By The Canadian Press - Wednesday, February 27, 2013 - 0 Comments
MONTREAL – The man once entrusted to keep an eye on Canada’s spy agency…
MONTREAL – The man once entrusted to keep an eye on Canada’s spy agency is now a wanted man.
An arrest warrant is out for Arthur Porter, the former head of the CSIS watchdog agency.
He is among the five people named in arrest warrants issued today by Quebec’s anti-corruption squad, in a case of alleged fraud in the construction of a Montreal mega-hospital.
The others are: former SNC Lavalin senior executives Pierre Duhaime and Riadh Ben Aisa, Yanai Elbaz and Jeremy Morris.
The warrants say the men are wanted on numerous charges — including fraud, breach of trust and document forgery. They say Porter and Elbaz are wanted under suspicion of having accepted bribes from some of the others.
Porter was the director general of the McGill University Hospital Centre when the alleged fraud occurred.
He was also head of the Security Intelligence Review Committee, which he joined in 2008 and became the chairman of in 2010.
Porter resigned under suspicious circumstances in 2011, and has since left the country. After that affair, the federal government tightened the screening process for nominees to the intelligence committee.
Quebec’s provincial police anti-corruption squad has made numerous arrests over the last year in relation to ongoing scandals in the construction industry.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, October 10, 2012 at 5:35 PM - 0 Comments
Paul McLeod tries to wrap his head around the dispute between the Harper government and the Parliamentary Budget Officer.
Taxpayer-funded lawyers are about to take on taxpayer-funded lawyers to keep tax spending secret from taxpayers. If this already sounds silly, it just gets worse. Parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page has asked for details of budget cuts. He’s given today as a final deadline before he calls in the lawyers. The government has refused to comply and is readying its own legal guns.
By the end of the day, Page will have to pinch himself and decide whether to launch a court battle over something as inane and obvious as Parliament’s right to know how tax dollars are being spent. Unfortunately, it looks like he has no choice.
By Jessica Allen - Tuesday, October 9, 2012 at 3:08 PM - 0 Comments
Hint: I never wanted to be a Bond girl. I wanted to be 007 himself.
When our James Bond special commemorative issue celebrating 50 years of 007 in film arrived in the office, I experienced an awakening; a Proustian moment, if you will. “Holy geeze,” I thought to myself, slowly flipping through the 100 pages of photos, stories and incredible graphics. “James Bond has defined me as the human being I am today in more ways than I care to admit. Nevertheless, here they are:
Born: Legend has it I weighed close to 12 lb. Auspiciously drop 1.5 lb. in first day, as though I knew preparation for a life of disguises must start now.
Age 4: Brother and I build bombs from Lego and odd wires we find around the house. Learn how to diffuse said bombs in under 10 seconds, saving both ourselves and our family.
Age 5 to 6: Watch first 007 film, Moonraker. Take up smoking crayons and drinking Kool-Aid martinis. Try to charm classmates in the kindergarten play kitchen with rehearsed slick moves. Dress up as the villain Jaws for Halloween by fashioning steel teeth from bubble gum. Nobody gets it, but me.
By Michael Friscolanti - Thursday, October 4, 2012 at 11:00 AM - 0 Comments
Khadr lived in Guantánamo Bay far longer than Canada. What will happen now that he’s ‘home’?
In the spring of 2004, when Omar Khadr was a still a teenager, a Foreign Affairs bureaucrat flew to Guantánamo Bay for a jailhouse meeting. An internal government memo—secret at the time, but now part of Khadr lore—famously described what the Canadian visitor found: a “thoroughly screwed-up young man” who had been “abused” by every adult in his life, from his radical parents to fellow detainees. “Before he is returned to Canada (if this were to be a possibility) some thought should be given to managing this process,” the memo continued. “The social service agencies should play a major role.”
Khadr, of course, was still years away from coming home. Shot and captured on an Afghan battlefield, and shipped to Cuba shortly after his 16th birthday, he grew from boy to man behind the world’s most infamous bars. Along the way, he learned to survive and endure, not just the incessant interrogations, but the manipulation of older, more sinister cellmates. As Khadr told one psychiatrist in 2010, just four months before pleading guilty to war crimes: “I grew up a little bit more and I became more independent in my thoughts. Right now, nobody can influence me to do anything.”
