Thursday, March 20, 2008

Canadian Anti-Terror Plans Found in Garbage Pile

H/T Ottawa Citizen

Passerby finds anti-terror force's plans discarded on Bank Street

Plans showing the layout of a new building for a Canadian Forces counter-terrorism unit based in Trenton, Ont., have been found in a pile of garbage on Bank Street.

The 26 blueprints, stamped with Department of National Defence markings, show everything from the location of the security fence to the floor plan of the new home of the Canadian Joint Incident Response Unit at CFB Trenton.

The unit is the military's main responder to a terrorist attack using a weapon of mass destruction.

The plans also show the electrical grid scheme for the unit's computers and details about sewer systems, areas for workshops, sea container loading docks, and offices for the unit's various troops. There is also a blueprint for the storage bay for the unit's robots, which are designed to detect chemical and biological agents.

There are no markings that indicate the documents -- printed on March 5, 2007 -- are classified as secret, but military officials yesterday acknowledged the seriousness of the security breach.

After being informed by the Citizen about the blueprints, the Defence Department immediately launched an investigation into how the plans found their way into a pile of trash in the Glebe.

No Defence Department buildings are in the immediate area where the documents were found and there is the possibility the blueprints had been thrown out by a government employee or a worker involved in the construction of the new building.

The blueprints were found March 13 by the spouse of Anthony Salloum, an analyst with the Rideau Institute, the left-leaning Ottawa think-tank. As the couple were on their way to dinner, Mr. Salloum's spouse noticed a large pile of garbage bags on the sidewalk, on top of which sat seven large rolled tubes of paper stamped with Defence Department markings.

"I thought they looked interesting, but we were headed to dinner, so I figured I'd pick one up on the way back if they were still there," said Mr. Salloum.

The blueprints were still sitting in the garbage an hour or so later, so Mr. Salloum took one of the rolls. He doesn't know what happened to the rest of the rolls.

Back at the office, he briefly examined the blueprints, 26 in all, which were rolled together, but didn't comprehend fully what he was looking at. At first, officials at the Rideau Institute, which have been critical of the government's defence policy and the Afghan war, thought the plans, with their 8 Wing CFB Trenton designation, showed new roadwork at the base.

The documents then sat untouched for a week in the corner of Mr. Salloum's office.

Institute officials showed the blueprints to the Citizen yesterday and the newspaper was able to determine they were for the new counter-terrorism building. Each page is marked "National Defence, Project No. IE070599, NBCD Company, 8 Wing, Trenton, electrical site plan."

NBCD Company was the name of the joint incident response unit up until last year.

The Canadian Joint Incident Response Unit handles "Jack Bauer-24" type scenarios, according to its officers. It provides a national response for chemical, biological and radioactive threats, whether it be tracking down and dealing with a weapon of mass destruction or collecting and cataloguing evidence that might be used in court to prosecute terrorists for creating or setting off such a device.

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