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Naval spy fiasco

October 13, 2012

HERE’S the thing. A Canadian naval officer working in the HMCS Trinity intelligence hub in Halifax goes rogue. He hands the Russians a “vast amount” of classified data. It includes information on warship and aircraft deployments; titbits about anything Russian, including mobsters; info on Canadian politicians; and a Who’s Who of military personnel complete with phone numbers and email addresses. And he gets away with it for years.

Then, when he confesses, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government … has nothing more to say than “we don’t comment on matters of national security”. Nice try. But parliament shouldn’t let them off the hook that easily. …

Canadians ought to know how Sub-Lt Jeffrey Paul Delisle went undetected from 2007 to 2012 … The Trinity centre provides tactical threat and other assessments to Canadian warships and aircraft at home and overseas, tracks vessels transiting our waters and serves as a clearing house for other classified information shared with our closest allies. At Trinity, Delisle downloaded information from the military’s … system onto floppy disks … then transferred it to a USB key and simply walked the key out of the centre. At home he pasted the data into an email and left it parked in the drafts folder of an email service that the Russians could also log on to, so the email was never transmitted. Brazen thievery, floppies and an old-fashioned ‘drop’ site managed to defeat Canada’s 21st-century security systems.

While parliament is in an interrogatory mood, it might also want to know whether core Canadian and allied communications systems were compromised, along with signals intelligence, plus codes and procedures used to safeguard secrets.

Granted, every country has moles and leaks…. But given the torrent of data the Russians got, Defence Minister Peter MacKay’s assertion that our allies still have “full confidence” in us strains belief…. — (Oct 11)