Cameron Ortis Found Guilty of Espionage and Leaking Intelligence

In a landmark ruling, a former civilian member of Canada’s national police force, Cameron Ortis, has been found guilty of leaking government secrets to suspected criminals. The eight-week trial in Ontario brought to light the extent of Ortis’ betrayal as he shared sensitive information with organised crime figures. Despite Ortis’ claims of working secretly to safeguard the nation, the jury saw through his defenses and convicted him on six counts, including violating national security laws.

Cameron Ortis, who served as the director general of the National Intelligence Coordination Centre, was responsible for handling internal intelligence and classified information. Having gained a high-level security clearance since joining the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) as a civilian member in 2007, Ortis misused his position to leak sensitive data in 2015.

Prosecutors revealed that Ortis divulged information to three members of an international money-laundering ring and an individual named Vincent Ramos. The mobile security company run by Ramos had previous connections to drug traffickers and organized crime. Ortis allegedly sought financial compensation of C$27,429 from Ramos in exchange for sharing insider knowledge of police operations, although there is no evidence that he received any payments.

During his trial, Ortis claimed that he had received a tip from an unnamed foreign intelligence agency in 2014. In a closed-door session to protect sensitive information, Ortis testified that he conducted a covert operation to manipulate the underworld by enticing targets to adopt an encrypted email service that granted backdoor access to their communications for security agencies. He further alleged that moles within Canadian law enforcement agencies prevented him from sharing information about the individuals he was tracking.

However, prosecutors discredited Ortis’ narrative, accusing him of deliberately disseminating information without approval or informing his superiors. In their arguments, they highlighted the lack of documentation or records of Ortis’ supposed mission in RCMP archives. Prosecutor Judy Kliewer dismissed Ortis’ claims as an attempt to justify his criminal acts under the guise of a lofty and secret purpose.

The outcome of this trial signifies a significant test of Canada’s espionage laws and its ability to prosecute such cases. George Dolhai, representing the Public Prosecution Service Canada, stated that the verdict demonstrates that even those entrusted with handling the most sensitive information can be held accountable in an ordinary criminal court. This ruling establishes a critical precedent, reaffirming that no individual, regardless of their importance, is above the law when it comes to jeopardizing Canada’s security interests.