E-envoy Andrew Pinder, who is responsible for ensuring that Whitehall is secure against computer hackers, has accepted that his £2m scheme to allow safe communications between government departments is "intrinsically unsafe".
The embarrassing revelation came after Pinder became worried about the vulnerability of the system being provided by Cap Gemini Ernst & Young.
Pinder commissioned the report into the Icom system from independent consultants at IBM. They produced a damning report saying it was seriously threatened by the prospect of terrorists or teenage IT whizz kids getting access to highly sensitive government information.
One computer industry source said the news was "terrifying'' and was further evidence that the Government did not have a clue when it came to IT.
But Pinder's office claimed that the problems had been identified by his officers' "strong internal management processes'' early enough for remedial action to take place before the system went live.
And it stressed that Cap Gemini Ernst & Young would only get its fee when it delivered a fully operational and secure system.