Centre for International and Defence Policy

Centre for International and Defence Policy
Centre for International and Defence Policy

Documents labelled secret or confidential do not always contain sensitive information.
Imprudence, not malice led to alleged HMCS Trinity security breach

Christian Leuprecht
​Michael MacDonald, The Canadian Press 
CTV News. 5 January 2016.

HALIFAX -- An alleged security breach at one of the Royal Canadian Navy's most sensitive security operations was the result of imprudence, not malice, says the navy's commander on the Atlantic coast.

Rear Admiral John Newton said Tuesday the so-called data spill involving more than 1,000 secret documents was the result of mishandling of files by a civilian employee, a mistake that did not pose a threat to military intelligence.

Christian Leuprecht, a professor at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ont., says documents labelled secret or confidential do not always contain sensitive information.

"I have long argued that we classify way too much documentation as secret, confidential, classified or for Canadian eyes only," said Leuprecht, an expert on security threats who also teaches at Queen's University.

This type of risk management process casts a wide net that can ensnare people who are just cutting corners to save time, he said.

"We should be careful not to infer intent," he said. "We should await any charges being laid."

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