Intelligence director charged was aiding FBI probe at time of arrest: RCMP commissioner

Investigators came across documents that led the force to believe there could be a mole

FILE - RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki appears at a House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security in Ottawa on May 7, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)

Top Mountie Brenda Lucki says an RCMP employee charged with trying to disclose secret information was supporting a U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation probe before his arrest.

The RCMP commissioner, addressing the arrest of Cameron Jay Ortis in person for the first time, also says there is a lot of conjecture, speculation and false information swirling about the arrest.

Lucki says investigators came across documents during the joint FBI probe that led the force to believe there could be a mole, or some kind of “internal corruption.”

READ MORE: Intelligence official charged seemed to be ‘exemplar of discretion’: UBC professor

A sensitive-investigations team looked for months into possible leaks before the arrest last week of the 47-year-old Ortis, who faces charges under the Security of Information Act as well as two Criminal Code provisions for allegedly trying to disclose classified material to a foreign entity or terrorist group.

Lucki isn’t commenting on a possible motive, what foreign entity is involved, or what information Ortis had access to in his role as director general of the RCMP’s National Intelligence Co-ordination Centre.

The RCMP commissioner didn’t directly address media reports that Ortis’s arrest stemmed from the dismantling of a Canadian firm, Phantom Secure, that sold phones allowing uncrackable communication.

The FBI and international partners, including the RCMP, said in March 2018 that organized crime and drug-trafficking groups were dealt a blow by the takedown of the encrypted-communication service.

They said Phantom Secure purchased smartphones, removed all of the typical functionality — calling, texting, Internet, and GPS — and installed an encrypted e-mail system, so the phones could communicate only with each other.

If a customer was arrested, Phantom Secure destroyed the data on that phone, which is obstruction of justice under U.S. law, police said.

Lucki says the force is trying to assess and deal with the damage that might have been caused.

She also says the arrest should not be seen as a reflection on the work of the RCMP as a whole.

Ortis began his career with the Mounties in 2007 after earning a doctorate in political science.

The Canadian Press

READ MORE: Mounties lay secrets-law charges against one of their own

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Complaints filed against RCMP following two Gidimt’en members being turned away at police checkpoint

The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association helped two individuals file the complaints

Miscommunication led to three people turned away at pipeline checkpoint: RCMP

Mounties were installing new access procedures after checkpoint was set up for Coastal GasLink site

Hereditary chiefs call for UN intervention in CGL dispute

Hereditary chiefs have asked the UN to monitor RCMP, government and CGL actions on their territory

Pipeline at centre of B.C. conflict is creating jobs for First Nations: chief

All 20 elected band councils along the Coastal GasLink pipeline route have signed benefits agreements

Fashion Fridays: Look your best this year

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

B.C. pair ordered to pay $55,000 for oil tank discovered four years after selling home

Judge says defendants breached contract, despite being unaware of tank until basement flooded

Canada to give $25,000 to families of each Canadian who died in Iran plane crash

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also made it clear that Canada still expects Iran to compensate victims

Good Samaritan pays part of rent for B.C. woman facing eviction in can-collecting dispute

Zora Hlevnjak, 76, supplements her pension by collecting cans and receiving public donations

Oil and gas industry applauds top court’s dismissal of B.C.’s Trans Mountain case

The high court’s ruling Thursday removes one of the remaining obstacles for the project

Sub-zero B.C. weather freezes clothing in just 45 minutes

A local photographer decided to have some fun with the frosty weather before its gone

VIDEO: Missing cat reunited with Vancouver Island family after three months

‘It was like one day she was there, the next day she was gone,’ said owner

Special prosecutor to review Cranbrook toddler drowning case

Evidence disclosure at issue in the case of a woman sentenced for criminal negligence causing death

Most Read