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RCMP investigating leaks of foreign interference allegations

The RCMP says it has launched an investigation into violations of national security information laws related to media leaks of allegations of Chinese foreign interference.

“The RCMP has launched an investigation into violations of the Security of Information Act (SOIA) related to recent media reports,” a federal police spokesperson said in a statement to CTV News on Monday.

“This investigation is not focused on any security agency. As the RCMP is investigating these incidents, there will be no further comment on this matter at this time,” said RCMP Chief Robin Percival.

Formerly known as the Canadian Official Secrets Act, The Information Security Act outlines both the expectations surrounding the legal obligations of federal government employees to protect classified operational information and the penalties for crimes such as unauthorized disclosure of such information.

For example, all CSIS employees are bound by confidentiality at all times when it comes to their access to classified information.

During committee testimony on the matter last week, CSIS Director David Vigneault told lawmakers that an investigation into the leak was underway by CSIS and its “partners” into the sources of the leak, noting that there were internal mechanisms for employees of the spy agency to speak out. their concerns about how information is handled.

Vigneault’s testimony came as part of an ongoing probe into foreign interference, sparked by months of media reports, including unnamed CSIS sources citing China’s attempts to interfere in the 2019 and 2021 elections by targeting some lawmakers.

CTV News has not independently verified the report.

The RCMP said it was not investigating the allegations raised by the report, citing a lack of “actionable intelligence” that would prompt a criminal investigation.

Federal security and intelligence officials, however, have been outspoken about the national security risks posed by the leak.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s national security and intelligence adviser, Jody Thomas, called the leaks “very troubling” and said the leaks jeopardize Canada’s national security and put employees and those under investigation at “unnecessary risk.”

In a subsequent statement to CTV News, CSIS said it “takes any allegations of security breaches, including unauthorized disclosure of classified information, very seriously.”

“CSIS takes appropriate action following any suspected unauthorized disclosure of classified information. CSIS is currently working with other Canadian government agencies and organizations to investigate these latest allegations, and the government will take appropriate action in response to any unauthorized information discovered. – said CSIS spokesman Eric Balsam.

Balsam said CSIS is also taking “additional proactive and precautionary homeland security actions.”

With files from CTV News’ Caroline O’Neill

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