Canadian spy compromised Australian, British intelligence

Jeffrey Paul DelisleBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | |
Most regular readers of this blog are undoubtedly familiar with the case of Jeffrey Paul Delisle, a Sub-Lieutenant in the Royal Canadian Navy, who until recently was employed at Canada’s ultra-secure TRINITY communications center in Halifax. Delisle was arrested in January on suspicion of passing information gathered from radio and radar signal interceptions to a foreign power, most likely Russia. Back in May, when it was disclosed that the United States helped Canadian counterintelligence investigators build their case against Delisle, we warned that “a far more important subject concerns the degree in which [Delisle’s] penetration has affected Canada’s intelligence-sharing relationship with its […] partners”. Now a new report in The Sydney Morning Herald reveals that Delisle’s espionage activities compromised Australian secrets that had been shared with Canada under longstanding intelligence cooperation arrangements. Citing “Australian security sources”, the paper said that the Delisle case “has sent shock waves through Western security agencies” due to the volume of compromised information. The Herald claims that the stolen intelligence is “on a scale comparable to the alleged handover to WikiLeaks of US military and diplomatic reports by US Army private Bradley Manning”. An unnamed “Australian security source” told the paper that Delisle’s access to classified information was “apparently very wide” and that Australian intercepts were “inevitably compromised”. Read more of this post

Comment: US helped Canada nab accused spy Jeff Delisle

Jeffrey Paul DelisleBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | |
Back in January of this year, when the Jeffrey Delisle spy affair made headlines around the world, I spoke with several journalists from The Globe & Mail, The Canadian Press, and other Canadian news outlets. Most of them were –rightly– curious about the role of the United States in the affair, in which Sub-Lieutenant Delisle, who had been employed at Canada’s ultra-secure TRINITY communications center in Halifax, was accused of spying for a foreign power. I told them that, given that Trinity handled –aside from Canadian– NATO communications, Canada was in fact obligated to notify all of its NATO partners about the suspected penetration. That aside, I said that it could be “safely assumed” that US counterintelligence agencies were “fully involved in the Delisle case, and probably ha[d] been for several months”. By the latter phrase, I implied that US counterintelligence agencies had been closely involved in helping their Canadian counterparts build their case against Delisle. Now a new report in The Globe & Mail suggests that US counterintelligence officials “supplied vital information” to their Canadian colleagues during “the early days of the investigation” into the Delisle affair. The article says that the full extent of what the Americans told Canadian authorities remains unclear; but it quotes “a source familiar with the matter”, who claims that the US “helped Canada build its investigation”, not necessarily by providing a single tipoff clue, but through “an accumulation of information”. The paper adds that Washington’s involvement in the investigation from an early stage “adds a key new detail to [the] story”. Not necessarily, I would argue. Read more of this post

Canada reportedly expels Russian diplomats over spy affair

Jeffrey Paul DelisleBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | |
Canadian government officials have refused to confirm or deny media reports that Ottawa expelled several Russian diplomats recently in connection with an alleged espionage affair. The alleged expulsions are reportedly connected with the case of Royal Canadian Navy Sub-Lieutenant Jeffrey Paul Delisle. Earlier this week, Delisle became the first person to be charged under Canada’s post-9/11 Security of Information Act, for allegedly passing protected government information to an unspecified foreign body. According to media reports, Delisle, who had top-level security clearance, worked at Canada’s ultra-secure TRINITY communications center in Halifax. Canadian authorities have refused to reveal the country for which Delisle allegedly spied. But late last night, CTV revealed that the names of two Russian diplomats and two technicians stationed at the embassy of the Russian Federation in Ottawa had been quietly dropped from the list of recognized diplomatic officials in Canada. The list, which is approved periodically by the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, contains the names of all foreign diplomats legally permitted to operate in Canada. One of the missing names, that of Lieutenant Colonel Dmitry V. Fedorchatenko, bears the title of the embassy’s Assistant Defense Attaché. Russian consular officials in Canada rejected speculation that the missing diplomats were expelled by the Canadian government in connection with the Delisle affair. It appears that Canadian counterintelligence investigators had been monitoring Jeff Delisle for quite some time, perhaps even before 2010. If Delisle acted —as he is reported to have done— as an unregistered foreign agent of Russia, it is certainly not surprising that he was a naval officer. He was probably selected by the Russians because he was a member of the Royal Canadian Navy. Ever since Canada joined NATO, in the late 1940s, its tactical contribution to the Organization has been mostly naval. Read more of this post

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