Canada 'spy' sold US, Australia, UK secrets
SYDNEY — A Canadian naval officer arrested this year for allegedly leaking secrets may also have compromised top level Australian, British and American intelligence, a report said Wednesday.
Jeffrey Delisle, a naval intelligence officer, was charged in Canada in January with communicating over the past five years "with a foreign entity, information that the government of Canada is taking measures to safeguard".
Canadian reports said Ottawa expelled four Russian diplomats in the aftermath of Delisle's arrest, although Moscow denied this.
On Wednesday the Sydney Morning Herald, citing Australian security sources, said Delisle also allegedly sold to Moscow signals intelligence -- information gathered by the interception of radio and radar signals -- collected by the United States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand.
It said much of the information was more highly classified than the disclosures attributed to US Private Bradley Manning, who is accused of releasing a vast cache of classified files to whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.
The newspaper said Delisle was the subject of high-level consultations between the Australian and Canadian governments and was discussed at a secret international conference in New Zealand earlier this year.
An Australian security source quoted by the newspaper said Delisle's access was "apparently very wide" and that "Australian reporting was inevitably compromised".
"The signals intelligence community is very close, we share our intelligence overwhelmingly with the US, UK and Canada," a former Australian Defence Signals Directorate officer said.
An Australian Defence Department spokeswoman said the government did not comment on intelligence matters.
"However, the Australian government takes national security very seriously and is continually reviewing and strengthening policies, practices and techniques to ensure Australia's national security," she told AFP.
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key refused to confirm whether the intelligence conference took place and said he could not discuss matters of national security.
"I'm not in a position to be able to, or want to, comment on our national security," he told reporters.
"These things are sometimes better left unsaid."
Delisle's offences allegedly occurred in the Canadian capital Ottawa, Halifax and in towns in Ontario and Nova Scotia provinces, court documents said.
He has been charged under Canada's Security of Information Act, with a conviction carrying a maximum penalty of life in prison.
An intelligence officer with the Canadian Forces has been arrested for allegedly passing secrets to a foreign entity or terrorist group.
Jeffrey Paul Delisle, who lives in the Bedford area of Halifax, was arrested over the weekend. He is to appear in court in Halifax on Tuesday morning for a bail hearing.
Delisle is a member of the Royal Canadian Navy. The Defence Department said the 40-year-old officer is a sub-lieutenant in the navy and an intelligence officer.
Delisle lives in this Bedford house.
Court documents filed Monday indicate he is accused under the Security of Information Act of passing secrets to a foreign entity.
The alleged incidents occurred between July 2007 and Jan. 10 or 13, 2011, in Ottawa and Kingston, Ont., and Halifax and Bedford, N.S.
The documents also allege Delisle committed breaches of trust "in connection with the duties of his office," in violation of the Criminal Code.
There was no indication what information Delisle is accused of passing or to whom it was passed.
The charges are rare and serious. A breach of trust under the Criminal Code can net a five-year prison sentence, and convictions under the Security of Information Act can lead to life in prison.
While a copy of the charges allege information was passed to a foreign entity, the section of the act under which Delisle is charged also says the offence can include communicating information to a terrorist group.
Member of naval intelligence
A senior defence official told CBC News that Delisle joined the reserves in 1996 and became a regular Canadian Forces member in 2001. He was promoted to officer in 2008.
The official said the alleged breaches did not pose a threat to public safety. He said Delisle worked for a unit called HMCS Trinity.
Trinity is an intelligence facility at the naval dockyard in Halifax. It tracks vessels entering and exiting Canadian waters via satellites, drones and underwater devices. The centre is a multi-national base with access to secret data from NATO countries.
A source says the Canadian Forces counter-intelligence branch is conducting a damage assessment as a result of this case.
The accused would have had clearance to at least top secret information, if not higher, depending on which project he was assigned to, according to the official, who would not say which other country was involved.
He said the Canadian Forces is working closely with the RCMP in the investigation.
No threat to public, RCMP say
RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson issued a statement saying it is the first time someone has been charged under that section of the Security of Information Act, which was introduced after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the U.S.
"Notwithstanding the seriousness of these charges, the RCMP is not aware of any threat to public safety at this time from this situation," he said.
"This investigation demonstrates that Canada is not immune to threats posed by foreign entities wishing to undermine Canadian sovereignty. We must be ever vigilant to the real threat of foreign espionage, and continue investing time and resources into the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of such acts."
Calls to Delisle's home off Hammonds Plains Road went unanswered.
None of the neighbours CBC News spoke with knew him well.
The Security of Information Act lays out an array of breaches ranging from threatening the safety of the Forces to selling software and the technical details of operations.
The Crown asked that Delisle be kept in custody. He will be held until a bail hearing Tuesday.
Criminal prosecution for espionage rare: expert
An expert in security matters said even when espionage activity is suspected in Canada, it rarely ends in criminal prosecution.
"There are other techniques that we use to try to break up such activities to ensure the people involved know they're under surveillance or sent back to their home countries or something," said Wesley Wark, a professor at the University of Toronto.
Speaking about such cases in general, Wark said the risk of revealing classified information in court can prevent authorities from laying charges.
"The game has to be worth the candle," he said.
Canadian and Australian government officials reportedly discussed the case of a Canadian naval intelligence officer accused of spying following concerns that Australia's security systems may have been compromised.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Louise Hand, Australia's High Commissioner to Canada was briefed by the Canadian government on the case shortly after the arrest of Sub-Lt. Jeffrey Paul Delisle on Jan. 14.
Hand discussed the case with Stephen Rigby, national security adviser to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the paper revealed, using Australia's access-to-information laws.
Hand's "secret-sensitive" report on the briefing was withheld on national security grounds, the paper said.
The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) was also briefed on the Delisle case through liaison with its counterpart, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, which also discussed the matter at a security conference attended by ASIO in New Zealand in February, the paper reported.
"Australian security sources have privately acknowledged that the security breach compromised intelligence information and capabilities across Western intelligence agencies, especially in the U.S. and Canada, but also including Australia's top secret Defence Signals Directorate and the Defence Intelligence Organisation," the paper reported.
At a funding announcement in Oshawa, Ont., Harper declined comment on the Australian report, saying he doesn't speak about national security matters.
Delisle is charged with communicating information to a foreign entity that could harm national interests.The 41-year-old security analyst was arrested in January and has been in custody since at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility.
Delisle is alleged to have given or sold information to a foreign entity between July 6, 2007, and Jan. 13, 2012.
It seems that we may have found Bradly Mannings contact. :think:
Is Jeffrey Delisle the other person who helped Bradly Manning release Classified U.S Documents.
Jeffrey Delisle sold the intelligence information he stole to Russia & a number of terrorist groups.
The Question is ...... What did they then do with the information.
Maybe they uploaded it to Wikileaks.