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Ortis arrest 'unsettling,' amid RCMP damage assessment, says top Mountie

Last Updated Sep 16, 2019 at 8:29 am PDT

RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki sits for an interview in Ottawa on Friday, May 4, 2018. Lucki says the Mounties are assessing and trying to mitigate the possible damage that may have been caused in light of the arrest of one of its senior intelligence officials. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Summary

The head of the RCMP says espionage and fraud charges against a senior employee have shaken the force

RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki reminds the charges have not yet been proven in court and there needs to be due process

Cameron Ortis was arrested and is charged under three sections of the Security of Information Act

OTTAWA — RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki says the Mounties are assessing and trying to mitigate the possible damage that may have been caused in light of the arrest of one of its senior intelligence officials.

Lucki’s says in a statement that the national police force has been shaken by last week’s arrest of 47-year-old Cameron Jay Ortis, who is charged under three sections of the Security of Information Act.

Ortis also faces two charges under the Criminal Code, including breach of trust, for allegedly trying to disclose classified information to a foreign entity or terrorist group.

Related video: RCMP official charged under national security laws

Lucki calls the allegations unsettling, if true, and confirms that Ortis was the director general of the RCMP’s National Intelligence Co-ordination Centre, after starting his career with the Mounties in 2007.

“By virtue of the positions he held, Mr. Ortis had access to information the Canadian intelligence community possessed,” she says in a statement. “He also had access to intelligence coming from our allies both domestically and internationally. This level of access is appropriate given the positions he held.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had little to say about the arrest today at a campaign stop in Waterloo, Ont., but says the government is engaged at high levels on the matter, including with its allies.