RCMP Head Says Ortis Arrest ‘Unsettling’ Amid Damage Assessment

September 16, 2019 Updated: September 16, 2019

OTTAWA—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, RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki said on Sept. 16.

In a statement, Lucki said last week’s arrest of 47−year−old Cameron Jay Ortis, who is charged under three sections of the Security of Information Act has “shaken many people throughout the RCMP, particularly in federal policing.”

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.

“While these allegations, if proven true, are extremely unsettling, Canadians and our law enforcement partners can trust that our priority continues to be the integrity of the investigations and the safety and security of the public we serve,” said Lucki.

She also confirmed that Ortis was director general of the RCMP’s National Intelligence Co−ordination Centre, after starting his career with the Mounties in 2007.

Ortis had access to domestic and international intelligence, including information coming from Canada’s allies, she said.

Ortis has also worked in the RCMP’S Operations Research and National Security Criminal Investigations branches, she said.

“By virtue of the positions he held, Mr. Ortis had access to information the Canadian intelligence community possessed. 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,” Lucki said.

“This is an ongoing investigation and we are assessing the impacts of the alleged activities as information becomes available,” she added.

“We are aware of the potential risk to agency operations of our partners in Canada and abroad and we thank them for their continued collaboration. We assure you that mitigation strategies are being put in place as required.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had little to say on Sept. 16 when asked about the impact on Canada’s counterparts in the Five Eyes, the intelligence group that is comprised of the United States, Britain, Australia, and New Zealand.

“I think people will understand I can’t make any public comments on this, but I can assure you this is something that the responsible authorities are engaged with at the highest levels, including with our allies,” Trudeau said at a campaign stop in Waterloo, Ont.

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