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Canada's new defense HQ bugged

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Canada's Minister of Justice Rob Nicholson takes part in a press conference on November 10, 2010 in Washington, DC (AFP/File)

Electronic eavesdropping devices have been discovered at a former high-tech company campus in Ottawa slated to become Canada's new military headquarters, local media said Tuesday.

The daily Ottawa Citizen reported that workers preparing the former Nortel complex for the Department of National Defense discovered the bugs.

However, the newspaper added, it was not clear whether the listening devices were recently planted or left behind after industrial espionage targeting Nortel.

Broadcaster CTV, meanwhile, said the discovery has prompted the military to rethink its move from a downtown office tower complex to the campus on the outskirts of the city, due to security concerns.

Canadian Defense Minister Rob Nicholson's office did not reply to a request for comment.

Last year the Wall Street Journal reported that hackers using passwords stolen from Nortel executives had downloaded technical papers, research and development reports, employee emails and other documents from the company over a 10-year period.

It cited a Nortel internal investigation, which determined the hackers were likely operating from China.

Spying software had been so deeply hidden on employee computers that it took the company years to figure out the extent of the problem.

Nortel, once Canada's largest company, filed for bankruptcy in 2009.