RCMP provide update on 'unsettling' arrest of intelligence official

TORONTO -- The Mounties revealed more details Tuesday about the investigation that led to charges against one of their senior intelligence officials Tuesday.

Commissioner Brenda Lucki said the RCMP was supporting an FBI investigation last year when they uncovered possible “internal corruption.”

“We took immediate action and launched an investigation into the alleged activities. Our focus has been to diligently pursue this investigation, which led to the arrest,” she said. Cameron Jay Ortis, 47, was charged under the rarely used Security of Information Act.

Lucki wouldn’t comment on “theories.” “The information in the public domain is speculative,” she said, adding it could be harmful to the investigation. “We also need to be mindful of the privacy of the accused and his right to a fair trial.”

Ortis, who was director general of the National Intelligence Co-ordination Centre, was arrested last week and charged under three sections of the act. He is accused of accessing classified information and possessing a device used for secret communications. Two additional charges under the Criminal Code relate to an alleged breach of trust and unauthorized access of a computer.

None of the allegations against him have been proven in court.

When CTV News Vancouver visited his parents’ residence in Abbotsford, B.C., a woman on the intercom said “no comment” when asked to speak about Ortis.

A longtime friend of the man expressed shock at the news, saying that Ortis could have pursued higher pay in the private sector but chose to stay with the RCMP. "It just doesn't make sense,” said Chris Parry. "He is smarter than anyone you will ever meet and was dedicated to doing good.”

Commissioner Lucki said Monday that the arrest has "shaken many people throughout the RCMP, particularly in federal policing."

"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," she said. "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.”

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau stayed relatively mum on the subject during an election campaign stop Monday in Waterloo, Ont. “I can assure you that this is something that the responsible authorities are engaged with at the highest levels, including with our allies,” said Trudeau on the campaign trail.

Ortis, who appeared in court last week via video link, has a second court date Friday.

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