Photo: US Navy
Canadian Navy intelligence officer Sub-Lt. Jeffrey Delisle has been charged and may face life imprisonment for allegedly spying and leaking defence information to Russian operatives. The Canadian Press says the leaked information could include sensitive data on underwater “dead zones” where submarines can travel undetected.
Details of navy ship movements in the Arctic and the Middle East may have been leaked as well, along with weapons systems information.
The Wall Street Journal reports sources close to the case say the breach created serious conflict between the U.S. and Canada. The information allegedly delivered to the Russians was electronic communications and signals data collected between Canada and its allies.
Sub-Lt. Delisle worked at the Royal Canadian Navy’s Trinity intelligence and communications centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, which is northeast of New York off the Atlantic coast.
The secret centre doesn’t offer any publicly-available information on the Internet – no surprise there — but news reporting by Canadian media say the hushed-up facility houses some of the most sensitive military intelligence in Canada, pulled together by domestic forces as well as American and Commonwealth partners like the U.K. and Australia.
“Is there a Russian sub off the coast? Where are the American subs? Where are ours? That’s the kind of top secret stuff they would know,” one person familiar with Trinity said to the Globe and Mail. The intelligence centre is said to mainly track naval traffic in the Atlantic and analyses Canadian and allied electronic communications.
One of the alleged leaks took place sometime between July 2007 and January this year, with a second just a few months ago in January. He has been in custody since then and will find out later today if he will be granted bail.
But a court judge has imposed a publication ban on the proceedings, as the scandal is downplayed by Canadian officials.
Russian officials are washing their hands of the issue and deny any wrongdoing, reports the Canadian Press. Their consular staff in Canada left the country as the scandal unfolded, while Russian officials said it was just a coincidence and that their terms in Canada were simply coming to an end as scheduled.
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