[What follows is the text of a letter from Dr Jim Swire that was published in The Daily Telegraph on 31 October 2017:]
You report (October 30) that a memory stick found in a London street contained 76 extensive, unencrypted files relating to core aspects of Heathrow’s security.
There appears to be no evidence of awareness on the airport’s part, nor of the alarm being raised, before the files were found. We cannot know whether the information has fallen into hands bent on mischief, either through ransom or, far worse, terrorism. Given the latter possibility, Heathrow must make major changes to its security procedures. The airport says “we have reviewed all of our security plans and are confident that Heathrow remains secure”. This is highly complacent.
In December 1988, Pan Am 103, on leaving Heathrow, was destroyed by a bomb in the luggage hold over Lockerbie, with the loss of 270 lives. We now know that Heathrow’s airside had been broken into about 16 hours before the plane took off. The broken padlock and breached security door were reported by a night watchman, but his superiors decided that airside staff had simply taken improper routes to get home quickly for Christmas.
No search was made, nor were any flights cancelled. If such precautions had been taken, my daughter and 269 others might still be alive today.