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Thursday, May 20, 1999Lesbian spy says CSIS transfer is discrimination
Quebec cloak and dagger
OTTAWA - A lesbian intelligence officer is taking the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to the Canadian Human Rights Commission, alleging discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
Chantal-Annick Tremblay, 34, a veteran CSIS officer based in Quebec City, alleges in her complaint that the spy agency discriminated against her and her partner, Mona Naess, a Quebec City real estate agent, and their three children when it tried to transfer them all to Montreal.
Ms. Tremblay's complaint also charges that CSIS is refusing to offer protection to Ms. Naess and herself after they became involved in what her complaint describes as "a sensitive case" in 1997.
Now on leave from CSIS, Ms. Tremblay said yesterday she is unable to discuss the details of the case, reported by Radio-Canada's Le Point public affairs program last night.
Under the Official Secrets Act, she could be prosecuted and sentenced to up to 14 years in jail if she divulges confidential information.
A CSIS spokesman also declined to comment last night.
Nevertheless, details of the case were broadcast in a special report by Le Point journalist Norman Lester, a veteran television reporter and author who specializes in intelligence matters.
Radio-Canada's report was based on information and documents supplied by Ms. Tremblay's partner, Ms. Naess, who also gave a detailed account and documents to the National Post.
Ms. Naess said that in early 1997, she was asked by people at the spy agency's Quebec City office to help a Middle Eastern woman relocate to Quebec City.
Later, she helped the woman buy a small bed and breakfast business in Quebec City. It was worth several hundred thousand dollars and was paid for by the immigrant woman in cash.
Ms. Naess and the woman became friends, and the newly arrived woman confided that she was a Middle Eastern terrorist and had recently acted as a covert agent for German intelligence.
The woman began introducing Ms. Naess to her new circle of friends, which Ms. Naess said included drug dealers and drug importers in Quebec City.
She grew concerned and started to tell Ms. Tremblay, her CSIS agent spouse, about the goings-on.
Ms. Naess says she became an informant for CSIS, keeping the agency abreast of what the woman was up to as she integrated into Quebec City life.
CSIS headquarters finally decided to remove its agent and Ms. Naess from Quebec City for reasons that were never explained. She appealed that the couple had just succeeded in getting their three hyperactive kids into a special-needs school.
CSIS was unsympathetic, with one investigator allegedly suggesting in a report that the behaviour of the children was related to her homosexual lifestyle.
When the National Post reached the alleged terrorist/German agent in Quebec City last night, she laughed and said she was never a German agent and has never been associated with any Middle Eastern terrorist groups.
Asked where and how she accumulated $300,000 in cash to buy her bed and breakfast, the woman laughed again, saying she had worked and made money "in the import-export business." She refused to say where she lived before coming to Canada and why she moved to Quebec City.
(Each link opens a new window)
Canadian Security Intelligence Service
The web site for Canada's spy agency includes the report submitted to the Special Senate Committee on Security and Intelligence along with public reports for 1991-1997.
William M. Kelly
Profile of the chair of the special committee.
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