US defence contractors were allegedly given Canadian dollar coins equipped with radio frequency identification (RFID) transmitters when they travelled in Canada, according to a Pentagon report.
According to a report from the Defense Security Service, part of the US Department of Defense, the contractors were given the special-issue coins by undisclosed sources.
“On at least three separate occasions between October 2005 and January 2006, cleared defense contractors' employees travelling through Canada have discovered radio frequency transmitters embedded in Canadian coins on their persons,” reads the Defence Security Service report.
But following widespread publicity about the case in North America, a spokesman for the Defense Security Service has played down the report.
It has since been claimed that no transmitters were actually found in the coins, even though they appeared to have been tampered with.
Questions are now being asked why the information about the “trackable” coins was included in the report, which contained information on other reported incidents affecting US defence personnel.
Other reported incidents included a defence employee being seduced by a foreign national to gain his network security details, and another contractor reporting his suspicions about a pen he was writing with at a sensitive meeting.
The Canadian Globe and Mail newspaper quoted a Pentagon official who played down the coins report. He said that while some odd-looking Canadian coins had briefly triggered suspicions in the US, the fears had proved groundless.
“We have no evidence to indicate anything connected with these coins posed a risk or danger,” said the official.
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