11/17/2012 06:20 EST | Updated 01/17/2013 05:12 EST

McCain Calls Canada's Navy Spy Scandal 'A Sad Story'

Canadian Defence Minister Peter MacKay, left, listens as U.S. John McCain speaks at the Halifax International Security Forum in Halifax on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012. Delegates are discussing pressing security issues, including the impact of the American presidential election, the turmoil in Syria, cybersecurity and modern warfare. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Andrew Vaughan)
U.S. Senator John McCain says people who work in high security positions should give up some of their civilian rights in light of Canada's recent international espionage scandal.

At Halifax International Security Forum some of the delegates from 50 countries reacted to the trial of Sub-Lt. Jeffrey Paul Delisle, the Canadian who pleaded guilty to selling military secrets to Russia in October.

During his posting at the security unit HMCS Trinity he worked on a system called the Stone Ghost linking the "Five Eyes" allies: the United States, Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

"From time to time it still goes on and it's just part of the reason why we have to have these people who work in these sensitive areas probably give up some of the rights that ordinary citizens have such as lie detectors and those kinds of things to make sure they remain loyal. It's just a sad story," said the former presidential candidate.

But McCain said he has confidence in Canada's handling of the case.

Delisle will be sentenced in January.

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