Monday, June 15, 2009

Before Ditzy Raitt and Biker Bernier, There was Careless Stocky

As Canadians shook their heads in disbelief that secret and sensitive documents could be treated so carelessly by Conservative cabinet ministers Lisa Raitt and Maxime Bernier, they need to remember that these are not isolated incidents.

Blueprints for a new anti-terror unit were once found in the trash, under Stockwell Day's watch. I don't believe I'm alone in thinking that this is about as bad as it gets.

I was recently reading an old quote from Stockwell Day's website, recorded after his meeting George Bush for the first time, and wondered out loud how in the hell Day was ever given the position he has:

"'Good morning Mr. President'. I realized I was speaking in a near reverential tone without even trying. As those words came out of my mouth I felt a bit self-conscious, but after all, I was standing in front of the United States Commander in Chief, world leader and defender of democracy and freedom." Yikes!

Ottawa to probe report that anti-terror unit blueprints found in trash
CBC News
March 20, 2008

The government will look into a report that blueprints for a new building for the military's counterterrorism unit were found in a pile of trash in downtown Ottawa, Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day said on Thursday.

A passerby discovered the plans in garbage bags on Bank Street in the Glebe.

Anthony Salloum said he and his spouse were heading to dinner last week when they spotted seven or eight rolls of paper stamped with Department of Defence markings.

The blueprints, dated March 5, 2007, appear to be for a new building for the Canadian Joint Incident Response Unit, created post-Sept. 11 to respond to large-scale attacks. The building is under construction at Canadian Forces Base Trenton.

The plans detail the location of security fences, the electrical grid system and layout of offices and other rooms
, said Anthony Salloum, who found the documents.

Salloum said he and his spouse were heading to dinner last week when they spotted seven or eight rolls of paper stamped with Department of Defence markings.

"By sheer accident, my spouse said, 'Anthony, look at this bag of garbage. It's filled with rolls of paper that say National Defence, Trenton 8 Wing,' " Salloum told reporters on Thursday.

Asked early Thursday about the Ottawa Citizen article that reported the discovery, Day said he is awaiting for a detailed report on the incident to determine what happened and what type of documents were involved.

"If a security breach of some kind has taken place, then clearly that's a huge concern for me," Day said. "We'll wait for all the details and see exactly what that was."

Not sure what happened to other rolls

At first, Salloum didn't pick up the papers since he was on the way to dinner at a restaurant.

But more than an hour later, when he passed by the garbage heap and discovered they were still there, he decided to grab one roll.

The day after discovering the documents on March 13, Salloum unrolled the blueprints in the boardroom of his workplace, the Rideau Institute, an Ottawa-based advocacy group.

But having little understanding of the blueprints, he decided to wait until the institute's director returned from a family vacation on Wednesday.

"It quickly became apparent how important these were. And I did not want to leave my office yesterday before handing them back to National Defence," said Salloum.

Salloum has returned the blueprints to the Defence Department, who thanked him but refused to comment on the discovery.

It's uncertain what happened to the rest of the rolls, though they're likely at a garbage dump or recycling facility, he said.

Salloum speculated that the documents may have been discarded by an architectural firm following a failed bid for the project. Even so, he says the discovery is a security concern since the blueprints outline other existing structures at the Trenton military base.

One security expert also hypothesized that the document could have been tossed by a civilian contractor.

Regardless of who threw them in the trash, why are there not better security measures taken? This once again makes us look like boobs.

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