Canadian Military secrets set sail : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Friday, March 24, 2000 Military secrets set sail Hush-hush gear on sold ships

By MARK DUNN, OTTAWA BUREAU OTTAWA -- The defence department forgot to remove huge amounts of weaponry, documents and secret decoding devices when it sold three destroyers to private buyers after the ships were decommissioned.

Topping the list was a submarine detection system known by its code name Jezebel.

The defence department previously admitted it left some equipment, but documents obtained by Sun Media under access to information show the problem was far greater than reported and involved three ships.

The documents show previous reports about a rocket launcher being left aboard HMCS Restigouche and HMCS Kootenay understated the stash of sensitive and secret materials military brass overlooked.


And the documents made a brief mention to confidential documents that were found on board a third decommissioned ship -- HMCS Saskatchewan -- which is now used as a diver's playground off the West Coast near Nanaimo.

Red-faced military personnel had to scramble to retrieve items -- including an ASROC rocket launcher -- on the Kootenay after it was sold along with the Restigouche to an American scrap dealer with a lengthy criminal record.

The new documents list items investigators -- armed with a court order -- plucked from the ships in December after thoroughly combing the vessels a second time after the sale.


The biggest surprise on the Restigouche was the Jezebel, a submarine locating system military analysts said should "never fall into the wrong hands."

Also found were magnetic tapes deemed confidential.

Crypto tape -- used to decipher secret military codes -- was also retrieved as were mine disposal equipment and radar gear.

Dave Statham, a retired Navy commander who is CEO of Novatip Consulting, reviewed the documents and was "deeply concerned" about what he found.

"It's the enormity of what's in here. Holy jumping Jupiter," said Statham.

Statham was especially suspicious of an accompanying letter attached to the documents that said the military police investigation file on "this matter" was destroyed.

A military board of inquiry is investigating why the ships were sold without removing sensitive materials.

-- Martin Thompson (, March 24, 2000

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