As desperate as he was to escape Guantánamo, Khadr became accustomed to the rhythms and the routine, as prisoners so often do. Popular with the jailed and jailers alike, he spent much of his incarceration in a communal lock-up, sharing meals and prayers and games of soccer with other detainees. He watched television. He played basketball. After a decade inside the wire, Khadr understood how to navigate the strange world of Gitmo—and how to get things, from acne cream to “special comfort socks” to more juices and salads in his lunch. He saw a doctor three separate times just for his dandruff.
By Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press - Monday, September 17, 2012 at 5:51 PM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – Canada’s top spy has rejected a call from a federal watchdog for more scrutiny of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service’s human rights record.
OTTAWA – Canada’s top spy has rejected a call from a federal watchdog for more scrutiny of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service’s human rights record.
In a newly declassified memo, CSIS director Dick Fadden dismisses the Canadian Human Rights Commission’s recommendation that national security agencies do more to ensure they are not taking part in racial profiling or other objectionable practices.
“I am confident in the service’s existing human rights policies and procedures, as well as our accountability and review structures,” Fadden says in the January 2012 memo to Public Safety Minister Vic Toews.
“We have taken aggressive proactive steps to prevent discrimination and profiling in the service, and our investigation and reporting are pursued to protect Canadians and not out of any discriminatory bias.”
The memo — initially classified secret — was provided to The Canadian Press by Mike Larsen, a criminology instructor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in British Columbia, who obtained it under the Access to Information Act.
Fadden’s memo came two months after the human rights commission tabled a special report to Parliament urging the government to bring in legislative amendments that would underline the importance of respect for human rights in the policies and operations of CSIS, the RCMP and other security agencies.
The changes would also require each organization to have a human rights accountability structure in place that would enable it to gather data, measure performance and take action to improve. In addition, the security agencies would have to report publicly and regularly on their human rights records.
“The effectiveness of these organizations depends in part on their capacity to earn and maintain the trust of the general public,” the commission’s report says. “Respect for human rights is not just a legal obligation; it is critical to earning that trust.
“Analysis of a decade of research clearly shows that there are no means to assess the human rights performance of Canada’s national security organizations.”
The report notes that concerns have been raised about the profiling of individuals in the post-9-11 era, and that specific cases have linked Canadian officials and security organizations to the abuse of Canadians’ rights at the hands of governments in other countries.
For instance, a federal inquiry concluded that Ottawa telecommunications engineer Maher Arar suffered torture in a Syrian prison likely as a result of flawed information the RCMP passed to the United States. The inquiry prompted numerous changes within federal security agencies.
In an interview, Larsen said the publication of data about the ethnicity and citizenship of people interviewed by CSIS would increase transparency.
In his memo, Fadden insists CSIS is already subject to a “rigorous accountability and review regime.”
The Public Safety Department echoed his position, saying in a statement that Canada has very strong judicial oversight of national security activities conducted by law enforcement and intelligence agencies.
“While the department has not officially responded to the report, legislation and policies enacted by the government of Canada are done so in strict accordance with the Constitution, including the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as well as the full range of human rights and privacy legislation that exists in Canada.”
The department also noted there are review bodies that keep an eye on CSIS, the RCMP and the Communications Security Establishment, Canada’s electronic eavesdropping agency.
The human rights commission had no immediate comment on the federal statement.
However, in its report, the commission says the Security Intelligence Review Committee, which monitors CSIS, and the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP deal with human rights issues only “on an ad hoc basis.”
“This approach does not provide a comprehensive look at potential human rights trends or issues.”
The Conservative government recently abolished the inspector general of CSIS, an independent watchdog that served as the “eyes and ears” of the public safety minister regarding the intelligence service’s activities.
The government says the inspector general’s former duties will be assumed by the intelligence review committee. Critics say the move will result in less scrutiny of CSIS.
CSIS accountability is becoming “less robust rather than more robust,” said Larsen.
“It’s an alarming direction.”
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, August 31, 2012 at 11:36 AM - 0 Comments
Ministerial instructions to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, RCMP and Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) leave the door open to the kind of information exchanges that led to Arar’s torture in Syria a decade ago, says Toronto lawyer Lorne Waldman.
“It’s extremely disappointing that after all of these years, and after all of the effort, we’re not any further ahead than we were,” Waldman said in an interview.
