Intelligence: Waging War On Walk-Ins


November 19, 2012: A British Royal Navy NCO (petty officer) serving on nuclear submarines is being prosecuted for espionage. The petty officer (Edward Devenney) had apparently become disenchanted with the navy (even though he was being trained to become a commissioned officer) and sought to pass on cryptographic (decoding secret messages) and operational data about British nuclear subs to the Russians but was diverted by two British intelligence agencies pretending to be Russians. Devenney was caught on video describing what he planned to do and what he wanted for his services. He also expressed hostility towards the Royal Navy, apparently because budget cuts had deprived him of a training course he was looking forward to. Devenney had been in the navy nearly 12 years.

Devenney apparently tried to contact the Russians and offer his services as a spy. This sort of thing is not uncommon. A similar incident recently occurred in Canada. Last January two Russian diplomats were expelled from Canada and it soon became known this was connected with the arrest of a Canadian naval officer (Sub-Lieutenant Jeffrey Delisle). Canadian secrecy laws had kept any details out of the news until Delisle pled guilty on October 10th.

Turns out that Delisle had not been recruited by Russian diplomats, as was some believed, but had walked into the Russian embassy and offered his services. Delisle worked in a top-secret Canadian intelligence center where intelligence sharing operations (with NATO and other allies) were located. Delisle had access to secrets from all the countries involved, and for over four years Delisle delivered a thumb drive full of secret documents each month to the Russians. In return, Delisle was paid about $3,000 a month. Delisle did it for the money which, since the end of the Cold War, has become the primary motivation for spies recruited in other countries.

Canada is embarrassed by this lapse in their counter-intelligence (seeking out spies) efforts and will review and change its procedures to at least make it harder for any future spy to operate within the Canadian military. The British were apparently more alert to the risk of “walk in” spies and caught on to their man before he could pass on anything.




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