World

Director Of RCMP Intelligence Charged With Violating National Security

CBC

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) have arrested and charged the director general of its own intelligence unit under the Security of Information Act that covers espionage activities.

In an emailed statement to CTV News, the RCMP say that Cameron Ortis has been charged with violating three portions of the Security Of Information Act and two parts of the Criminal Code of Canada. The Security of Information Act covers all acts contrary to national security, including spying for a foreign power.

Acting Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Commissioner Daniel Dubeau takes part in a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, November 28, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

Acting Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Commissioner Daniel Dubeau takes part in a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Nov. 28, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

“The charges stem from activities alleged to have occurred during his tenure as an RCMP employee,” reads the statement that adds the investigation into the allegations continues and the RCMP will not be providing any additional comment right now. (RELATED: Trudeau Says It’s ‘Insulting And Unacceptable’ For Trump To Deem Canada A Security Risk)

Crown prosecutor John MacFarlane provided further details when Ortis made his first court appearance Friday afternoon.  “In broad strokes, the allegations are that he obtained, stored, processed sensitive information, we believe with the intent to communicate it to people that he shouldn’t be communicating it to,” he said.

The charge relating to the latest of Ortis’ alleged activities indicates that between Sept. 2018 and Sept. 2019, the suspect possessed “a device apparatus or software useful for concealing the content of information or surreptitiously communicating, obtaining or retaining information … ”

Global News Ottawa bureau chief Mercedes Stephenson described the arrest as “the biggest national security breach the country has ever seen … ”

Stephenson related that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau refused to even acknowledge questions about the arrest and the charges against Ortis. “PM kept walking and shaking hands,” she tweeted.

Later, Trudeau briefly spoke to a media scrum about the charges and said, “I was, of course, made aware of the arrest,” he said. “I can assure you the authorities are taking this extremely seriously.” He would not offer further details. (RELATED: Canadian Intelligence Service Destroyed Records On Pierre Trudeau)

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to reporters from the roof of the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C., June 20, 2019. CTV News screenshot.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to reporters from the roof of the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C., June 20, 2019. CTV News screenshot.

Ortis is facing a total of seven charges for alleged activities that began in January 2015.

According to CTV News, as director general of RCMP intelligence, Ortis was a trusted aide to former RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson who just retired in 2017.

National security analyst Stephanie Carvin  told CTV News Channel that the charges are noteworthy.

“It suggests this person may have tried or succeeded in communicating details about the way the RCMP may have been trying to go about a criminal investigation,” she said.