The Spy Who Fell to Earth

A portrait of Houghton
My beloved Telegraph today reports on the case of Daniel Houghton, an Anglo-Dutch Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) officer convicted of attempting to sell classified material.

The stupendously inept Houghton contacted the Dutch Secret Service, with a price tag of £2,000,000 for material which included a list of MI6 agents. The Dutch parsimoniously negotiated the price down before informing the British, who mounted a Sting operation.

He was arrested after a brief scuffle leaving an Hotel in central London with a suitcase stuffed with £900,000 . Houghton's Lawyer claims the ex-Spook was "directed by voices to do what he is said to have done in the charges".

The Telegraph offers us its own sotto voce assessment of the convict's mental state. They remark:

"Houghton showed astonishing naivety for someone selling highly sensitive state secrets... One source close to the inquiry said he was a computer expert with limited social skills... Investigators feared Houghton, could use his £32,000 savings to flee the country as he had few social ties..."

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