- By Joshua Keating
Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy
A new book by a former Canadian intelligence officer alleges that Canada is the world’s number-one destination for intelligence agents looking to steal political and miltiary secrets:
Led by the Chinese but including intelligence officers from at least 20 nations including allies, the book says, the infiltrators are stealing an estimated $20 billion to $30 billion annually worth of cutting-edge research in products and technologies, other scientific, business and military know-how and political secrets.
Others, it says, are infiltrating ethnic communities, suppressing criticism of homeland governments, recruiting industrial spies, stoking political violence among the diaspora and operating front companies and political lobbies aimed at manipulating government policies.
Proportionately, it estimates more spies operate here than in the U.S.
Why Canada? The book alleges that government inaction has made it a soft target compared to other countries of its size and power:
Over the past 15 years, there have been hundreds of prosecutions of foreign spies in the U.S., Britain and France, but not a single one in Canada. "Senior law enforcement officials have taken the hint and placed their priorities elsewhere. Where limited efforts are made, government policy and government actions have not been co-ordinated." In the end, Canadian businesses are largely left to fend for themselves and their market shares against sophisticated and well-funded thieves intent on stealing (or sabotaging) their work and bringing it to market faster and without the enormous research-and-development costs.
Hat tip: Danger Room