OTTAWA — The federal government is saying little about an apparent breach involving classified information - one that could snowball into a serious compromise of closely guarded secrets.
Digital hacking collective Anonymous made good late Monday on a threat to release what it says is the first of many sensitive documents.
It posted online what appeared to be a 2014 Treasury Board memo about funding of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service's overseas communications capabilities. But as of Tuesday morning, the document could not be accessed through the original link.
It was disabled by Lunaweb Ltd., which runs upload site DocDroid, "because it seems to be leaked'' and DocDroid is "simply not the right place,'' said Lunaweb's Josias Montag.
"Such documents should be published on WikiLeaks; they do have the resources and experts for such things."
The Canadian Press could not confirm the document's authenticity and Jeremy Laurin, a spokesman for Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney, would not comment.
Laurin said Tuesday that officials "continue to monitor this situation closely."
One senior official said it was still unclear Tuesday as to whether the document, which appears to be genuine, was indeed pilfered by hackers, or simply leaked.
"There are obviously concerns about the document being released, except there's no confirmation it has been obtained through a hacking," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment publicly.
Anonymous has carried out cyberattacks against governments, corporations and others in the name of free speech, Internet liberties and anti-capitalist causes.
In a video statement discussing the document, Anonymous denounced the July 16 fatal shooting of a supporter in Dawson Creek, B.C., during a confrontation with the RCMP.
Officers challenged and subsequently fired on the man, who was wearing a Guy Fawkes mask - an Anonymous trademark - outside a public hearing for a dam project to be built by BC Hydro. A knife was recovered from the scene.
The man has been identified as 48-year-old James McIntyre. B.C.'s police watchdog, the Independent Investigations Office, is probing the death.
The Anonymous video begins with a moment of silence for McIntyre, "our fallen friend." The shadowy, loosely knit collective is demanding the immediate arrest of the RCMP officers involved.
"Unless and until that happens we will be releasing stunning secrets at irregular intervals."
The video harshly criticizes the Harper government, police, security agencies and corporations, saying they have branded "anyone opposing their fossil-fuel agenda to be a terrorist."
It also denounces "covert, warrantless surveillance" and the government's recently passed omnibus security bill, known as C-51.
"Anonymous has been collecting bits of evidence and making plans for many months," the video says.
The group seems to have selected the initial document for posting because - if authentic - it shows federal ministers made decisions over at least a four-year period to update security systems domestically and internationally.
"Congratulations, you left many doors open for us," the video says. "We are now privy to many of Stephen Harper's cherished secrets.''
Anonymous has claimed responsibility for a June attack that shut down several federal sites and wreaked havoc with email - billing it as a protest against the federal security legislation that broadened CSIS's mandate, boosted information-sharing and expanded no-fly list powers.
No personal information was compromised during the cyberattack, Blaney said at the time.
Regardless, the federal official said Tuesday, there is obviously interest in "trying to identify these hackers, it goes without saying."
"All the agencies involved in security ... we'd really like to be able to put an end to this."
Last week Blaney's department announced $142 million in new digital security spending, which will fund initiatives including an RCMP investigative team to combat high-priority cybercrime.
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