The Harper government called in the RCMP to investigate a politically embarrassing story involving the decision to sole-source the purchase of the F-35 stealth fighter, claiming it was a breach of national security, The Canadian Press has learned.Oh yes, it gets better.
The Mounties conducted a five-month review into an alleged leak of cabinet documents under the Security of Information Act, recently used to charge a naval intelligence officer in an apparent spy case.
Records obtained under the Access to Information Act show investigators had doubts almost from the outset in July 2010 that any laws were broken in the Globe and Mail story.
The story revealed angst within government about possible alienation from Washington if a competition was held to replace the air force's CF-18s.
Still, the review pressed ahead and drew in one of the RCMP's four Integrated National Security Enforcement Teams, whose job it is to chase terrorism threats.
It was shut down in December 2010 for lack of evidence.
The case file shows the complaint was laid by Wayne Wouters, clerk of the Privy Council, the country's highest-ranking civil servant and adviser to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, shortly after the article appeared on June 11, 2010.On orders from His Grace, you can bet. When a Harper hack moves on something like this it's because Harper issued a command.
So, to conclude ...
The RCMP closed its file in November 2010, but was forced to "re-activate" the case and "investigate further" because it was noted no one had talked to Wouters.
The file "should not have been concluded at this time before the complainant was met and had a chance to explain why he thinks there was a leak of 'secret cabinet documents,"' said a Dec. 22, 2010, notation.
The investigator apparently tried to contact Wouters, seeking clarification and was rebuked by the National Security Criminal Operations Branch, which noted the complaint had been filed by letter through the commissioner's office.
It took Mounties in charge of the case two-and-a-half months to get their hands on an actual copy of the letter, which had been "kept at the commissioner's office."Any questions about who and what we're dealing with here?