OTTAWA — Workers preparing the former Nortel complex as the new home for the Department of National Defence have discovered electronic eavesdropping devices, prompting new fears about the security of the facility.
It’s not clear whether the devices were recently planted or left over from an industrial espionage operation when Nortel occupied the complex.
Asked for details about the listening devices and whether they were still functioning, the DND responded with a statement to the Citizen that it takes security at its installations seriously.
“The Department of National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces cannot provide any information regarding specific measures and tests undertaken to secure a location or facility for reasons of national security,” noted an email from DND spokeswoman Carole Brown. “The DND/CAF must maintain a safe and secure environment at all of its facilities, in order to maintain Canada’s security posture at home and abroad.”
Recently released DND documents, however, indicate that concerns about the security surrounding the former Nortel campus at 3500 Carling Ave. were raised last year.
A briefing document for then Defence Minister Peter MacKay warned that the public announcement the DND was moving into the complex before it could be properly secured created a major problem. “This not only raises the level of difficulty of verifying appropriate security safeguards in the future, it will probably dramatically increase security costs and cause delays to reach full operational capability,” MacKay was told in April 2012 by Canadian Forces security officers.
The briefing note was released under the Access to Information law.