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Justin Trudeau reassures allies over intelligence breach

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday sought to reassure Canada’s allies after a senior police intelligence officer was accused of stealing highly classified materials that, if released, could be “potentially devastating.”

Cameron Ortis served as the director general of national intelligence coordination for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) before his arrest last Thursday.

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The next day he was formally charged with accessing secrets and unauthorized communication of special operational information.

Trudeau, campaigning for re-election, told reporters in St. John’s, Newfoundland that Canadian officials had reached out to allies about the security breach.

“We’re working with them to reassure them, but we want to ensure that everyone understands that we’re taking this situation very seriously,” he said.

RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki echoed the Canadian leader, telling a news conference that intelligence sharing was continuing as normal, and that investigators are still assessing the damage caused by the security breach.

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“We recognize that these allegations, if proven true, are extremely unsettling,” she said.

“I would definitely imagine that there is concern amongst our Five Eyes community, as well as within Canada.”

A senior police intelligence officer, Ortis was undone when the RCMP and FBI discovered an internal police document in criminal hands, Lucki said.

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She would not confirm, however, a report by the Globe and Mail that the document was found on the seized laptop of a Vancouver businessman with ties to organized crime.

Ortis had reportedly emailed Phantom Secure Communications founder and key administrator Vincent Ramos in 2018, to offer him “valuable” information, said public broadcaster CBC.

Ramos, whose company police estimate made more than $80 million selling encrypted cell phones to drug traffickers and money launderers between 2008 and 2018, admitted racketeering in an American court in May and was sentenced to nine years in prison.

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The RCMP looked at anyone with access to the internal document, eventually focusing on Ortis.

– ‘Potential risk’ to allies –

GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File / Frazer HarrisonForeign organizations may have been exposed to the theft of secrets from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police National Intelligence Coordination Centre

Ortis “had access to information the Canadian intelligence community possessed,” Lucki said.

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“He also had access to intelligence coming from our allies both domestically and internationally,” she said.

Lucki did not specify which foreign organizations may have been exposed to the theft of secrets, which allegedly took place between 2016 and 2019, though Canada is a member of the “Five Eyes” intelligence alliance with Australia, New Zealand, Britain and the United States.

No additional suspects have been identified in the “internal corruption” case, she said.

Ortis had access to material that could cause a “high” degree of damage to the country and its allies if released, with “potentially devastating” consequences, the CBC said, citing a report by Canadian intelligence services.

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“Analysis of the contents of the reports could reasonably lead a foreign intelligence agency to draw significant conclusions about allied and Canadian intelligence targets, techniques, methods and capabilities,” the report said.

“This type of information is among the most highly protected of national security assets, by any government standard, and goes to the heart of Canada’s sovereignty and security,” it went on.

The Globe and Mail reported Saturday that Ortis’s arrest was linked to a major investigation into the laundering of stolen Russian funds.

Ortis, 47, as recently as August was said to be overseeing a probe into whether some of the money was funneled through Canada.

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According to the newspaper, the corruption investigation was looking at a $230-million fraud scheme allegedly run by senior Russian interior ministry and tax officials.

Ortis, who has worked for the RCMP since 2007, faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted of the five charges brought against him under Canada’s criminal code and its Security of Information Act.


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Michael Moore predicts Mick Mulvaney will get into Heaven after confessing Trump’s quid pro quo

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Academy Award-winning filmmaker Michael Moore predicted acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney will ascend to Heaven in the afterlife during a Friday interview on MSNBC's "The Beat" with Ari Melber.

The host played a clip of Mulvaney admitting Trump's quid pro quo while seeking foreign election assistance from Ukraine.

"This man obviously is going to be admitted into Heaven," Moore said. "You know, he told the truth."

"If there was a movie version of this, somebody stuck him with a needle just before he walked out onto the stage there, a truth serum needle, and he just went on and on saying, 'Yeah, that’s what we do. Yeah, of course.' Essentially admitting there is a quid pro quo. In fact, there are many quid pro quos."

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Trump campaign has 12-person ‘War Room’ toiling to fight the impeachment inquiry: report

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While the White House has bragged about refusing to start a "war room" to deal with the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump's administration, his campaign is footing the bill for a 12-person operation, the LA Times reported Friday.

“Some of you have criticized us for not having a war room — OK? — which we don’t by the way,” acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told reporters.

“You don’t have a war room when you haven’t done anything wrong," he added.

By that logic, Trump's 2020 re-election campaign may fear the president did something wrong.

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‘I don’t think he knows what he’s doing’: Ex-Trump advisor rips the ‘cascading crisis’ of his ‘strategic disaster’

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President Donald Trump received harsh criticism from a former top Middle East advisor for the ethnic cleansing campaign Turkey is waging against the Kurds in Syria.

MSNBC's Chuck Todd interviewed Brett McGurk, the former special presidential envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL.

"The truth of the matter is when President Trump announced to the world last December that we were leaving Syria and he arbitrarily cut our force reportedly in half, which is already a small force, we lost all of our leverage and influence," McGurk argued. "And he really threw it out the window on this call on October 6th."

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