I, like a lot of Canadians, was shocked by the espionage charges laid against Royal Canadian Navy Officer Jeffrey Deslisle. If you’re not up on the story, Jeff was posted to the pseudo-”top secret” HMCS Trinity — an intelligence facility, not an actual ship. The Sub Lt. (who I’m guessing won’t get an Honourable discharge) peddled his illicit wares to the Russians. Last week, court proceedings revealed that he was selling these secrets for only about $3,000 a month. Worse: he didn’t only spill our intelligence (Canada doesn’t have that much to go around, you know), he gave away our allies’ secrets using his access to STONEGHOST.
You could take away the fact that we shouldn’t trust the Russians, and you’d be right. In spite of pressure from my oft-delusional peers, who hold an Alice in Wonderland view of the world, I’ve maintained this belief. Let’s extend my theory: don’t trust Commies, whether current or Perestroika‘d (if, in the latter case, they haven’t actually reformed; e.g. modern day Russia)
The average American understands my logic.
- America is right about Cuba. Canadians should be admonished for supporting the brutal, cruel regime in Havana with their petty trips to its sandy beaches. Sometimes Canadians realize too late what communist justice means.
- America was right about Libya and Syria, just like they’ll someday be proven right about Iran and North Korea.
- America is smartening up about China – an oppressive country that denies fundamental rights to its citizens – except it continues to tolerate China’s currency manipulation and constant trade infractions. The world gave Beijing the Olympics in return for an unfulfilled promise that the regime would clean up its human rights act. China continuously violates trade laws and cyber-attacks its foreign competitors. If you don’t believe me, Google ‘the Sidewinder Report” or read what CSIS Director Richard Fadden had to say about foreign infiltration of our federal, provincial, and municipal governments. China demands real concessions from us — e.g. “give us your oil infrastructure” — in exchange for some US debt dollars and ethereal promises. Like true communists, they leave these promises unfulfilled.
Personal finance won’t resolve the “opportunity” issue. Jeff’s opportunity was a USB stick hidden in his pocket. This says something about the DND’s physical and IT security, but let’s not open that can of moles. I mean, worms.
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On the matters of need and justification, however, I think there are opportunities for improvement.
- I can’t understate how shocking it is that a guy who has displayed a complete ignorance of money to the point of declaring bankruptcy was given top secret security clearance without a second thought as to his future management of money. DND, stahp. That’s stupid.
- Credit monitoring would be an excessive infringement of privacy — in most jobs. I think there should be an exception for people who willingly handle top-secret information.
- I don’t think it’d be frowned upon by taxpayers if CSIS and DND provided employees with personal finance instruction. I’m sure that the DND has got some kind of lame Employee Assistance Program — a 1-800 number to dial if you’re stressed out. That’s not what I’m talking about. I mean in-the-flesh counselors. And their intervention should be automatic (hence why the ‘credit monitoring’ aspect is essential). Either shape up your finances or go back to being a “Logistics Officer” on a real boat.
- Jeff’s relationship and emotional issues were more complex than his money problems. But they could have been identified. People around him noticed his odd behaviour — his growing emotional detachment, predisposition to fantasies, and preference for internet personas over real life, etc. Perhaps a mandatory semi-annual interview with a psychologist would have resulted in earlier red flags (before he got caught at the border with $10,000 in cash and $40,000 in prepaid Visa cards after a single weekend trip to Brazil — good catch CBSA!). Concerns should have resulted in compulsory, taxpayer-funded referrals to specialist therapists.
- If significant issues emerge in an intelligence officer’s life and he or she refuses to rectify them, then they should face a single choice: move onto base (and submit to the indignities of constant monitoring and an extremely regimented weekday life) or lose top secret clearance. Again, this isn’t human resource management at McDonald’s.