Friday, 29 September 2017

Canada’s new plans for National Security                                                     

Prior to 1984, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Canada’s federal police) Security Service was responsible for providing security intelligence services to the Government of Canada. Then it became publicly known that members of that police force were breaking the law in their attempts to catch terrorist suspects. What really did them in was an event that causes me to wonder what was in the minds of those RCMP fools who were conducting the investigations. The event that did them in was the burning down of a farmer’s barn so that the RCMP could put the blame on a certain terrorist cell.

Because of the Service’s involvement in illegal activities, it led to the creation of a Commission of Inquiry Concerning Certain Activities of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (McDonald Commission) and subsequently, the Commission) was created.  

I wrote my views on this subject of terrorism in a report I had sent to the federal government and I was subsequently invited to appear before the Commission with my views on the subject.

Commissioner McDonald asked me not to state my recommendations publicly at the hearing re my proposal of a creation of a civilian anti-terrorism investigative body but to give him my views on whether or not the RCMP should be the lead investigative body investigating terrorism in Canada. To say that I publicly thrashed the RCMP at that hearing is an understatement.

I had previously submitted in my plan to the commissioner of the Royal Commission that could put some control over the role of the RCMP in fighting terrorism in Canada. What I had in mind was an organization outside of the authority of the RCMP that would be in charge of fighting terrorism in Canada. It was to be somewhat like what Homeland Security is in the United States nowadays. I also proposed that the new anti-terrorism organization be governed by a committee comprised of members of the Canadian Parliament. The government subsequently created the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSI) on the recommendation of the McDonald Commission.

Parliament s00n after disbanded the RCMP Security Service when it created the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) in 1984. CSIS is subject to a high level of civilian oversight. (members of the Canadian Parliament)

CSIS is Canada's primary national intelligence service. It is responsible for collecting, analyzing, reporting and also disseminating intelligence on threats to Canada's national security, and conducting operations, covert and overt, within Canada and abroad. It also reports to and advises the government of Canada on national security issues and situations that threaten the security of the nation.

The RCMP does also play an important role in fighting terrorism because they conduct a great deal of the investigations (similar to the FBI) and make the arrests of terrorist suspects.                            

However, CSIS also conducts operations, covert and overt, within Canada and abroad. It also reports to and advises the government of Canada on national security issues and situations that threaten the security of the nation.

Its headquarters are located in OttawaOntario, in a purpose-built facility completed in 1995. It also has offices in other Canadian cities. Regionally, Canada is broken down into six subordinate regions; the Atlantic, Quebec, Ottawa, Toronto, Prairie, and British Columbia Regions.

These regions are responsible for investigating any threat to Canada and its allies as defined by the CSIS Act. They liaise with the various federal, provincial, municipal and private sector entities found within their areas of responsibility. They also conduct various outreach programs with different community and cultural groups, universities, and private sector organizations in an effort to provide a better understanding, and to clear up any misunderstandings of what CSIS' role is.[19] All these regions also border the United States and they therefore maintain contact with their U.S. federal counterparts and those of the five nations previously listed in this article.

CSIS is responsible to Parliament through the Minister of Public Safety, but is also overseen by the Federal Court and the Security Intelligence Review Committee.

There is no restriction in the CSIS Act on where CSIS may collect "security intelligence" or information relating to threats to the security of Canada. The agency may collect information on threats to Canada or Canadians from anywhere in the world. While CSIS is often viewed as a defensive security intelligence agency, it is not a domestic agency. CSIS officers work domestically and internationally in their efforts to monitor and counter threats to Canadian security.

There is a distinction between "security intelligence" and "foreign intelligence". Security intelligence pertains to national security threats (e.g., home-grown and foreign terrorism and espionage). Foreign intelligence involves information collection relating to the political or economic activities of foreign states. According to Section 16 of the CSIS Act, the agency collects this type of "foreign intelligence" within Canada.

CSIS is neither a police agency nor is it a part of the military. As an intelligence agency, the primary role of CSIS is not law enforcement. Investigation of criminal activity is left to the RCMP and local (provincial, regional or municipal) police agencies. CSIS, like counterparts such as the United Kingdom Security Service (MI5) and the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), is a civilian agency. CSIS is subject to review by the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) as well as other legislative checks and balances. The agency carries out its functions in accordance with the CSIS Act, which governs and defines its powers and activities.

Canadian police, military agencies and numerous other government departments may maintain their own "intelligence" components (i.e. to analyze criminal intelligence or military strategic intelligence). The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade maintains a Security and Intelligence Bureau to review and analyze overtly acquired information. The bureau plays a coordinating and policy role. While not an intelligence agency, it is responsible for the security of Department of Foreign Affairs personnel around the world. However, these agencies are not to be confused with the more encompassing work of larger, more dedicated "intelligence agencies" such as CSIS, MI5, MI6, or the CIA.

As Canada's contributor of human intelligence to the Five Eyes, CSIS works closely with the intelligence agencies of the United StatesUnited KingdomAustralia, and New Zealand. Under the post–World War II  Quadripartite (UKUSA) Agreement, intelligence information is shared between the intelligence agencies of these five countries.

Permission to put a subject under surveillance is granted by the Target Approval and Review Committee. Security Liaison Officers (SLOs) of CSIS are posted at Canadian embassies and consulates to gather security-related intelligence from other nations. This information may be gathered from other national intelligence agencies, law enforcement services and other sources. SLOs also assess potential immigrants to Canada for security issues.

In another article in the future, I will tell you about how Canada intends to deal with terrorism in Canada. 

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