Computer hardware giant, International Business machines (IBM) has been blamed for the UK government scrapping a secret intelligence network development project due to missed deadlines and security fears.
The Register, an online technology publication, said on Thursday that the British intelligence agencies are involved in a multimillion-pound wrangle with IBM after the secret project was scrapped after years in development because IBM, the lead supplier, failed to meet ''key contractual milestones" and write off £24.4 million.
The project, named SCOPE, was initiated by the UK government sometime in 2003 to give wider access and collaboration on intelligence to ten government organisations at home and abroad.
The first phase of the SCOPE project of updating the UK Intelligence Messaging Network to speed secret information sharing among MI5, MI6, GCHQ, SOCA, HMRC, the Cabinet Office, the Home Office, the Foreign Office, the MoD and Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, was completed in October 2007.
The Register says that even during Phase One of the project, where IBM was also the main contractor, had been delayed by years of setbacks and technical problems, including a "serious process failure" at the network's Service Operations Centre, at a secret location outside London.
But the Register failed to enlighten as to what security fears made the UK government scrap the Phase Two of SCOPE apart from IBM delaying the project.
The UK Intelligence and Security Committee said in its last annual report that it was "appalled" by SCOPE Phase Two and announced a separate inquiry set to report later this year.
The cabinet office told The Register that work has now begun on an unnamed replacement system planned to offer the same capabilities as the SCOPE Phase Two.
Since the total write-down was £24.4 million, the cabinet office said it was considering its legal options to recover the money from IBM.