Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Parliament Should Demand Answers in Naval Spy Fiasco

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Parliament Should Demand Answers in Naval Spy Fiasco

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Parliament should demand answers in naval spy fiasco


An editorial from the Toronto Star, published Oct. 11:

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; tidbits 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 shrugs and 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.

"The government owes Canadians and allies an explanation about how the breach was allowed to happen, and what can be done to prevent future breaches," says New Democrat defence critic Jack Harris. "You can't walk out of a diamond mine with a pocketful of diamonds. How is it you can walk out of a top secret naval intelligence facility with a pocketful of secrets on a thumb drive?"

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews may insist the fiasco hasn't harmed "our very robust" relations with the Americans, British, Australians and New Zealanders, but University of Toronto security expert Wesley Wark calls it "mind-boggling."

Canadians ought to know how Sub-Lt. Jeffrey Paul Delisle went undetected from 2007 to 2012 as he sold out his country for $3,000 a month. How can the Royal Canadian Navy's counter-espionage systems be so amateurish, or the Canadian Security Intelligence Service so blind? And who should be held responsible?

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. …

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