Naval officer was paid for selling secrets

A Halifax navy intelligence officer convicted of espionage was paid nearly $72,000 for selling secrets to the Russians, a provincial court heard Thursday as a two-day sentencing hearing for Sub-Lt. Jeffrey Paul Delisle got underway.

Crown attorney Lyne Decarie told the court that Delisle received 23 payments totalling $71,817 from 2007 until 2011 for his services.

Decarie said Delisle, 41, who sat in the courtroom alongside his defence lawyer wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt, walked into the Russian Embassy in Ottawa in July 2007 to offer his services for money.

She said Russian agents told him to provide a "manuscript" on the 10th of each month with information pertaining to Russia.

Decarie said Delisle came under the suspicion of the Canada Border Services Agency after returning to the country from a trip to Brazil in September 2011. He had no tan, little awareness of the tourist sites in Rio de Janeiro, three prepaid credit cards, thousands of dollars in U.S. currency and a handwritten note with an email address, Decarie said.

She outlined how Delisle acquired and then transferred classified information to the Russians by searching references to Russia, copying them onto a floppy disc on his secure system at work, took it to an unsecure system and pasted it onto a memory stick.

He then took the information home and copied it into an email address that he shared with his Russian agent so he never had to send the email, Decarie said.

After Decarie outlined her case, Judge Patrick Curran asked Delisle to stand. He was asked if he had read the agreed statement of facts, agreed with it and provided the information voluntarily.

To all of the questions, he quietly replied, "Yes, your honour."

Later, Michelle Tessier, director general of internal security at the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, told the court "a lot of resources" have been diverted to reassuring Canada's allies that their information is safe.

She testified that she has been dealing with the so-called Five Eyes group, which includes Canada, Great Britain, the United States, New Zealand and Australia, who she said have decided to "increase the safeguarding of information" following Delisle's actions. She didn't elaborate.

Delisle's crimes could mean that CSIS receives less intelligence and, at the extreme, lives could be lost, she said.

He pleaded guilty in October to one charge of breach of trust and two charges of passing information to a foreign entity that could harm Canada's interests. He is the first person to be sentenced under Canada's Security of Information Act.

The breach of trust charge carries a maximum sentence of five years, while the other charges carry life sentences.

Delisle joined the navy as a reservist in 1996, became a member of the regular forces in 2001 and was promoted to an officer rank in 2008. He was arrested last January.

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