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A Rare Case: Canadian Navy Officer Pleads Guilty To Selling Secrets To Russians

Canada is not used to high profile spy cases. But today there is news that the country has tried its first successful case using the Security of Information Act. And it's quite the case.

The CBC reports that a Navy sub lieutenant pleaded guilty to selling secrets to Russia. Canadian Forces Sub-Lt. Jeffrey Paul Delisle, the CBC reports, simply walked into the Russian Embassy in Ottawa and offered to work for them.

For years, Delisle used a thumb drive to pass on sensitive intelligence to the Russians. Delisle worked on Stone Ghost, an information sharing system for the "Five Eyes," otherwise known as the United States, Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

One thing to keep in mind is that most of the reporting on this story is based on unnamed government officials and most of the testimony has been kept out of the public record because it is secret.

The CBC adds:

"He would go to work every time with a thumb drive and download reams of information, which he would then send to the Russians on a monthly basis. This went on for years and years and years.

"He was paid between $2,800 and $3,000 a month for the information.

"In 2009, when Delisle wanted to stop dealing with the Russians, they sent him a picture of his daughter walking to school in Halifax."

The Globe and Mail has a long narrative about the case. It points out that the case "eroded relations with Canada's allies and reduced the chances that these other nations would share vital information with Ottawa."

"His superiors at Trinity, the top-secret naval intelligence facility in Halifax opined that the espionage could push Canada's relations with allied intelligence organizations 'back to the Stone Age,'" The Globe and Mail reports.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Delisle will be sentenced in January and he could face a life sentence.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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