Tag Archives: United States Third Fleet

The Defence Department Investigates Leak that Was Published in US Navy Press Release

Well this would be funny if it wasn’t so ridiculous

The office of Defence Minister Peter MacKay requested an investigation by the military’s elite investigative arm last year after an Ottawa Citizen journalist published information contained in a press release.

MacKay’s office alleged that the information was the result of a leak, even though Citizen reporter David Pugliese identified on four occasions that the details came from a U.S. Navy news release.

According to documents released under access to information, MacKay’s office requested that the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (NIS), which is called in for serious crimes or sensitive matters, track down how Pugliese obtained information, setting in motion a month-long probe.

Pugliese, the Citizen’s defence reporter, provided details of Canada’s involvement in RIMPAC, the world’s largest international maritime exercise, in a May 10, 2012 item on his Defence Watch blog, repeatedly attributing the information to the U.S. Navy.

Despite that, the NIS conducted a thorough “investigative assessment,” including a search of email traffic through DND’s firewall, in an effort to identify the source of the “leak” before concluding that no offence had occurred.

Citizen editor-in-chief Gerry Nott said the conduct of the NIS “would be humorous if it wasn’t outrageous. For investigators to be tied up chasing a phantom leak of publicly available information speaks to both paranoia and incompetence.’

Not only was the information “leaked” by the U.S. Navy in a press release, it wasn’t confidential.

O’Brien also reported that Touchette was “aware there was no security classification or designation of the information and as such there was likely no offence present.”

The following day, O’Brien interviewed Brigadier-General Sylvain Bedard, DND’s director general of public affairs, who also told him there was likely no criminal or National Defence Act offence applicable in the case.

It gets better.

But the NIS wasn’t finished with the file quite yet. Three months later, on Sept. 11, 2012, Lieutenant-Colonel Brian Frei, the new commanding officer of NIS, briefed Bedard and two senior officials from MacKay’s office — Paxton and John MacDonell, MacKay’s chief of staff — on the results of the investigative assessment.

Frei summarized the results in a letter, saying documents provided by Touchette’s officials — including Pugliese’s blog item — “clearly identify his source of information … as a United States Third Fleet news release.” Pugliese, he said, “had ample information from which to extract and produce his subsequent news article.

“The only information that could be deemed to have been leaked is the fact that the Government of Canada’s news release had not yet been authorized for release,” Frei wrote.

Well like a lot of things in life, we will just blame the United States Third Fleet (which has 5 aircraft carrier groups under it’s command!).  In defence of Peter McKay, every military has stories like this and I am sure they come from over zealous political staffers that want to please the boss.  Still i find it funny that this ‘investigation’ would not die.  It really does make McKay look both bad and paranoid.