OTTAWA - The Canadian military was privately furious the Harper government did not allow it to court-martial a naval intelligence officer who sold top-secret information to the Russians.
The decision could have had far-reaching implications, including compounding the damage done by former sub-lieutenant Jeffrey Delisle, says an intelligence expert who followed the case.
The 42-year-old was sentenced to 20 years in prison earlier this year after pleading guilty to selling classified Western intelligence to Russia during a four-year period, beginning in 2007.
He was arrested in January 2012 after the FBI tipped off the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, which after months of surveillance brought in the RCMP to build a criminal case.
The military was brought into the loop only after the investigation was well on its way towards civilian court.
An analysis of the ensuing damage says there was little discussion about the advantages of a military proceeding, which would have kept public disclosure in the case to a minimum