The Canadian government has done everything it can to play down the espionage damage done this country and our allies by naval Sub-Lt. Jeffrey Delisle.
But the case continues to rumble through the Western intelligence world as one of the biggest spying debacles possibly in decades.
It also says a lot about the bizarre nature of global espionage today when the victims play down their defeats in order to avoid harming relations with those who would filch secrets.
Ottawa barely whispered its discontent to Moscow after Delisle was arrested near the end of 2011.
That was after Russian Military Intelligence (the GRU) used Delisle over four years to buy, at bargain prices, some of the most closely guarded defence and intelligence secrets of Canada and its closest allies. Following Delisle's arrest, six Russian embassy officials were so calmly requested to go home that the smiling Russian ambassador could pooh-pooh the whole business as insignificant.
"I have a deal with your people to keep quiet," Ambassador Georgiy Mamedov told a reporter when news of departures came out.
Well, true enough. Public Safety Minister Vic Toews wouldn't even comment when asked about the scandal, and the government has maintained mostly a gloomy silence about the matter ever since.
Yet the military and former intelligence officials that I know shiver in horror when they speak of this case, and even the normally restrained CSIS calls the Delisle damage "severe and irreparable."
More here: http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2013/01/31/f-vp-stewart-espionage.html