Canada sought Olympics nuclear help from U.S.

Canada asked the United States to help plan against a nuclear threat during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, plus assist in everything from mundane tasks such as mail screening to troop transportation, reveal diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks.

"Although unlikely, Canada could potentially face the threat of an improvised or military nuclear device being constructed in, or imported to, its national territory," says a Canadian diplomatic request dated June 3, 2009. "Canada does not currently possess the capability for the rendering safe of a nuclear device."

The Canadian note was quoted in a leaked U.S. diplomatic cable released to CBC News via whistleblower website WikiLeaks. It was one of several Olympics-related cables that detail Canada's requests ahead of the February 2010 Games and American observations of their preparations.

It's not clear from subsequent notes whether the U.S. did indeed provide the requested assistance.

The cables said that in the possible event of "catastrophic scenarios," Canada wanted the U.S. to help with "render safe" operations and transportation of potential improvised nuclear devices or dirty bombs.

Canada also asked that U.S. experts be on standby on American soil to help with evacuating and treating "mass casualties" of a potential "chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear attack."

In addition to the nuclear expertise, the Canadian government also wanted help in transporting its troops and their equipment if catastrophe were to occur.

The diplomatic cable outlines a request for "strategic lift capability" able to transport a Canadian Forces Operational Reserve of up to 350 personnel, plus their weapons, winter equipment, vehicles and 72 hours worth of food.

Another request asked for enough helicopters to transport 130 Canadian Forces personnel, plus their weapons, some vehicles, winter equipment and 24 hours worth of food from an airport to an affected area.

Help from the U.S. Postal Service in mail screening and from other departments with marine security along the West Coast was also requested.

The U.S. government intended to waive "reimbursement" of any "incremental operational expenses incurred during the provision of this assistance," the Canadian document states.