O espião que foi para o frio…

Pois é! Para quem achou que isso havia acabado com a Guerra Fria… E, claro, desde Gouzenko, a espionagem em solo canadense sempre tem seu charme todo especial (e efeitos que vão muito além das fronteiras do segundo maior país do mundo em extensão territorial)! A história é boa!

THE NY TIMES – January 17, 2012

 Canada Accuses Naval Officer of Sharing State Secrets


OTTAWA — A Canadian naval officer who worked in some of the country’s key military intelligence centers has been charged with breach of trust and passing along government secrets to a “foreign entity.” The officer, Sub-Lt. Jeffrey Paul Delisle, 40, remained in jail on Tuesday after his lawyer asked a court in Halifax, Nova Scotia, to delay a bail hearing to give him more time to study the government’s case.

Neither the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the military nor the government offered much detail publicly about the charges, including the identity of the foreign power. But the Canadian television network CTV said it was Russia, without giving the source for that information.

Court documents assert that the spying began four and a half years ago and continued until last Friday, when intelligence and police officials raided Lieutenant Delisle’s house in suburban Halifax.

Until last week, Lieutenant Delisle worked at Trinity, an intelligence and communication center that is part of a large naval base in Halifax. Philippe Lagassé, who teaches defense policy at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs of the University of Ottawa, said Trinity was primarily responsible for tracking the position of military ships in the Atlantic Ocean, including submarines.

According to several Canadian news reports, Lieutenant Delisle once worked in the main clearinghouse for military intelligence at the headquarters of the Department of National Defense in Ottawa, as well as its top operational planning unit in nearby Kingston, Ontario.

Canada’s defense minister, Peter MacKay, would not answer questions about the possibility of Russia’s involvement. “I am not going to play Clue,” he told reporters in Ottawa, adding that despite the episode, “our allies have full confidence in Canada, full confidence in our information.” Officials of the Russian government would not comment.

In a statement, Bob Paulson, the commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, said the force was “not aware of any threat to public safety at this time from this situation.” Speaking hours after the police statement was released, however, Mr. MacKay said at a news conference that it was still too early to determine that. “Those are issues that will be determined in the future,” he told reporters.

At the courthouse in Halifax, Lieutenant Delisle’s lawyer, Cameron MacKeen, would not say how his client intended to plead to one charge of breach of trust under Canada’s criminal laws and two charges under the Security of Information Act. The lieutenant is the first person to be charged under the security law, which replaced an earlier Official Secrets Act and carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.

“People have to realize that there’s a presumption of innocence in this country,” Mr. MacKeen said in his brief remarks to reporters. The exact nature of the suspected spying as well as Lieutenant Delisle’s possible motivation are unclear.

Wesley K. Wark, an intelligence specialist at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, said sub-lieutenant was a relatively low rank for a 40-year-old officer, suggesting that he had little career success. “That raises questions about career disappointment and revenge,” he said.

Despite the government’s initial efforts to play down the seriousness of the arrest, Professor Wark said Lieutenant Delisle probably had access to a wide range of secrets given his job history.

“The rank doesn’t matter,” he said. “The security clearance matters.” He and Professor Lagassé said the places where the lieutenant worked require high security clearances.

Both men said Russia and China would be interested in the naval intelligence the lieutenant handled on a daily basis. It would include important data about American naval operations because of the close ties between the two navies.

Spokesmen for the F.B.I., the C.I.A. and the Justice Department in Washington all refused to comment on the case.

Professor Lagassé said it was also possible that Iran, perhaps through an intermediary, might have used the officer to gain information about NATO naval movements near the Middle East.

But if a major security breach has occurred, Professor Lagassé said, Canada will most likely deal with the case as quietly as possible. “If it is a bigger issue,” he said, “the incentive will be for most governments to cover it over.”

Ellen Barry contributed reporting from Moscow, and Scott Shane from Washington.