Alleged Russian spy captured in Montreal, Canada

Thursday, November 16, 2006

An alleged Russian spy was arrested in Montreal, having threatened national security. The man is identified as a Russian spy and has been living under a false name.

As he prepared to board a plane out of Canada, Canada Border Services agents took the man into custody at Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport in Montreal on Tuesday. Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day and Immigration Minister Monte Solberg signed the document that authorized the man's arrest.

This document is called the national security certificate and is rarely used. The certificate alerts Ottawa about possible threats to the country. The ministers of immigration and public safety are obliged to sign the national security certificate.

"The government's most important duty is to ensure the security of all Canadians. A security certificate has been issued ... against a foreign national. He is now in custody in Montreal," said Melissa Leclerc, spokeswoman for Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day. "A foreign national alleging to be a Canadian citizen named Paul William Hampel was arrested in Montreal after a national security certificate under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act was issued against him."

The man came to Canada several years ago with the name of Paul William Hampel, and is now reported to be false. Officials at the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) are working on identifying the man who entered Canada years ago.

"He is now in custody in Montreal. This is not a counter-terrorism case. More information will become available as the Federal Court process unfolds. Any speculation about the individual's other nationality is premature at this point," Barbara Campion, a spokesperson for CSIS.

Ottawa believed the man had been "engaging in an act of espionage or an act of subversion," and "belonged to an organization that there are reasonable grounds to believe engages."

"I don't think we're going to get the most intimate of details, no, not at all," he told CTV Montreal....We'll see a public version of the allegations that will be released by the federal court judge who is going to be responsible for reviewing the basis upon which cabinet will have declared this individual subject to a security certificate. beyond that, though, we may see things settle more quietly between governments," said David Harris, former chief of strategic planning at CSIS.

"There are also influence operations where countries might try to influence their expatriates and émigré communities in Canada. Beyond that, there is a real appetite building among many countries for technological secrets," he said. "They can be of use to industries of the sponsoring nations and these things can have values in the billions for the economies of those countries undertaking these operations."

Reports say the man's methods in Canada matched the techniques used by the Russian intelligence agency's Directorate S, which runs the Russian spy network.

Twenty people since 1991 have been charged under the Security Certificate legislation in Canada. The last time it was used was in 2003.

The court hearing for the man being held in Montreal will be on Wednesday. It is still unclear if the hearing will be in Ottawa, the nations capital, or in Montreal.

More information will be released as the case progresses.