‘Absolutely not’: Ex-official accused of leaking secrets says he didn’t betray RCMP
The Canadian PressNews rcmp
By Jim Bronskill in Ottawa
A former RCMP intelligence official accused of leaking secrets has told a jury he didn’t commit a crime or betray the national police force.
Cameron Jay Ortis testified in Ontario Superior Court that he had the authority to do what he did in the name of fighting threats to the security of Canada.
Reporters and the general public were excluded from the courtroom for Ortis’s testimony Nov. 2, but a redacted transcript has now been released.
The Crown says Ortis anonymously sent classified material in 2015 to people who were of investigative interest to the RCMP.
Ortis, 51, has pleaded not guilty to violating the Security of Information Act by revealing secrets to three individuals and trying to do so in a fourth instance, as well as breach of trust and a computer-related offence.
The Crown argues Ortis lacked authority to disclose classified material and that he was not doing so as part of some sort of undercover operation.
Mark Ertel, a lawyer for Ortis, has told the jury the former intelligence official was acting largely on secret information passed to him by a foreign agency and that he aimed to protect Canada from imminent threats.
Under questioning from Ertel, Ortis said his mission was always “to meet the threats to the security of Canada head on.”
“Did you betray the RCMP?” Ertel asked.
“Absolutely not,” Ortis replied.
The defence lawyer also asked Ortis if he regretted his actions.
“Well, I don’t make decisions based on my career or career prospects, but I couldn’t have envisioned or imagined that all of this would transpire,” Ortis said.
“So, it’s — of course, in some sense I regret everything that’s happened over the last four years to everyone, but what I did was not wrong.”
Ortis was taken into custody in September 2019 and several electronic devices were seized from his Ottawa apartment.
He told the court his arrest was “devastating” for his career and that his public reputation has been completely destroyed.
Ortis said his family, as well as friends from the “old days” in British Columbia where he lived and studied, have stood by him, “but friends and colleagues in Ottawa and professional contacts have not.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 10, 2023.
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