Sixteen months after the break-in at Castlereagh police station in Belfast, the British government has been unable to publicly indicate where responsibility lies for arguably the most serious single breach of security in Northern Ireland for three decades.
This is an astonishing state of affairs which can only raise further questions about the wider role of the British intelligence services.
A brief statement from the secretary of state, Paul Murphy, on Wednesday about the outcome of the investigation into the raid carried out by the former senior civil servant, Sir John Chilcott said there was no evidence that British government agencies were linked to the Castlereagh incident.
This directly contracted the opinion expressed in the immediate aftermath of the break-in by the then chief constable, Sir Ronnie Flanagan, who said he would be 'most surprised' if civilians or a paramilitary group were involved.
Although there was subsequently intense speculation that the IRA was behind the raid, no charges have since been brought.
Mr Murphy's decision not to reveal the full findings of the Chilcott report means that uncertainty is bound to continue.
In all the circumstances, it would be particularly alarming if, as has been suggested, Chilcott has recommended an expansion of MI5 operations in Northern Ireland.
This is an issue which needs to be clarified and must not be regarded as yet another piece of classified information.
It may well be claimed that the Chilcott report deals with matters of the utmost sensitivity, but there is an overwhelming case for at least the partial publication of its main conclusions.