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Trudeau reassures allies after top spy official charged with leaks

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OTTAWA: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday sought to reassure Canada’s allies over security after a senior police intelligence officer was accused of stealing highly classified materials that, if released, could be “potentially devastating.” Cameron Ortis served as the director-general of national intelligence coordination for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) before his arrest last Thursday.


The next day he was formally charged with accessing secrets and unauthorised communication of special operational information.


Trudeau, campaigning for re-election, told reporters at a small train station in St John’s, Newfoundland that Canadian officials had reached out to allies about the security breach.


“We’re working with them to reassure them, but we want to ensure that everyone understands that we’re taking this situation very seriously,” he said.


A senior police intelligence officer, Ortis was undone by US authorities’ discovery of an internal police document in criminal hands, said Canadian media.


The daily Globe and Mail said US authorities discovered in 2018 the RCMP document on the seized laptop of a Vancouver businessman with ties to organised crime, triggering the investigation that led to Ortis.


Ortis had reportedly e-mailed Phantom Secure Communications founder and key administrator Vincent Ramos in 2018, to offer him “valuable” information, said public broadcaster CBC.


Ramos, whose company police estimate made more than $80 million selling encrypted mobile phones to drug traffickers and money launderers between 2008 and 2018, pleaded guilty to racketeering in an American court in May and was sentenced to nine years in prison.


The RCMP looked at anyone with access to the internal document, eventually focusing on Ortis. — AFP


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