The Canadian espionage case involving Sub-Lieutenant Jeffrey Delisle prompted high-level meetings between Canadian and Australian officials early this year, shortly after the officer’s arrest, according to a published report in Australia.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported Tuesday that the information allegedly leaked by SLt. Delisle compromised Australian intelligence information. Documents released to the newspaper under freedom of information legislation show that Louise Hand, the high commissioner to Canada, discussed the case with Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s national security adviser Stephen Rigby in January.
SLt. Delisle has been charged with passing state secrets to a foreign country and remains in custody in Halifax. The 41-year-old sailor last worked at Trinity, a Halifax naval intelligence hub.
The Globe and Mail has reported that the fallout from the case has damaged Ottawa’s intelligence-sharing relationships with key allies, including the United States.
The Morning Herald reported that the information SLt. Delisle allegedly sold was more highly classified than WikiLeaks cables and included “top secret signals intelligence collected by the ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence community of the U.S., Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.”
The Canadian government hasn’t said which country is alleged to have received secrets. Russia’s ambassador to Canada has said Moscow has an agreement with the Canadian government to “keep quiet” about any connection between his country and the spy charges.
The newspaper reported that Australian security sources told the Morning Herald that “Australian reporting was inevitably compromised.”
The RCMP have alleged the espionage began in 2007 and spanned a 4 1/2-year period, in locations “at or near” Ottawa, Kingston, Ont., Halifax, Bedford, N.S., “and elsewhere.”