Nova Scotia

Halifax military police investigate possible intelligence breach

The discovery of more than a thousand secret documents in a Defence Department network drive that belonged to a Halifax web designer is not "nefarious" and didn't compromise sensitive information, according to Rear Admiral John Newton.

Military police allege web designer used Defence networks to improperly store secret files

Rear Admiral John Newton says no one has discussed the possibility of charges being laid against a web designer who allegedly improperly stored 1,066 secret Defence Department documents on a personal network drive. (CBC)

The discovery of more than a thousand secret documents in a Defence Department network drive that belonged to a Halifax web designer is not "nefarious" and didn't compromise sensitive information, according to Rear Admiral John Newton. 

On Sept. 1, 2015, Halifax dockyard information security officers reported to military police that 1,066 secret documents dated between 2004 and 2009 were found in the web designer's personal network drive during a routine security scan.

Two weeks later, military police filed a search warrant for two floors at a building located at Halifax's navy dockyard. 

Web designer was 'without malice'

Newton, commander of maritime forces in Atlantic Canada, says no higher level of investigation is required in this case because it's simply "the mishandling of information without malice." 

"We've looked at the human elements of the issue and the work of the person involved. It's a matter of imprudence while handling material but nothing more nefarious than that," Newton said. 

"This is a matter between the employer and the civilian implicated and those processes are still ongoing. Nobody has come to me to talk about charges." 

Newton said the scan that discovered the files was made a routine because of former sub.-lieutenant. Jeffrey Delisle, a navy intelligence officer who in 2013 was sentenced to 20 years in prison for copying secret computer files at HMCS Trinity and selling them to Russia between 2007 and 2012.

Web designer also worked at HMCS Trinity

As part of the search warrant, police seized six hard drives, a laptop, USB memory sticks, CDs, DVDs, and floppy disk drives from a Halifax navy dockyard building.

Court documents filed by military police says a web designer working for the Defence Department at HMCS Trinity has violated a section of the federal Security Information Act. (CBC)

They were looking for 1,086 secret documents and 11 confidential documents dated between 2004 and 2009, the warrant said. 

The search warrant alleges that the accused improperly used a computer belonging to the Defence Department, the Defence Wide Area Network (DWAN) and the Consolidated Secret Network Infrastructure (CSNI). 

"This is a security violation within the Security Information Act Section 3 (1)(d)," the warrant said. The web designer should have built the project on the DWAN first and then transferred his web page files to the CSNI to add top secret files after, the document said.

After the scan, the information security officers confirmed that the web designer worked at HMCS Trinity during the period the documents were alleged to have been improperly stored. 

HMCS Trinity is the centre of the navy's information gathering efforts, where data from military and civilian agencies, including police and border services, is accumulated. 


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