The New Democrats and Liberals registered their objections earlier this week.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, August 25, 2012 at 12:59 AM - 0 Comments
The Canadian Press reports that directives have been issued to the RCMP and the Canada Border Services Agency to explain how the agencies can use information when torture might be involved.
As with the directive to CSIS, the instructions from Mr. Toews to the RCMP and the border agency apply to information sharing with foreign government agencies, militaries and international organizations. They say Canada “does not condone the use of torture” and is party to international agreements that prohibit torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.
The directives add that “terrorism is the top national security priority” of the government and it is essential that the RCMP and border agency maintain strong relationships with foreign entities and share information with them, as well as with domestic agencies. They say that in “exceptional circumstances” the RCMP or border agency “may need to share the most complete information in its possession,” including information foreign agencies likely obtained through torture, “in order to mitigate a serious risk of loss of life, injury, or substantial damage or destruction of property before it materializes.” “In such rare circumstances, ignoring such information solely because of its source would represent an unacceptable risk to public safety.”
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, April 27, 2012 at 9:00 AM - 0 Comments
As noted yesterday, the budget implementation bill tabled yesterday by the Conservatives numbers 431 pages of legislation. Included therein: changes to food regulation, an overhaul of environmental regulations, the repeal of climate change accountability legislation, changes to the protection of fish habitats and the elimination of the CSIS inspector general.
Speaking to reporters after QP yesterday, Nathan Cullen, the new opposition House leader, was unimpressed.
They are doing this simply to curry favour with their best friends in the oil patch. This is all about pipelines. This is about projects that don’t have the merit on their own to stand up to Canadian law. So what they’re doing is destroying Canadian law. The part of the Fisheries Act that is being destroyed here is the most significant environmental protection that we have. It applies to just about everything that we do and it now puts essentially an open gate on every project that the oil industry wants to put forward. It’s fundamental. And the fact that they bury it deep within a budget implementation bill shows that the government knows that on the surface Canadians will not tolerate this, would not allow even a debate …
If Canadians knew the truth of what’s hiding in the depths of this bill, they would be outraged. Now I’m not talking about one part of the political spectrum. I think this goes right across the board that people who like to fish, who like to hunt, people who like to have a clean environment are going to be deeply concerned with a government that won’t even have a discussion or a debate about changing fundamentally the way that we approach protecting our environment. It’s hugely dangerous and quite offensive to me as a Canadian.
Elizabeth May was equally concerned. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, February 13, 2012 at 11:29 AM - 0 Comments
All of this is to say that the conversation about what to do with tips from torturing states should not be about “never”. Instead, it should be about what the “extraordinary circumstances” are that Minister Toews speaks about, and what then can be done with the information. “Yes” to a search of Flight 182′s baggage. “No” to deporting someone on the strength of problematic information. Where to draw the line? In essence, that is the dilemma with which the Ottawa Principles try to grapple.
As for Minister Toew’s directive: Where I fault the directive is in its lack of precision: what does it mean by extraordinary circumstances, and what then can happen to the information. Where can it creep? A little Ottawa Principles-like language would be preferred.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, February 9, 2012 at 6:14 PM - 0 Comments
“Mr. Speaker,” the NDP House leader posited, “you cannot be half for torture. You are either for or against.”
Given those choices, the Defence Minister decided to go with latter. ”Mr. Speaker, our government has always respected the law and our position is clear,” Peter MacKay reported. “Canada does not approve of the use of torture and does not engage in this practice.”
Alas, this simple equation seems only to make perfect sense if you leave it at that. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, February 7, 2012 at 6:30 PM - 0 Comments
“As long as there is a market for information derived from torture,” he posited, “torture will exist.”
Mr. Harris’ concern this day was the government’s quiet decision to allow for the use of information potentially obtained through torture. This after publicly renouncing the suggestion that it was operating under any such policy.
“Why,” the NDP critic wondered, “is the government getting Canada into the torture business?” Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, February 7, 2012 at 11:09 AM - 0 Comments
As I reported in September, the Harper government quietly directed CSIS in December 2010 that it could make use of information obtained through torture—this after publicly renouncing a CSIS lawyer’s public testimony that such information might be used. Jim Bronskill has now obtained the full text of the ministerial directive issued by Vic Toews.
