Streetwise Professor

April 22, 2012

No One Should Be Surprised That A Country Ruled By A Proud Chekist Operates By Chekist Rules

Filed under: History,Military,Russia — The Professor @ 1:16 pm

The pretense behind the Reset is belied by Russian truculence around the world, but most notably by the marked intensification of Russian intelligence operations.  Edward Lucas’s new book focuses on the relentless Russian espionage campaign being waged against the West under Putin.  An oped in yesterday’s WSJ tackles the same subject.  The “illegals” spy case of 2010-which Lucas argues forcefully was far more ominous than it was treated at the time-is the most prominent example of this.  But it is not the only one.

A case that hasn’t received much attention at all, but which should, is from Canada:

Sources familiar with a breaking spy saga in Halifax say Russian envoys were after military secrets from a Canadian forces member who worked at a highly secure naval operations centre here.

That information was substantiated Wednesday. It had been rumoured since Sub-Lt. Jeffrey Paul Delisle was arraigned on espionage charges Monday in Halifax.

While the 40-year-old naval intelligence officer awaits another court appearance on Jan. 25, experts in the cloak-and-dagger world of counter-intelligence say Russian or other nations’ agents working in Canada is nothing new.

Russians regularly hunt for secrets in Canada, including Halifax, spy experts say.

“We don’t understand that Canada is a target for espionage,” said counter-intelligence expert Martin Rudner. “Most Canadians would say ‘Us?’”

Rudner, a professor emeritus at Carleton University specializing in intelligence and national security, said Canadians forget we’re a superpower, a member of the G8, an “energy superpower” and a member of NATO. Our navy also has significant experience in anti-submarine warfare, he said.

Rudner is right on all this, and he omitted something of particular interest to the Russians: Canada is an Arctic nation.

The details of this particular espionage effort are chilling (no pun intended):

Delisle’s job at the top secret HMCS Trinity intelligence centre in Halifax would potentially open doors to codes and ciphers used by the Canadian navy and our allies, said Rudner, adding he was speculating on what might be available to Russian spies.

Trinity reportedly also specialized in subsea surveillance systems for the U.S. Navy and NATO countries, according to Internet reports.

Other targets could include our technologies and tactical secrets used in potential blockades, said Rudner. For example, the navy has a ship dispatched to the Mediterranean, he said, adding Russia might seek details about how Canada would enforce a blockade against its friend, Syria.

“Those would be the kinds of secrets…they would want to know,” said the expert. “This happens to all of our allies. We shouldn’t be surprised…if they target us.”

Chilling especially if you remember the Walker Family Spy Case, which focused on US Navy submarine codes and was likely the most damaging espionage case in the Cold War-at least it is likely the most damaging one that is publicly known.

Some more detail about the Trinity facility can be found here and here.

I would very much like to learn commenter Mark’s views on this.

For an all too predictable Russian response, take a look at RT‘s headline:”Sensation drive stirring Canadian media hype?

No, this is very serious.  And expect the intensity to ramp up even more with Putin’s return to the tendency.  Indeed, expect the truculence to move beyond spying, as this article about the forthcoming vote on Scottish independence suggests:

One of Vladimir Putin’s US political counsellors was recently dispatched to a symposium in Washington on the “political and economic implications for the United States should Scotland leave the United Kingdom to become an independent nation”.

The future of the Faslane and Coulport nuclear missile nuclear missile bases and Scotland’s continuing membership of NATO were both on the agenda.

Moscow’s interest sent a jolt through Capitol Hill and senior figures in the American government are now said to be waking up to the full implications of Alex Salmond’s referendum.

Dmitry Cherkashin from the Russian Embassy in Washington attended the National Capital Tartan Day Committee’s (NCTDC) Tartan Day 2012 Symposium at the Capitol Visitors Centre on March 28.

According to observers, he was particularly interested in the discussion about Trident and the future of Britain’s nuclear deterrent should the SNP force the fleet to leave Scotland.

I’ll bet he was.

A self-styled proud Chekist rules Russia. He plays by Chekist rules. No doubt the Canadian case is merely the tip of the iceberg.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Actually, this kind of behavior is to be expected. As you have helped show there is a “Tugboat Annie” quality to the Soviet – er – Russian fleet, or any other of Russia’s force projection capabilities, for that matter. This is not true for espionage, playing games at the UN or for buying influence. All three are methods of force projection. All are relatively cheap, don’t require a lot of coordinated manpower or a very large group of technically sophisticated people. Some are needed, and one would be a fool to underestimate the skills of many Russians, but we are not talking about the resources that are tied up in a couple of functioning carrier battle groups.

    Indeed, one couldn’t think of a better training ground for spies than the proud and living tradition of the CHEKA, internally and externally: it is much easier to infiltrate the West, threats from Russia are usually underestimated while we in the West have grown complacent and are dealing with our own problems. While there is a farcical side to it, witness the love fest with soon to be late Hugo Chavez, it is deadly serious. Ask the people of Syria.

    I think it may be time to start channeling James Jesus Angleton again.

    Comment by sotos — April 22, 2012 @ 5:01 pm

  2. Da Russophile – Anatoly Karlin -Shithous Putins nutty propagandist – Interesting chase from Copenhagen- Political science professor Timo Kivimäki was monitored by intellience Danish intelligence service (PET) for eight years before finally being picked up while delivering prospects for student spys among University of Copenhagen students.

    According to my sources in Copenhagen the KGB -professor supervised a network of anti-NATO and Anti-USA ANONYMOUS INTERNET SPAMMERS .

    Berlinske Tidende , Politiken and Dagbladet Information
    now have got rid of most of the paranoid , Assange-supporting morons spewing out hateful messages playing on both side of the fence .

    Comment by Anders — April 23, 2012 @ 2:48 am

  3. Where is Naval Electronic Sensor Operator Mark Chapman? Since he was a member of the Royal Canadian Navy until 2010, he must have some very special insight into this problem. Why so quiet? Did the professor strike too close to home? Is PO1 Chapman conferring with his partner Anatoly? Must they await approval before commenting on this post?

    Comment by Basilisk — April 23, 2012 @ 8:28 pm

  4. Mark Chapman, the fiery Canadian sailor are like Julian Assange working for the Putin-mafia now . He Will focus on KGB’s editorial line –

    Comment by Anders — April 24, 2012 @ 8:08 am

  5. What’s the big deal?

    Comment by So? — April 25, 2012 @ 3:30 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress