Canada: Secrets in hands of alleged RCMP spy would cause 'devastating' damage to Canada, allies: documents - - PressFrom - Canada
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CanadaSecrets in hands of alleged RCMP spy would cause 'devastating' damage to Canada, allies: documents

07:40  17 september  2019
07:40  17 september  2019 Source:   cbc.ca

Mounties lay secrets-law charges against one of their own

Mounties lay secrets-law charges against one of their own OTTAWA — The RCMP has charged one of its own with several offences under Canada's official-secrets law. The national police force says Cameron Ortis was charged under three sections of the Security of Information Act, and with two Criminal Code offences. 

A Royal Canadian Mounted Police commissioner acknowledged that Ortis had access to intelligence from both domestic and international allies . Among the main causes for concern is the potential exposure of sensitive secrets such as spycraft developed by Canada ’s intelligence agency.

RCMP charge intelligence official for breaching secrets law. The RCMP has confirmed the charges stem from activities alleged to have occurred during his tenure as an RCMP employee. He said the federal police service did not hint at specific countries, if any, for which Ortis may have spied .

Secrets in hands of alleged RCMP spy would cause 'devastating' damage to Canada, allies: documents The cache of classified intelligence material an RCMP official was allegedly preparing to share with a foreign entity or terrorist organization is so vital to Canada's national security that the country's intelligence agencies say its misuse strikes at the heart of Canada's sovereignty and security, documents seen by CBC News reveal.

According to an assessment by the Communications Security Establishment, Canada's cybersecurity agency, and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Cameron Ortis, the director general of the RCMP's national intelligence co-ordination centre, had material that, if released, would cause a "HIGH"—in all caps— degree of damage to Canada and its allies.

Five Eyes allies raising questions as damage control continues in Cameron Ortis case: sources

Five Eyes allies raising questions as damage control continues in Cameron Ortis case: sources Members of the Five Eyes intelligence bloc are already raising questions about the type of information accessible to Cameron Ortis as the director of an intelligence unit within the RCMP, diplomatic sources tell CBC News. The Five Eyes, made up of Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia, is one of the world's leading intelligence-sharing networks, linking some of the most powerful countries in the world. Diplomatic sources speaking to CBC on condition of anonymity said the alliance is worried that Ortis, charged under Canada's national secrets act, had access to their allied information.

Canadian officials told a sentencing hearing in 2013 that allies had threatened to withhold intelligence from Canada unless it tightened security procedures. In a statement, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said: “ Canadians can continue to have confidence in their security and intelligence agencies

FILE PHOTO: A Royal Canadian Mounted Police ( RCMP ) crest is seen on a member's uniform, at the Canada is part of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network with United States, Britain, New The 2012 law was used to prosecute a Canadian naval officer who handed over secrets to Russia

"Analysis of the contents of the reports could reasonably lead a foreign intelligence agency to draw significant conclusions about allied and Canadian intelligence targets, techniques, methods and capabilities," the documents said.

"This type of information is among the most highly protected of national security assets, by any government standard and goes to the heart of Canada's sovereignty and security."

The documents say that the possible dissemination of the documents would threaten Canada's relations with its allies.

"CSE's preliminary assessment is that damage caused by the release of these reports and intelligence is HIGH (sic) and potentially devastating in that it would cause grave injury to Canada's national interests."

RCMP surveying potential damage in wake of charges against top intelligence official

RCMP surveying potential damage in wake of charges against top intelligence official RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki says the force is still trying to understand the fallout of allegations levelled against one of their top intelligence officials and that RCMP officers are "shaken" by the charges.

+ A senior RCMP official arrested in a case that sent shockwaves through Canada ’s national security community on Friday was uncovered by U.S. authorities who tipped off Ottawa, a source told Global News.

Canada 's intelligence community is reeling after a senior official working with an RCMP intelligence team was charged under the Security of Information Act — an event that is expected to have a ripple effect for years. Cameron Ortis — a civilian director general at the RCMP

An assessment by CSIS says that while the agency has only had time to conduct a preliminary examination of the documents in Ortis's possession, they contain "sensitive intelligence that was highly classified in nature."

