Saturday, February 2, 2013

Our Russian Spy and Sagging Pants

WHAT IS IMPORTANT THIS WEEK

(so many things, so little substance - in no particular order)                                         


1) In a shocking turn of events, Manitoba is in for another six weeks of winter. Manitoba Merv, a golf club cover, acting as a groundhog hand-puppet who  resides at Oak Hammock Marsh, interrupted his slumber Saturday morning and was able to see his shadow, despite suffering from the handicap of being an inanimate object. We have to use a puppet because our live groundhogs hibernate and don't talk.



2) The Canadian penny becomes history on Feb. 4th as part of Canada's Economic Action Plan in its own web site and Department of Finance Canada Eliminating the Penny Web portal.  As Canada's Minister of Finance explained it, "The penny is a currency without any currency,” and they “take up too much space on our dressers at home” and take up “far too much time for small businesses trying to grow and create jobs.” It is always nice to have a clearly thought out explanation.

4) The Ikea monkey continues to be a regular news item (appearing in Saturday's Winnipeg Free Press). The Idle No More movement did not make it into our Saturday paper although it did make CBC news on Jan 28 with its demonstrations nationwide to mark the sitting of Parliament. Again, the monkey wins.

4) Canada is slowly reacting to the "Sagging Pants" syndrome appearing in society and schools. Obama's reaction in 2008 to the anti-sagging-pants ordinances being suggested in several states at that time was, as are most of his responses, very common sense and honest:
     "Here's my attitude: I think passing a law about people wearing sagging pants is a waste of time . . . There are some issues that we face that you don't have to pass a law [against], but that doesn't mean folks can't have some sense and some respect for other people. And, you know, some people might not want to see your underwear — I'm one of them."
     In 2009, county judge Laura Johnson in USA ruled that the ban was unconstitutional, and that the baggy pants trend is protected by "freedom of choice and liberties guaranteed under the 14th Amendment".

    I was frequently reminded of saggy pants a couple of weeks ago when I was in New Orleans (now often referred to as "NOLA"). I accidentally discovered a fellow with a short shirt and sagging pants which answered my recurring question of, "how can they stay up?" I had been thinking of Velcro, but it turns out that there are pant garters available at a reasonable cost. And it leaves your hands free for other activities other than holding your pants up.


CANADA ACTS TO DEAL WITH A RUSSIAN SPY
(after six years)

       Sub-Lt. Jeffrey Paul Delisle first came to the attention of the RCMP in a letter from the FBI
 in the United States on Dec. 2, 2011. It is now Feb 2013 and he has pleaded guilty in a Halifax court to breach of trust and two counts of passing information to a foreign entity between July 2007 and Jan. 13, 2011. His two-day sentencing hearing began Jan. 31, 2013
    
     When the FBI tipped off the Mounties, Delisle was the threat assessment officer for the Canadian navy based in Trinity on the East Coast. His job came with a Level 3 top secret security classification — the second highest possible — that gave him access to secret information gathered by the CIA, the FBI, CSIS, and British, Australian and New Zealand intelligence services.
    But the warrants show that Delisle's top secret security clearance had lapsed before he was transferred to Trinity in August 2011. The transfer came after Delisle was promoted to an officer, giving him access to more classified material. "Jeffrey Delisle's security clearance is Level 3 — TOP SECRET and is currently being updated. The last information request made to approve this clearance was completed on March 22, 2006," the warrants state.
    The Defence Department has confirmed to CBC that Level 3 security classifications are supposed to be updated every five years. Delisle's should have undergone the rigorous security process in March 2011, five months before he moved to Trinity. 

    But that check never happened, and the warrants don't explain why.

 A brief TIME LINE of relevant events


2006 - Delisle begins working at the chief of defence intelligence office in Ottawa.
2007 - Delisle starts a stint at the strategic joint staff division in Ottawa.
        - July 6 according to the RCMP, Delisle first breaches a trust or communicates safeguarded 
           information. The Mounties have yet to elaborate on the details of this breach.
        - Delisle was working on a system called the Stone Ghost, said CBC reporter Rob Gordon,
          who  reviewed court documents related to the case. "It's a computer system that links the 
          five eyes".
          The five eyes are the United States, Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
          All their information is shared on the "Stone Ghost" computer.
       - He would go to work every time with a thumb drive and download reams of information,
          which he would then make available to the Russians on a monthly basis by copying
          information onto a common email account as a "draft" which the Russians would log onto
         and then read.
          There were no email records because no emails were sent - just read as "draft". 
2011 August - Delisle joins HMCS Trinity, an intelligence facility at the naval dockyard in Halifax
          that tracks vessels entering and exiting Canadian waters via satellites, drones and
          underwater devices. The centre is a multinational base with access to secret data from
          NATO countries.
        December - Delisle's house is raided as part of the investigation by the military and the RCMP.
2012 Jan. 13 - According to the RCMP, this is the date that Delisle last breached a trust or
         communicated safeguarded information.
         Jan. 14-15 - Delisle is arrested by the RCMP.  He is charged with breach of trust and
         communicating safeguarded information to a foreign entity without lawful authority. Delisle is
         the first person charged under Section 16(1) of the Security of Information Act.
         Jan. 23- The military evacuates HMCS Trinity in order to search the naval communications
         and surveillance centre for evidence of espionage or devices meant to leak information to the
        outside. In a separate development, Delisle’s lawyer, Cameron MacKeen, quits the case. He
        does not explain why, or whether his ties to the Conservative Party and Peter MacKay
        influenced his decision. Delisle retains his new lawyer, Mike Taylor, on Feb. 27.
 2012 Oct. 10 -In a surprise move, Delisle pleaded guilty to all three charges. His two-day
          sentencing hearing begins Jan. 31, 2013.
2013 Jan. 31 -Deslisle's sentencing hearing will begin in a Nova Scotia provincial court.
         The Security of Information Act lays out an array of breaches, ranging from threatening the
         safety of the Forces to selling software and the technical details of operations. The Criminal
         Code charge can net a five-year prison sentence, and convictions under the Security of
         Information  Act can lead to life in prison.


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