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‘Absolutely not’: Ex-official accused of leaking secrets says he didn’t betray RCMP

OTTAWA — A former RCMP intelligence official accused of leaking secrets has told a jury he didn’t commit a crime or betray the national police force.

Cameron Jay Ortis testified in Ontario Superior Court that he had the authority to do what he did in the name of fighting threats to the security of Canada.

Reporters and the general public were excluded from the courtroom for Ortis’s testimony Nov. 2, but a redacted transcript has now been released.

The Crown says Ortis anonymously sent classified material in 2015 to people who were of investigative interest to the RCMP.

Ortis, 51, has pleaded not guilty to violating the Security of Information Act by revealing secrets to three individuals and trying to do so in a fourth instance. 

The Crown argues Ortis lacked authority to disclose classified material and that he was not doing so as part of some sort of undercover operation.

Mark Ertel, a lawyer for Ortis, has told the jury the former intelligence official was acting largely on secret information passed to him by a foreign agency and that he aimed to protect Canada from imminent threats.

Under questioning from Ertel, Ortis said his mission was always “to meet the threats to the security of Canada head on.”

Ertel asked Ortis if he regretted his actions.

“Well, I don’t make decisions based on my career or career prospects, but I couldn’t have envisioned or imagined that all of this would transpire,” Ortis replied.

“So, it’s — of course, in some sense I regret everything that’s happened over the last four years to everyone, but what I did was not wrong.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 10, 2023.

The Canadian Press