10/11/2012 12:05 EDT | Updated 12/11/2012 05:12 EST

Navy Spy Delisle To Keep Rank, Salary

Sub-Lt. Jeffrey Paul Delisle, who has pleaded guilty to selling military secrets to Russia, still holds his rank and receives a salary, the Department of National Defence confirmed to CBC News.

But that may not last forever if the Canadian Forces follows the precedent set in the case of convicted murderer Russell Williams, who was stripped of his rank as colonel and denied severance pay.

Delisle, 41, pleaded guilty in a Halifax court on Wednesday to breach of trust and two counts of passing information to a foreign entity between July 2007 and Jan. 13, 2011. The offences happened in Ottawa and Kingston, Ont., and Halifax and Bedford, N.S., where he lived.

While Delisle has pleaded guilty, he has not yet been sentenced. His sentencing hearing is set for Jan. 10 and Jan. 12.

A spokesperson with the Department of National Defence declined to comment further on Delisle's case, saying the matter is still before the court. They confirmed he is still a member "in good standing" of the Canadian Forces.

Only the Queen or her representative in Canada, the Governor General, can strip an officer of his or her commission.

Delisle walked into the Russian Embassy in Ottawa in 2007 and offered to sell secrets to that country's military intelligence agency, beginning an espionage career that lasted almost four years.

Delisle was posted to the security unit HMCS Trinity, an intelligence facility at the naval dockyard in Halifax. It tracks vessels entering and exiting Canadian waters via satellites, drones and underwater devices.

While there he worked on a system called the Stone Ghost linking the "Five Eyes" allies: the United States, Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

Delisle was paid between $2,800 and $3,000 a month by the Russians for the information.

The maximum sentence for communicating information to a foreign entity is life in prison.

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