The secret information that was in the hands of the alleged RCMP spy, Cameron Ortis, is likely to cause “devastating” damage to Canada and its allies, according to documents consulted by CBC.
The information that Mr. Ortis purported to share with a foreign entity or terrorist organization is so vital to the national security of Canada that the country’s intelligence services say that their use is likely to undermine the sovereignty and the security of Canada, according to the same documents.
According to an assessment by the Communications Security Establishment and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), Cameron Ortis, who was Director General of the RCMP’s National Intelligence Coordination Center, stole information that, if it was reportedly caused “high” damage to Canada and its allies.
“Analyzing the content of the reports could reasonably lead to a foreign intelligence agency drawing important conclusions about the targets, techniques, methods and capabilities of Allied and Canadian intelligence services,” reads the documents.
This information is among the best protected of national security, regardless of the government’s standard, and touches the heart of Canada’s sovereignty and security.
Extract from documents consulted by CBC
A possible leak of these documents could undermine Canada’s relations with its allies, according to the documents.
Mr. Ortis’s apartment “secretly searched”
Apart from “highly classified” information, a leak could reveal sources of sensitive information and the methods used, “which would have serious consequences”.
“The loss of such information could undermine the confidence of our foreign partners,” says CSIS in its assessment.
We also learn that Mr. Ortis’ apartment was “secretly searched” last month, which led to the discovery of several handwritten notes including instructions on how to erase metadata from documents in PDF.
About 25 documents were “purged to erase identification data,” according to the analysis consulted in part by CBC.
Mr. Ortis would also be indebted for $90,000.
Ortis, 47, appeared in court last Friday to answer seven charges, including unauthorized disclosure of operational information, breach of trust and unauthorized use of a computer as part of his duties.
According to the indictment, the charges alleged occurred between January 1, 2015 and the day of his arrest last Thursday.
Some of the charges against him relate to violations of the Protection of Information Act, which is generally invoked in cases of spying involving foreign powers or terrorist groups.
If found guilty, Ortis faces a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison.
Serving the RCMP since 2007, Ortis is a specialist in Southeast Asia, strategic infrastructure and digital robots.
According to CBC News, to the extent that Ortis’ work was related to national security operations, several federal departments had to conduct internal damage audits related to the arrest of this man.
Yolonda Kerr is a general assignment reporter at The Grand Newsstand. She has covered sports, entertainment and many other beats in her journalism career, and has lived in San Francisco for more than 8 years. Yolonda has appeared periodically on national television shows and has been published in (among others) NPR, Politico, The Atlantic, Harper’s, Wired.com, Vice and Salon.com.