Forget Delisle: Is Huawei a security threat to Canada?
A vendor works at a store selling Huawei network devices at a computer mall in Beijing, China Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
Published Friday, October 12, 2012 5:45PM EDT
There's no better way to spend a cool fall weekend than reading or watching a juicy spy thriller.
But the Jeffrey Delisle story of a low-level navy Canadian intelligence officer who sold secrets to the Russians for years will never rate the Hollywood treatment.
There was no honey pot lure or blackmail threat in this plot. Delisle recruited himself by strolling into the Russian embassy looking to sell military intelligence for little more than beer money.
There was no sophisticated spy guy electronics in this caper either. He downloaded Canada's secrets on a thumb drive you could buy at Future Shop.
How so very Canadian. We can't even betray our country with glamour or finesse.
By recording a guilty plea in this case before it went to trial, Canadians will never know how incredibly lax the navy's internal security systems must be.
But the agreed-upon facts suggest accessing top secret intelligence requires roughly the same level of skill it takes to download a pirated Harry Potter movie.
Which brings me to Huawei, the Chinese-owned technology giant. This state-owned enterprise is red-flagged for having the ability to eavesdrop on Canada through its vast telecommunications networks.
Never mind that it has never been busted for gathering intelligence on behalf of its government masters. Alarm bells are ringing all over North America.
Perhaps there's a security risk to having a foreign company plug into our telecom infrastructure. But we'd likely never spot a breach even if a spy was trying to get caught.
Remember, it took four years for our supposedly vigilant security monitors to detect a bankrupt naval officer casually downloading terrabytes of top secret data for discount sale to the Ruskies.
He's probably never worn a tuxedo or shaken a dry martini, but the face of successful espionage in Canada is more Jeffrey Delisle than James Bond.
And no one needs elaborate spy toys when all it takes for successful espionage is opening the embassy door to a broke military geek volunteering to commit treason for pocket change.
That's the Last Word.