World / US and Canada

Spy scandal prompts security review in Canada

(Xinhua) Updated: 2012-10-12 13:54

OTTAWA - Canada is reviewing its security procedures after a navy intelligence officer recently admitted passing military secrets to Russians, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said Thursday.

During an unrelated press conference in Calgary, Alberta, he said that, with the nature of threats constantly changing due to the Internet and cyber-security issues, intelligence agencies have to be "more aware of potential threats and move to act proactively."

Toews said he expects Canada's reputation with its allies to remain intact, pointing out that such breaches are not unique to Canada and have also occurred in the United States.

Every time there is a compromise of information, Canada cooperates closely with its allies to ensure that "we minimize any damage that might have been done or ascertain the extent of that damage," Toews added.

"Given the extensive sharing of information that occurs between the Five Eyes community - Great Britain, Canada, the United States, New Zealand and Australia - our agencies are always concerned when there is any compromise of security and we work very closely together."

On Wednesday, 41-year-old Sub-Lt Jeffrey Paul Delisle pleaded guilty to three espionage-related charges in a Halifax court, including breach of trust and two counts of passing information to a foreign entity between July 2007 and January 2011.

Toews declined to comment on the specifics of the case until the naval officer is sentenced in January, when he could face life in prison.

Delisle, who was arrested in January, is the first person in Canada to enter a plea under the Security of Information Act, which is part of Canada's post-9/11 antiterrorism legislation.

He was posted to a naval intelligence center in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he worked on the Stone Ghost system that links the Five-Eyes allies. He was allegedly paid as much as 3,000 Canadian dollars ($3,065) a month to pass along classified information on a thumb drive to the Russian intelligence community.

Delisle's unauthorized disclosure to the Russians since 2007 has caused severe and irreparable damage to Canadian interests, according to a statement by a Canadian intelligence official that was read in court.

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