The latest directive says in “exceptional circumstances” where there is a threat to human life or public safety, urgency may require CSIS to “share the most complete information available at the time with relevant authorities, including information based on intelligence provided by foreign agencies that may have been derived from the use of torture or mistreatment.” In such rare circumstances, it may not always be possible to determine how a foreign agency obtained the information, and that ignoring such information solely because of its source would represent “an unacceptable risk to public safety.” ”Therefore, in situations where a serious risk to public safety exists, and where lives may be at stake, I expect and thus direct CSIS to make the protection of life and property its overriding priority, and share the necessary information — properly described and qualified — with appropriate authorities.”
The directive says the final decision to investigate and analyze information that may have been obtained by methods condemned by the Canadian government falls to the CSIS director or his deputy director for operations — a decision to be made “in accordance with Canada’s legal obligations.” Finally, it says the minister is to be notified “as appropriate” of a decision to use such information.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, December 3, 2011 at 9:00 AM - 14 Comments
The Montreal Gazette obtains a CSIS memo that raises more questions about CSIS and the use of information obtained through torture.
In the letter, Judd urges the minister to fight an amendment to C-3 proposed by Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh that would prohibit CSIS and the courts from using any information obtained from torture or “derivative information” — information initially obtained from torture but subsequently corroborated through legal means.
“This amendment, if interpreted to mean that ‘derivative information’ is inadmissible, could render unsustainable the current security certificate proceedings,” Judd writes. “Even if interpreted more narrowly to exclude only information obtained from sources and foreign agencies who, on the low threshold of “reasonable grounds” may have obtained information by way of torture, the amendment would still significantly hinder the Service’s collection and analysis functions.”
As I noted in September, a ministerial direction issued by Public Safety Minister Vic Toews in 2010 seems to allow for the use of information obtained through torture—a possibility the government dismissed after it was raised by a CSIS lawyer in 2009.
By macleans.ca - Monday, November 7, 2011 at 11:31 AM - 7 Comments
Federal government rumored to be weighing foreign espionage option
Now that is has a parliamentary majority, the Conservative government of Stephen Harper may soon dust off plans for endowing the Canadian Security Intelligence Service with powers to conduct covert operations abroad, writes the National Post’s John Ivison. Currently, CSIS can only engage in foreign espionage to stave off a known, direct threat to Canada. In the previous government, hot potato cases such as Omar Khadr’s and Adil Charkaoui’s forced the Conservatives to shelve the plan, adds Ivison citing anonymous sources. Now, though, they seem ready to push for expanding CSIS’s role abroad once again.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, September 28, 2011 at 12:00 PM - 10 Comments
Two and a half years ago, Geoffrey O’Brian, a CSIS lawyer told the public safety committee that the agency would use information that may have been obtained through torture if faced with potentially grave circumstances.
Frankly, I’m tempted to say that there are four words that can provide a simple answer, and those four words are either “yes, but” or “no, but”, and the “yes, but” is, do we use information that comes from torture? And the answer is that we only do so if lives are at stake.
Peter Van Loan, public safety minister at the time, rebutted that a day later, saying such information is “discounted” and that Mr. O’Brian had engaged in “some kind of hypothetical discussion.” Jim Judd, CSIS director at the time, said Mr. O’Brian might have been “confused” and Mr. O’Brian subsequently retracted his remarks.
But a year ago, the Canadian Press obtained briefing notes for CSIS director Richard Fadden. And those notes outlined a position similar to that expressed by Mr. O’Brian.
CSIS will share information received from an international partner with the police and other authorities “even in the rare and extreme circumstance that we have some doubt as to the manner in which the foreign agency acquired it,” say the notes prepared for use by CSIS director Dick Fadden. The notes say that although such information would never be admissible in court to prosecute someone posing an imminent threat, “the government must nevertheless make use of the information to attempt to disrupt that threat before it materializes.”
This brings us now to the Security Intelligence Review Committee report released this month on CSIS and the handling of Afghan detainees. Contained within that report are references to a deputy director operations directive issued in 2008 and a ministerial direction issued in December 2010. At the bottom of page 14, SIRC states as follows. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, September 23, 2011 at 12:00 PM - 0 Comments
Margin notes on CSIS documents related to the conversation, marked “Secret” and now in the possession of The Globe and Mail, highlight the fact that Mr. Abdelrazik was only on a U.S. no-fly list – insufficient to keep him from returning to Canada. It’s unclear what transpired during the conversation, but soon afterward both Air Canada and Lufthansa abruptly cancelled Mr. Abdelrazik’s ticket home. He would spend another five years in forced exile.
The “Canadian Eyes Only” documents also reveal for the first time officially that U.S. security agents wanted Mr. Abdelrazik shipped to Guantanamo Bay. If CSIS managed to delay Mr. Abdelrazik’s return in 2004, it had the effect of buying time while U.S. agents worked to render him to the notorious camp for suspected terrorists.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, September 19, 2011 at 8:45 AM - 13 Comments
CSIS officials both exonerate and ridicule Bob Dechert.
Senior CSIS and RCMP officers confirmed to CTV that the Chinese news agency functions as an intelligence arm of China. Officials say Rong was on their radar, but the Chinese news agency is involved in a different type of espionage than spying on political figures…
One senior security officer told CTV News that Dechert displayed a “colossal lack of judgment. He was incredibly stupid to get involved with her.” The official said Dechert should “have known better.”
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, September 15, 2011 at 4:38 PM - 7 Comments
The Security Intelligence Review Committee has released its review of how CSIS handled Afghan detainees and its relationship with Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security.
The Service’s relationship with the NDS consisted of [REDCATED] exchanges of information, [REDACTED].
Notwithstanding this productive working relationship, CSIS’s assessment of the NDS was both cautious and measured. [REDACTED] CSIS continued to stress that most allegations of human rights abuses were unconfirmed, [REDACTED].
In the course of this review, SIRC found no indication that in the period during which they conducted detainee interviews, CSIS officers posted to Afghanistan ever had firsthand knowledge of abuse, mistreatment or torture of detainees by Afghan authorities.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, August 10, 2011 at 3:27 PM - 40 Comments
Without commenting on Abousfian Abdelrazik, mind you, Jason Kenney suggests we put our faith in the government in cases such as his.
“I read the protected confidential dossiers on such individuals, and I can tell you that, without commenting on any one individual, some of this intelligence makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck,” he said. “I just think people should be patient and thoughtful and give the government and its agencies the benefit of the doubt.”
But, as Campbell Clark notes in that story, the leak of CSIS documentation raises plenty of questions. Indeed, supporters of Adil Charkaoui want an inquiry into that leak.
By macleans.ca - Wednesday, May 18, 2011 at 1:32 PM - 9 Comments
Secret documents reveal spy agency flags potential terrorists in Canada for the U.S.
Thanks to a recent smattering of confidential documents leaked by WikiLeaks, it has been revealed that CSIS secretly gave the names of 27 Canadian citizens to the U.S. during the years 2009 and 2010, effectively flagging them as potential terrorists. The names of 14 foreign nationals living in Canada were handed over as well, the documents reveal. According to the CBC’s Neil Macdonald, some of the people were named solely because of their associations with other suspects. Usually, when Canada points out terror suspects to the U.S., their names are added to a “Visa Viper list,” meaning they are unlikely to be admitted to the United States. Quoting unnamed security officials, Macdonald said CSIS hands names to the U.S. because it feels the consequences of a terrorist attack on the American soil originating north of the border “could be cataclysmic for Canada.”
By Michael Frisconlanti and Martin Patriquin - Monday, January 31, 2011 at 3:47 AM - 4 Comments
Newly released documents reveal why CSIS placed Hani Al Telbani on Canada’s ‘no-fly list’
It’s been 2½ years since Hani Al Telbani, luggage in tow, was sent home from Montreal’s Trudeau Airport—the first-ever casualty of Canada’s “no-ﬂy list.” Since then, the young Muslim has proclaimed his innocence again and again, insisting that he is “not a danger to the public” and has been “unjustly associated with terrorism.” Telbani is so certain of his version of events that he is even suing the federal government, demanding $550,000 for the “stigma, humiliation, contempt, hatred and ridicule” he has endured because of Ottawa’s “errors.”
Only now, after its own legal fight, can Maclean’s finally reveal the other side of his story.
According to newly released evidence from CSIS, Canada’s spy agency, Hani Al Telbani was one of the devoted administrators of a notorious but now defunct Web forum dedicated to “virtual jihad.” From his fifth-floor apartment in the suburb of Longueuil, Que., the computer engineering grad allegedly posted messages and offered detailed technical support to fellow members of al-Ekhlaas, a militant, password-protected site frequented by thousands of hard-core Islamists—and used by al-Qaeda to broadcast fresh messages from Osama bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri. Telbani’s online alias was “Mujahid Taqni” (Technical Jihad).
