Former Ontario nuclear plant operator employee charged in secretive leak case

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Ex-Ont., nuclear power plant worker charged in secretive leak case
WATCH: A former employee of Ontario Power Generation (OPG), which operates Ontario's nuclear plants, has been charged under the Security of Information Act for allegedly sharing "safeguarded information." Mercedes Stephenson lays out what the former staffer is believed to have done, and the impact on Canada's security – Feb 20, 2024

A former employee of the Crown corporation that operates Ontario nuclear plants has been charged with leaking “safeguarded information” that could harm Canada.

In a case unfolding quietly in a courtroom east of Toronto, James Mousaly faces a rare charge under the Security of Information Act.

He was charged on Feb. 10, but the RCMP did not announce the arrest until Friday, and declined to provide any further information.

But the Public Prosecution Service of Canada confirmed Mousaly had appeared before the Ontario court of justice in Oshawa.

A man by that same name was listed in 2022 as a nuclear operator at Ontario Power Generation, which is headquartered in Oshawa.

The company, which is owned by the Ontario government, operates the Pickering and Darlington nuclear power plants, and owns two others that are run by Bruce Power.

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It said in a statement Tuesday public safety had not been compromised.

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“Our nuclear stations utilize sophisticated security technology and intelligence to keep our facilities and communities safe,” the statement said.

“This includes robust, ‘defense in depth’ security systems to ensure we are prepared to pre-empt or respond to any situation.

“These systems worked: immediately upon identifying an information breach, OPG and RCMP implemented measures to mitigate and manage any further unauthorized disclosure.”

A source familiar with the investigation told Global News a former employee was accused of making online posts about security vulnerabilities.

He is charged under a section that prohibits communicating information the government has taken steps to safeguard to a foreign entity or terrorist group.

The 36-year-old resident of Clarington, Ont. was scheduled to return to court for a bail hearing on Feb. 27.

According to court records, the alleged offence occurred between Jan. 30 and Feb. 1, 2024. He faces a possible life sentence if convicted.

A welcome sign is shown on an Oshawa, Ont., street, Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Staff.

A publication ban was imposed on the case.

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The RCMP said the arrest was made by the Integrated National Security Enforcement Team (INSET) in Ontario.

“Evidence indicates that the individual acted with intent to put critical infrastructure at risk,” the RCMP said in a statement.

“Immediately upon identifying the breach, the RCMP acted to remove access to the information and to mitigate and manage any further risk of unauthorized disclosures.”

The RCMP said it was continuing to “investigate and assess possible impacts of this alleged activity. At this time, there are no known risks to the public or the environment.”

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