Not really a good buy for Harper
The Harper government has just learned that the future headquarters of National Defense and the armed forces is plugged with electronic spy bugs placed there by Chinese spies there years ago when it was still a big Nortel industrial complex.
The devices are hidden in the walls, the ceilings and even in the heating system. It could take years to find them all and the estimated cost to find every one of them is three-quarters of billion bucks!
The former head of our Canadian spy agency Richard Fadden lost his CSIS job last spring after he announced publicly that Chinese computer hackers had been spying on our politicians. Now we find out he was bang on.
Back in the days when the spy bugs went in, it was all about getting Nortel industrial secrets, not military secrets.
Only now are we finding out.
Despite contrary advice from electronic security experts -- and ironically – even the new Minister of National Defence, Peter MacKay, the Harper government went ahead and bought the entire Nortel complex for a pitance to house the Defense department.
The price was right. Harper only paid $ 209 million for the entire property.
It was only afterwards that Harper learned it was full of Chinese spy bugs and that it would cost an additional $ 790 million to clear out the bugs and prepare the building for the military and national defense.
Not such a good buy at close to a billion bucks. Goodbye bargain.
There are some of his ministers - who prefer anonymity for the moment - who wish Harper would find another site for national defense and let the Nortel buildings house departments that don’t have big military secrets to protect. Not a bad idea at all. Wait and see what Harper does.
Spending us into another hole helps explain why Harper will be going deeper into debt in his next budget. Wait till next March to find out the numbers.