By macleans.ca - Friday, January 7, 2011 at 12:32 PM - 17 Comments
Confidential report to minister warns of ‘clandestine efforts by foreign governments’
In a confidential report to Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, CSIS director Richard Fadden warned that “clandestine efforts by foreign governments to influence our officials, policies and communities” are ongoing, adding those targeted by the efforts are “subject to threats, coercion or potential blackmail.” Fadden wrote the report following a controversial interview with the CBC during which Canada’s top spy claimed that public officials in Canada are under the thumb of foreign governments. The investigation of foreign interference presents “several challenges” to CSIS, the director wrote, notably having to distinguish between foreign interference and legitimate lobbying.
By Michael Friscolanti - Tuesday, November 9, 2010 at 10:00 AM - 71 Comments
Murdering jihadist, victim of circumstance or model-citizen-in-the-making?
In exchange for another eight years in prison—and the chance to be a free man in Canada long before that—Omar Khadr consented to a long list of strict conditions. He cannot sue the U.S. government for damages, regardless of how many torture sessions he may (or may not) have endured inside the barbed-wire walls of Guantánamo Bay. He will never step foot on American soil for as long as he lives. And he is not allowed to profit one penny from public speaking tours or movie deals or anything else that would involve selling his saga to the highest bidder. Any such proceeds, the agreement says, will go straight “to the Government of Canada.”
Khadr has read a lot of books during his stint behind bars (from steamy Danielle Steele novels to Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom), and his pen pals include an English professor at an Edmonton university. But when he signed his name to that seven-page plea deal on Oct. 13, he received a first-hand lesson in the meaning of irony: the same government that spent many years and millions of dollars fighting to keep him out of Canada now owns the exclusive rights to his life story.
By Aaron Wherry - Sunday, September 12, 2010 at 5:36 PM - 0 Comments
March 31, 2009. Geoffrey O’Brian, a CSIS lawyer and advisor on operations and legislation, under questioning by the public safety committee, admitted there is no absolute ban on using intelligence that may have been obtained from countries with questionable human rights records on torture. He said it would be extremely rare but in a circumstance as grave as the 9/11 attacks or the Air India bombing, the executive branch has a “duty” to protect the security of its citizens, even if such information can “never” be used in a court proceeding.
April 1, 2009. Peter Van Loan said the Canadian Security Intelligence Service has been clear about rejecting information extracted through coercion. ”As a practical matter, they get intelligence from all kinds of sources, a myriad of sources. An important part of their process is to try and identify how credible that is,” Van Loan said Wednesday. ”If there’s any indication, any evidence that torture may have been used, that information is discounted.”
April 2, 2009. “I wish to clarify for the committee that CSIS certainly does not condone torture and that it is the policy of CSIS to not knowingly rely upon information that may have been obtained through torture,” Geoffrey O’Brian wrote in a letter to the House of Commons public safety committee Thursday. CSIS Director Jim Judd, who appeared before the committee on Thursday, also said O’Brian “may have been confused” in his earlier remarks. ”My supposition is that he was venturing into a hypothetical.”
Today. CSIS will share information received from an international partner with the police and other authorities “even in the rare and extreme circumstance that we have some doubt as to the manner in which the foreign agency acquired it,” say the notes prepared for use by CSIS director Dick Fadden. The notes say that although such information would never be admissible in court to prosecute someone posing an imminent threat, “the government must nevertheless make use of the information to attempt to disrupt that threat before it materializes.”
By Michael Friscolanti and Martin Patriquin - Monday, August 30, 2010 at 11:20 AM - 0 Comments
New documents reveal a fight over defining an ‘immediate threat’
For obvious reasons, Canada’s “no-fly” list is a top-secret document. Only a handful of senior government officials are privy to the file, and even the size (200 names? 2,000?) is considered classified. About the only thing the feds will confirm is that the list is based on “reliable and vetted” intelligence, and if you’re on it, you “pose an immediate threat to aviation security.”
But what does “immediate” really mean? Must an aspiring terrorist walk into an airport with plastic explosives strapped to his chest in order to qualify for the list? Do authorities need irrefutable proof that a hijacker is about to strike? Or is tough talk—on an extremist website, for example—reason enough to ban someone from the skies?