Military police investigated how CTV obtained info after report on Natynczyk
Published Monday, June 3, 2013 6:51PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, June 3, 2013 11:23PM EDT
Military police were used to investigate how CTV News obtained information Gen. Walt Natynczyk’s use of government VIP aircraft for trips to fundraising dinners, sporting events, and a Caribbean island, according to a report.
In 2011, CTV’s Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife revealed that Natynczyk, who was then the Chief of Defence Staff of the Canadian Forces, had spent about $1.4 million on the flights, including a $93,000 trip aboard a CC-144 Challenger to fly to St. Maarten for a family vacation.
The report came from 1,500 pages worth of flight logs that spanned three years, legally obtained through Access to Information requests, and cross-referenced with the dates and locations of events Natynczyk had attended.
But one week after the report aired, the military’s second-in-command, Vice Admiral Bruce Donaldson, called in the military police to investigate whether the information had been leaked to CTV.
The Ottawa Citizen reports that the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service was used to handle the investigation.
The NIS is the military’s top police division and normally handles “serious and sensitive matters,” like espionage and deaths.
The 2011 report on Natynczyk “infuriated the senior military leadership,” Defence Department sources told the Citizen.
The Citizen uncovered the NIS investigation through Access to Information requests. Its report also contradicts what Fife had been told about a possible probe two years ago.
In the fall of 2011, Fife received a tip from a high-ranking military officer, who said he was being investigated by the military police as being an alleged leak to CTV for the Natynczyk story.
But when Fife asked the forces’ criminal division and the Defence Department’s public affairs office whether there was an investigation, they denied it.
In a document obtained by the Citizen, it shows the NIS found the information in CTV’s 2011 report “did not contain information that was not already in the public domain as a result of Access to Information request.”
Retired Colonel Michel Drapeau said news of the investigation into CTV casts a negative light on the NIS.
“They are being seen now as a private police force to the senior leaders of the forces, and that’s wrong,” he said.
In a statement to CTV News on Monday, the Department of National Defence said the investigation was initiated to ensure high standards set by the Canadian Forces with respect to personal conduct.
Natynczyk said whenever there is a potential of misconduct, such as a leak, the military police must be alerted.
With a report by Daniele Hamamdjian in Ottawa