Canadian Navy Spy Says Sorry For Passing Intelligence Secrets To Russians

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By Gopi Chandra Kharel | February 2, 2013 5:50 PM EST

A Canadian Navy spy who is undergoing trial for selling confidential information to Russia says that he is sorry for betraying his country. Standing in the court Friday, he apologized in an emotional voice, making special references to his family.

Sub-lieutenant Jeffrey Paul Delisle had passed intelligence secrets of Canada and its allies from confidential military databases for five years before he was arrested in early 2012. The 41-year-old Navy officer pleaded guilty in October for passing sensitive information to a foreign entity and breaching the trust of the Canadian government.

Now, faced with a possibility of 20 years in prison, the spy made it known how deeply he repented his actions.

"I want to apologize to my children, my parents, my family. I love them very much and I'm sorry for the hurt and pain that I caused them," said Delisle, a father of four, in a provincial court in Halifax, "I extend the same to my friends and my colleagues. If I could go back in time, I would but I can't."

Crown attorney Lyne Decarie asked the judge to sentence him to at least 20 years in prison for sharing confidential information to a foreign entity.

The defense is seeking only about 10 years' sentence in total. Speaking to the reporters present outside the court, defense lawyer Mike Taylor said, "I think 20 is on the extreme high side that isn't really justified by the cases that are presented."

Justice Parick H. Curran has reserved the decision till Feb 8, according to news reports in The Star. He will give verdict to the first Canadian Citizen Charged under the Security of Information Act that was created after the 9/11 attack in the U.S.

When he was arrested, he told RCMP investigators that he was going through intense marital and emotional problems when he decided to walk to the Russian Embassy in Ottawa in 2007 to pass on the secret information for money. In a video shown in court Friday, Delisle is heard telling that the root cause of his actions was the pain he suffered from his wife's infidelity. He had thought of committing suicide but he had not been able to go through it because of his children. He chose the path, instead, of what he calls "professional suicide".

He was given access to some of the most protected information and was trusted for keeping them safe.

The court heard that Russian agents had paid him about $72,000 between 2007 and 2011 for the information he had given them. While working in the Navy's intelligence and communications centre, Delisle ransacked government computers for all references made to Russia and transferred them to memory sticks and floppies before handing them to Russian agents, according to a news report in CTV News. 

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