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Embassy Row: Spy scandal

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The U.S. ambassador to Canada confirmed Sunday that a Canadian naval officer was a Russian spy who sold American and Canadian military secrets to Russian diplomats in Ottawa.

Ambassador David Jacobson told the Canadian CTV news program "Question Period" that Jeffrey Paul Delisle, a junior officer with the rank of sub-lieutenant, sold a "lot of highly classified material" to the Russians until he was arrested in January.

Russian Ambassador Georgiy Mamedov, however, has shrugged off the espionage scandal, comparing it to "spy novels" from the Cold War.

Delisle, 41, pleaded guilty to espionage charges Oct. 10, admitting he sold secrets to the Russians for five years for about $3,000 a month. He faces sentencing in January.

Mr. Jacobson, in the first U.S. reaction in the case, insisted that the espionage will not damage U.S.-Canadian intelligence cooperation.

"We have confidence that Canada is a trusted ally and that we can continue to work with them," he said, according to a report released by CTV.

Mr. Jacobson declined to give details about the secrets passed to the Russians.

"I will say this. He pleaded guilty to selling secrets of the United States and secrets of Canada to the Russians. This obviously is not good," the ambassador said. "We've had these problems in the past, and we want to make sure and the Canadians want to make sure that nothing like this is going to happen again."

Earlier this month, Mr. Mamedov dismissed the scandal when he addressed business executives in Toronto two days after Delisle confessed to spying for the Russians. The ambassador predicted no long-term damage to Russia's relations with either country, according to CTV.

"What we are talking about is very marginal," he said. "It will die away."

DIPLOMATIC TRAFFIC

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:

Monday

• Juliana Martinez-Franzone of the University of Costa Rica, who discusses health and cultural issues in the Amazon region at a forum at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Tuesday

• Maj. Gen. Yossi Baidatz, commandant of the Israeli National Defense College, who addresses the Heritage Foundation about the threats to Israel's security.

Rachmat Gobel, chairman of the Indonesian-based Gobel Group, a diversified company with interests from logistics management to food services. He discusses climate issues in a briefing at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Tarik M. Yousef, vice chairman of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on the Arab world. He discusses youth unemployment after the Arab Spring in a panel discussion at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Thursday

• Prince Turki al Faisal, a former director of the Saudi Arabian intelligence service and a former Saudi ambassador to the United States. He addresses the annual policymakers' conference of the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297 or email jmorrison@washingtontimes.com. The column is published on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

About the Author
James Morrison

James Morrison

James Morrison joined the The Washington Times in 1983 as a local reporter covering Alexandria, Va. A year later, he was assigned to open a Times bureau in Canada. From 1987 to 1989, Mr. Morrison was The Washington Times reporter in London, covering Britain, Western Europe and NATO issues. After returning to Washington, he served as an assistant foreign editor ...

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