A software engineer who worked for the security services has been jailed for a year after being found guilty of attempting to sell classified information.
Daniel Houghton, 25, of Hoxton in east London, pleaded guilty to two offences under the Official Secrets Act.
Houghton copied over 7,000 files containing staffing lists for the security services operating abroad onto a memory stick while working at MI6 as a £23,000 per year software engineer.
He tried to sell the data to the Dutch secret service for £1m but the buyers contacted the British security services when they received the offer, initially believing it to be a hoax.
In bugged and recorded negotiations, Houghton was bargained down to £900,000 but when he handed over the files on 1 March he was arrested while carrying the cash in a suitcase.
"This was not an offence committed by a calculating ideologue to disclose material to a hostile sovereign state," said David Perry QC, defending, according to the BBC.
Perry described Houghton as a "naive young man who came across as a loner", and said that he had carried out the crime at the behest of voices in his head.
Judge Justice Bean sentenced Houghton to 12 months, but he was released on probation owing to the length of time he has already spent in prison.
"If the material had found its way into the hands of a hostile power it would have done enormous damage and put lives at risk," said Judge Bean, describing the defendant as a "strange young man".
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