Canada denies reports of spy devices found in military complex

Former Nortel campusBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org
The government of Canada has denied media reports that surreptitious listening devices were found in an Ottawa building complex that is currently being prepared to house Canada’s Department of National Defence. Canadian media reported on Monday that the mysterious spy devices were found by workers employed at the former headquarters of Nortel Networks, a Canadian telecommunications company that went bankrupt in 2009. Canada’s conservative government purchased Nortel’s former headquarters in Ottawa in 2011, and has invested close to C$1 billion (US$960 million) on a plan to move the country’s Defence Department to the site. The media reports did not specify whether the alleged eavesdropping devices were installed recently, or whether they date from the time when Nortel was headquartered at the site. In 2009, when the company declared bankruptcy, there were intense rumors that its operations had been harmed irreparably by an aggressive industrial espionage campaign conducted by Chinese hackers. On Monday, Canada’s CTV News reported that the country’s Department of National Defence was considering scrapping plans to move to the former Nortel complex, due to the discovery of the listening devices. On Monday, the Department of National Defence refused to comment directly on the allegations, stating simply that it could not provide “any information regarding specific measures and tests undertaken to secure a location or facility for reasons of national security”. On Tuesday, however, Canadian government officials told The Ottawa Citizen newspaper it had been assured by the Defence Department that “no listening devices” had been found at the former Nortel site. However, Canadian media revealed declassified reports showing that the Defence Department had expressed concerns about the security of the former Nortel site. Specifically, a briefing document prepared in 2012 for Canada’s Minister of Defence, Peter MacKay, criticized the decision to publicize the government’s decision to move the Defence Department to the former Nortel site. The document argued that the physical security of the site had been compromised by the government’s failure to properly secure the complex prior to announcing its decision to move the Defence Department there.

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