The IRA raided a Belfast security base as part of a plan to kill Special Branch officers, the High Court heard yesterday.
One of those whose details were stolen in the break-in at Castlereagh police station claimed it was carried out by the Provisionals to target their “main enemy”.
The former officer is suing the PSNI for medical and financial consequences he alleges were due to the breach nearly 12 years ago.
Giving evidence at a hearing to establish the impact on his mental health he said it compounded post-traumatic stress brought on by decades of service.
“The elastic band stretched so much that it just broke and my nervous system went haywire,” he told the court.
The man who brought the action can be identified only as CR19 for security reasons.
He had retired from the police more than a year before the burglary.
Intruders broke into a Special Branch office at the police base on St Patrick’s Day 2002.
They escaped with sensitive files believed to have related to officers and their agents inside paramilitary ranks.
Millions of pounds was spent re-housing officers and others whose security was compromised by the episode.
Responsibility for the burglary, which rocked the peace process, was denied by the IRA at the time.
But according to CR19 the paramilitaries were to blame.
“The Provisional IRA don’t break into Special Branch offices for comic books,” he told the court.
“They went in to get our details for a special job; that was to kill us because we were known as their main enemy.”
A number of legal actions against the Chief Constable claiming personal injury, financial loss or breach of data protection have already been settled.
But CR19’s negligence claim has continued to a legal battle over the level of compensation to which he could be entitled.
Following closing submissions Mr Justice Horner reserved his decision.