Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Document Case Has Potential to Hurt Canada

Former national security adviser to the prime minister, Vincent Rigby, has pointed out that the Trump document leak could negatively affect Canada. The country is part of Five Eyes, an intelligence-sharing organization that also includes the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and the US. A leak from one country could affect others as well.

“I was absolutely stunned that based on the media reports that I saw, he had in his possession what are reputed to be very, very sensitive documents and it’s just something that is unheard of,” said Vincent Rigby in an interview with The Fifth Estate. He added that it’s very hard to believe someone was able to take those documents out of the White House, get on a plane or in a vehicle and go to Florida to stash them, effectively, in a basement.

Former US President Donald Trump’s residence, Mar-a-Lago, was searched on August 8 by the FBI, and 100 documents with classification markings were found in his bedroom, office, and a first-floor storage room. Of these documents, 54 were marked secret, 31 were marked confidential, and 18 were marked top secret.

The breach in security could impact Canada as well, according to Rigby. Canada and the US are part of an intelligence-sharing organization called Five Eyes. Any potential security breach for one member of the organization has a ripple effect within the entire group. It would also affect agencies like the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS) and the Communications Security Establishment (CSE).

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As of now, it is unclear if those documents contain information relating to Canada. According to a report, The Fifth Estate was sent a statement by Privy Council Office that said, “At this stage, it would be inappropriate for the Government of Canada to comment on an ongoing U.S. law-enforcement investigation. Should the Government of Canada be made aware of any security breaches, appropriate protocols and procedures are in place to deal with them.” The Privy Council Office reports directly to the PM’s office.

According to reports, some of the contents in those documents relate to a current national security issue in Canada. It also includes sensitive intelligence work aimed at China and Ottawa has been discussing Chinese interference in Canadian elections, along with other national security concerns. To retaliate, China could also target information in Trump’s possession to know where the US stands.

Rigby said, “If this intelligence is not stored properly if it’s sitting in a basement room somewhere without being properly locked up, it can potentially be grabbed by foreign intelligence agencies. And it can put not just the U.S. at heightened risk, but the Five Eyes, our allies, and Canada included.”

Vineet Washington

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