Ottawa, Ontario – Good afternoon. I would like to begin by acknowledging that we are gathered on the unceded, traditional territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabeg people.
Thank you for being here today.
I’d like to start off by saying that it would be inappropriate to comment on theories or misinformation because of the ongoing investigation and the work ahead of us. The information in the public domain is speculative, unhelpful and may be harmful to our investigation and judicial process. We also need to be mindful of the privacy of the accused and his right to fair trial.
I’m in a position to provide some information on the arrest of an RCMP employee last week. However, I want to emphasize that the charges have not been proven in court and there is a need to protect the ongoing investigation and allow due process to occur.
As you already know, Cameron Ortis, the Director General of the National Intelligence Coordination Center was arrested on Thursday, September 12th. He’s been employed by the RCMP since 2007. Prior to his duties in the National Intelligence Coordination Centre, he held positions in Operations Research and National Security Criminal Investigations Directorate.
Mr. Ortis has been charged for alleged criminal activity under the Criminal Code and Security of Information Act. The news of his arrest has shaken many people throughout the RCMP, particularly in Federal Policing as well as the broader domestic and international security and intelligence communities who worked with Mr. Ortis.
In 2018, the RCMP was supporting an FBI investigation, and through the course of this file the RCMP uncovered possible internal corruption. We took immediate action and launched an investigation into the alleged activities. Our focus has been to diligently pursue this investigation which led to the arrest.
By virtue of the positions he held, Mr. Ortis had access to information the Canadian intelligence community possessed. He also had access to intelligence originating from our partners both domestically and internationally. This level of access is appropriate given the positions he held.
As mentioned, this is an ongoing investigation and we are assessing the impacts of the alleged activities as more information becomes available. We are aware of the potential risk to the operations of our partner agencies in Canada and abroad and are working in partnership to ensure mitigation strategies are in place.
Once the RCMP became aware of the alleged activities, we worked with partners to take immediate steps to safeguard the information. Together, we are working to assess the level of impact to operations if any.
In the last week, cooperation and support amongst the Security and Intelligence Community as well as our Law Enforcement partners has been remarkable. We thank them for their ongoing support.
We recognize that these allegations, if proven true, are extremely unsettling. Canadians and our law enforcement partners can trust that our priority continues to be the integrity of our investigations and the safety and security of the public we serve.
Before taking some of your questions, I want to emphasize that the alleged actions of Mr. Ortis are by no means reflective of the important work carried out by employees of the RCMP – regardless of rank or category of employee – on a daily basis. As Commissioner of the RCMP, I am mandated with the safety and security of Canadians and I would not be able to achieve this mandate without the support and dedication of all those we employ.
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