Wednesday, June 03, 2009

"Active commercial information"

Some key aspects of today's reporting that need to get a little more attention, from Newsnet closed captioning earlier, Bob Fife reporting on CTV on the nature of the documents that Raitt let loose:
>> Reporter: I'm getting this from sources, dan, that i believe to be reliable, who have talked to me in the last little bit. And who say that not only were -- that is the minister's briefing book, but there is essential active commercial information -- sensitive commercial information in that document which we have not reported that would be very advantageous to some of the people bidding on some of our reactors in ontario, and in fact the information that the ontario government would not be very pleased with if it got out. The issue here is the government ying to deflect the blame by blaming some young 26-ye-old girl. Other issue, this is we're told the minister's document. And the other factor is sensitive commercial information which ctv has not reported that somebody has to take account for. And it certainly can't be some young kid. I mean, I think those are the kind of questions that are going to be raised in the house of commons today.

>> Dan: Bob, just one quick question about process, for the folks who don't know how this work a secret document is a briefing document in the hands -- you know, you throw it in a safe with a hundred other documents. How would they know that one is missing?

>> Reporter: Well, let me give you the levels. The first level is one that is called protection. The other one is sta "confidential" the next level is secret. And the highest level is top secret. The duments that the ctv had and which graham richardson reported on last night were " and they were numbered. And so they are very sensitive documents and these are the kind documents that are traceable. If they're not reported immediately, there should be an automatic trace of what happened those documents. Ctv got these documents late thursdayvening. We've had them since tuesday until graham reported on the national last night. So we understand there is an investigation going on now from the privy council office, but every rule in the book was broken as far as I can see in terms of security.

>> Dan: Robert fife is ctv's ottawa bureau chief, thanks, bob.
So, to recap:

We have information of one of the highest levels of classification that Ministers are entrusted with that's gone loose. Affirming that this situation is equivalent to the Bernier matter.

This is information that has/had the potential to impact the sale of AECL. The fact that the information is that sensitive is being confirmed by CTV from additional sources today, suggesting that there are possibly some within government who are seeking accountability for this mishandling of documents.

The information that the Minister lost was lost on "Thursday evening," the day that the sale of AECL was announced by the Minister.

Yet a 26 year old staffer's been let go.

Not the end of this, we can fairly say.

(see Jeff as well)

Update (4:55 p.m.): The more you think about the sourcing to Fife, the more you must draw the conclusion that those with specific knowledge of the materials let loose are those at high levels with access to "secret" documents. Tells you that there is disconcert within the government over this to the extent that they're leaking this information to reporters.

For more on this topic, see: Blog Post Index: Medical Isotope crisis & Chalk River shutdown.