"Disclosure of such information beyond the intended audience may reveal not only the classified content of the particular reporting, but could possibly lead to the discovery of sensitive sources and methods with grave consequences.

"The loss of such information could also lead to a loss of confidence by our foreign partners," the CSIS analysis in the documents said.

Covert search of condo

The documents reveal that Ortis's condo was covertly searched last month and a number of handwritten notes were discovered providing instructions on how to wash metadata from PDF files.

The documents, of which CBC News has only seen parts, say that about 25 documents had been "sanitized to remove identifying information."

RCMP director accused of stealing secrets had access to allied intelligence

RCMP director accused of stealing secrets had access to allied intelligence OTTAWA—The high-ranking RCMP employee accused of stealing secrets had access to an extensive trove of intelligence from both Canadian and international sources. RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki confirmed Monday that Cameron Ortis, the director of the force’s National Intelligence Coordination Centre, had access to information shared by international partners as well as intelligence gathered by Canadian agencies. Lucki said Ortis’ arrest has “shaken many people throughout the RCMP.” “We are aware of the potential risk to agency operations of our partners in Canada and abroad and we thank them for their continued collaboration.

The arrest of a top Canadian police officer on charges of leaking secret information could hurt intelligence operations by allied nations, the head of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said on Monday. "We are assessing the impacts of the alleged activities as information becomes available

The arrest of a top Canadian police officer on charges of leaking secret information could hurt “We are assessing the impacts of the alleged activities as information becomes available,” RCMP “We are aware of the potential risk to agency operations of our partners in Canada and abroad and we thank

The documents also reveal that Ortis was just over $90,000 in debt.

The papers reveal, as reported by Global News, that the security services first got wind of Ortis through a separate investigation of Phantom Secure Communications, a B.C.-based company under investigation for providing encrypted communication devices to international criminals.

'I have information ... you will find very valuable'

In March of last year, the FBI revealed that it had taken down an international criminal communications service based in Canada that had a revenue of $80 million over the last decade. The operation resulted in the seizure of 1,000 phones that the FBI said were being used to facilitate murders and drug smuggling.

The documents seen by CBC News say the FBI investigation discovered in 2018 that a person was sending emails to Vincent Ramos, the CEO of Phantom Secure Communications, offering to provide valuable information.

The documents allege that person was Ortis.

"You don't know me. I have information that I am confident you will find very valuable," one email contained in the documents said.

Ortis arrest 'unsettling,' top Mountie says amid damage assessment

Ortis arrest 'unsettling,' top Mountie says amid damage assessment Ortis arrest 'unsettling,' top Mountie says amid damage assessment

An RCMP employee has been arrested and charged under the Security of Information Act. “The charges stem from activities alleged to have occurred during his tenure as an RCMP employee,” the statement says, adding that as the investigation is ongoing, the RCMP will not be making further

Hackers with Anonymous say they breached supposedly secure Canadian government computers and accessed high-level, classified national security documents as retaliation for last week’s fatal shooting by the RCMP of a protester in British Columbia.

A subsequent email promised to provide "intel about your associates and individuals using their network internationally."

Charges under the Security of Information Act

Over the span of his career Ortis had some of the highest access to classified and allied information within the RCMP. Sources familiar with his work said he would have had knowledge of code words and operations.

Ortis was charged under a section of the Security of Information Act that applies to individuals "permanently bound to secrecy" as a condition of their work — which strongly suggests he had access to top secret material.

Under the Security of Information Act, Ortis has also been charged with:

  • Unauthorized communication of special operational information.
  • Preparing for the commission of an offence by obtaining or gaining access to information, or possessing any device, apparatus or software used for concealing, surreptitiously communicating or obtaining information.

One of the charges stems from 2015, while the others span a year, going back to September of 2018.

Ortis made a brief court appearance last Friday. He remains in custody with a bail hearing set for this Friday.

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