A CANADIAN spy who compromised Australian intelligence information has pleaded guilty to espionage, having reportedly sold secrets to Russia for $3000 a month.
Canadian naval officer Jeffrey Paul Delisle’s guilty plea in Nova Scotia’s supreme court on Wednesday has ensured that the Canadian, United States and Australian governments will not be embarrassed by a jury trial that would have revealed details of one of the worst Western security breaches since the end of the Cold War.
Delisle’s sale of top-secret intelligence to Russian agents was the subject of high-level consultation between the Australian and Canadian governments last January and was discussed at a secret international conference of Western security agencies at Queenstown, New Zealand, in February.
Fairfax Media reported in July that Australian security sources had privately acknowledged the massive security breach compromised Western intelligence information and capabilities.
The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation was also briefed on the case through liaison with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.
Sub-Lieutenant Delisle worked at the Royal Canadian Navy’s Trinity intelligence and communications centre at Halifax, Nova Scotia. A naval intelligence and security analyst, he had access to a top-secret computer network code-named Stone Ghost that connects the defence intelligence agencies of the US, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Australian security sources say much of the information Delisle sold was top-secret signals intelligence collected by the five agencies.
Delisle’s guilty plea means that few details of the espionage case have or will be made public.
However, newly released information from Delisle’s bail hearing in January has revealed that facing chronic financial difficulties, he began a four-year espionage career by walking into the Russian Embassy in Ottawa in 2007. Wearing civilian clothes, Delisle displayed his Canadian military identification badge and asked to meet someone from GRU, the Russian military intelligence service.
October 12, 2012
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