Retraction after Canadian coin rumour
Date: Sunday, January 14 2007
Retraction after Cdn coin rumour
By JIM BRONSKILL
OTTAWA (CP) - It seems there's no danger of your spare change spying on you after all.
A U.S. government defence agency has suddenly retracted its claim that Canadian coins containing tiny transmitters were planted on at least three American contractors who visited Canada.
It's the latest twist in an intriguing cash caper.
Canadians began carefully scrutinizing their loonies following the Virginia-based Defense Security Service's claim that specially doctored coins were a new tool of the trade for shadowy figures out to steal sensitive U.S. military technology.
"On at least three separate occasions between October 2005 and January 2006, cleared defense contractors' employees traveling through Canada have discovered radio frequency transmitters embedded in Canadian coins placed on their persons," said the service's annual counterintelligence report for 2006.
The document did not indicate what sort of coins were involved, and a service spokeswoman said details of the incidents were classified.
Intelligence experts surmised the miniature transmitters in the supposedly rigged coins might be used to track the movements of defence industry personnel.
Knowing their whereabouts could help determine who they were meeting and possibly reveal dealings with suspect countries.
In a statement posted late Friday on its website, the Defense Security Service said the coin claims were based on a report provided to the agency.
"The allegations, however, were found later to be unsubstantiated following an investigation into the matter," the statement said, adding that "the 2006 annual report should not have contained this information."
[Proofreader's note: this article was edited for spelling and typos on January 15, 2007]