued Major Green. “They are putting national security at risk in many ways.”
A former senior officer has also said: “I think it is quite risky. I do not know why they have done it.”
The Army List has always been available in hard copy, and most recently online. However, in acknowledgement of the sensitive nature of the data, the MoD changed its policy in November 2015 to limit the publication of officers’ names to those at the one-star/brigadier level and above, as they are regarded as being in the public eye.
Members of the armed services, reservists, and university trainees have been previously advised by the MoD to keep their military credentials off of social media.
Soldiers were warned not to wear their uniforms in public following the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby near the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich by Islamic terrorists in May 2013.
Officials at the MoD are understood to be considering deleting the current lists of service personnel from the government website.
An MoD spokesman said: “The security of our people is our foremost concern and we keep measures to address the threats to them under constant review.”