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

COVID-19 business listing: Hope and area

Find out which stores are open and how to support those who are feeling the effects of the pandemic

Kelowna trial for three men charged in Hope murder delayed 11 months

The trial for the alleged killers of Michael Bonin has been moved to May 2021, was supposed to begin this month

VIDEO: RCMP Emergency Response Team at known drug house in Chilliwack

Armed officers respond to reports of shots, bring in ERT, K-9 unit and spike belt

Highway 1 closed after body found north of Yale

Coroners Service reportedly on the scene, next Drive BC update at noon

Nurses acknowledged with new scholarship at UFV

Jackie and Dick Newton’s daughter donates to honour nurses who cared for her parents

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

Sex offender Danny Depew sentenced in Abbotsford to 2.5 more years

Depew still has child-luring charges before the courts in Ontario

As two B.C. offices see outbreaks, Dr. Henry warns tests don’t replace other measures

Physical distancing, PPE and sanitizing remain key to reduce COVID-19 spread

Golden Ears park expected to be busy the first camping weekend of season

Campgrounds expected to be full or close to full

Greater Victoria drive-thru window smashed after man receives burger without mustard

Greater Victoria Wendy’s staff call police after man allegedly rips Plexiglas barrier off window

Abbotsford Airshow launching virtual Aerospace Camp

Online S.T.E.M. open to students aged 10 to 15, starts later this summer

Aldergrove man, 60, can ‘finally afford to retire’ after winning $24M in lottery

Ron Cumiskey plans to use the hefty Lotto 6/49 winnings to stay close to home and his daughters

Murder charge upgraded in George Floyd case, 3 other cops charged

Floyd’s family and protesters have repeatedly called for criminal charges against all four officers

Teen cashier praised after paying grocery bill for Aldergrove woman

Otter Co-op’s Brooklyn Roberts asked to pay Tamara Smith’s $44 grocery bill after debit card declined

Most Read