Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
National Security and Defence
Issue 15 - Evidence, April 30, 2007
OTTAWA, Monday, April 30, 2007
The Standing Committee on National Security and Defence met this day at 9:40 a.m. to examine and report on the
national security policy of Canada.
Senator Colin Kenny (Chairman) in the chair.
The Chairman: Honourable senators, I will call the meeting to order. Before we begin, I would like to introduce the
members of the committee. Senator Tommy Banks is from Alberta. He was called to the Senate following a 50-year
career in the entertainment industry. He is the chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment
and Natural Resources.
Beside him is Senator Joseph Day from New Brunswick, who is the chair of the Standing Senate Committee on
National Finance. He is a member of the bar of New Brunswick, Ontario and Quebec and a fellow of the Intellectual
Property Institute of Canada. He is also a former president and CEO of the New Brunswick Forest Products
Senator Rod Zimmer is from Winnipeg. He has had a long career in business and philanthropy and has volunteered
his services for countless charitable causes and organizations. He sits on the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and
Constitutional Affairs and also on the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications.
We are also very pleased to have with us Senator Mobina Jaffer from British Columbia. She is a lawyer with
extensive experience in refugee and immigration law. She is an active member of the community and a supporter of a
vast array of community-based organizations. Currently, she is a member of the Special Committee on the Anti-
Terrorism Act and also the Standing Senate Committees on Human Rights, Internal Economy, Legal and
Constitutional Affairs and Official languages. That is quite a list.
Honourable senators, we have before us today Mr. Jim Judd, Director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service,
CSIS. Mr. Judd has been the director of CSIS since November 2004 and joined the Department of External Affairs in
1973. He has a long and distinguished career as Secretary of the Treasury Board and Deputy Minister of National
Defence amongst other positions. We last heard from him on June 19, 2006.
Mr. Judd we understand you do not have an opening statement and we can cut to the chase.
Jim Judd, Director, Canadian Security Intelligence Service: Chase away, senator.
Senator Banks: I will begin with a question that will demonstrate my naiveté. I have been a member of this
committee since it was founded, and I do not have a clear understanding now, today, of the mandate of CSIS or the
constraints on CSIS on its general purview, partly because it has changed to a degree in the past few years. Therefore,
would you begin please by giving us an overview of what the mandate of CSIS is, as set out in the act, and the degree to
which the act, in your interpretation of it, constrains what CSIS does?
I will go on from there. I am sorry for the naiveté of the question, but I want to get a handle on where it is and what
the agency is doing?
Mr. Judd: Broadly speaking, the agency was established with its own legislation in 1984. Without getting into the
details of the legislative wording, it is a national security intelligence service whose principal focus is on threats to the
security of Canada or Canadians, wherever they may be.
The agency is also responsible for advising government on security assessments, which is to say security screening
for an array of individuals, refugees, immigrants or people seeking employment with the federal government requiring
a security clearance. We perform the same service for several provincial governments including Alberta and New
The organization's mandate is to collect intelligence and advise government with respect to threats to the security of
Canada or Canadians, and we do that through collecting information and intelligence through a variety of
We also have a mandate, at the behest of the Minister of National Defence and Minister of Foreign Affairs, to
collect what is often referred to as foreign intelligence, but only within Canada.
Senator Banks: Can you explain what ``foreign intelligence within Canada'' is, please?
Mr. Judd: It is the collecting of intelligence about the activities or intentions of foreign governments, but we only do
that if specifically requested to do so through the Minister of National Defence and the Minister of Foreign Affairs
subject to the concurrence of our minister.
The agency was established with a very all-encompassing set of political and legal controls — and probably a unique
review and complaints arrangement — where we have two independent agencies that review what we do and how we
do it throughout the year and annually. One of them, the Security Intelligence Review Committee, SIRC, also acts as a
complaints agency for CSIS activities.
Senator Banks: What is the other agency?
Mr. Judd: The Inspector General, who reports to the minister both annually on our activities over the course of the
year. The Inspector General might also conduct independent reviews of our operations and activities.
Senator Banks: I understand they deal with complaints when someone might think SIRC has been more intrusive or
a business or person has a complaint. Does either of them oversee of the efficacy of what CSIS does, or ask questions
about whether it is pursuing a particular avenue of interest?
Mr. Judd: To a large extent, they are mostly focused on our compliance with law and policy. In terms of efficacy,
judgments about what we do and how we do it. There are a range of other parts of the federal government, starting
with the minister responsible for the agency, and Public Safety Canada, which is responsible for the portfolio of
agencies under public safety. There are, of course, other parts of the government, the Treasury Board Secretariat, the
Privy Council Office, who will make judgments that are more in line with efficacy or focus issues. Are we looking at the
right things in as much detail with as much effort as in the past?
Senator Banks: When you said that one of the jobs is to look at the security of Canada as it might be affected by the
activities of foreign governments, do you mean that CSIS would look at the activities, for example, of the United States
or Iranian governments in Canada, or would you try to determine the activities and intents in the larger global sense?
Mr. Judd: Our efforts, with respect to foreign governments, are conducted only inside Canada. CSIS legislation
specifically curtails that mandate to within Canada in section 16 of their act to the extent that we obtain information
about the activities, interests, of foreign governments. It could be through the Department of Foreign Affairs or
through other agencies, such as the Communications Security Establishment, CSE.
Senator Banks: If there were a CSIS person in Bucharest, for whatever reason, would that CSIS person be expected
to look at what the Rumanian government's attitudes are now and where they are headed with respect to Canada and
also in the larger global sense? Would it report back to the Canadian government for its edification?
Mr. Judd: The CSIS person in an overseas deployment would only be reporting information that directly affected
our core national security mandate, regarding Canada or Canadians. The broader kind of reporting of which you
speak is something that the Department of Foreign Affairs is more involved in through the course of its diplomatic
reporting and monitoring of foreign governments' policies, programs, activities and so on.
Senator Banks: I assume it does that in what I would call an overt way.
Mr. Judd: Yes.
Senator Banks: I presume some of the activities of CSIS are covert and must be. Is anyone taking care of that, to
continue with my example, in Bucharest?
Mr. Judd: We do not engage in covert intelligence collection overseas in respect of the activities, policies, intentions
of foreign government, no.
Senator Banks: Does anyone do that on behalf of Canada that you know of?
Mr. Judd: The Communications Security Establishment has that capacity.
The Chairman: You seem to make mention of core national security. What is the difference between core national
security and national security?
Mr. Judd: It is an interesting question, senator. The distinction that has normally been drawn has been through
reference to core national security being direct threats to Canada or Canadians, irrespective of where they are.
Traditionally, that has excluded us. We are excluded legislatively from collecting such information overseas where it
relates to the activities of the broader, if you will, foreign policy interests and activities of foreign governments. An
example may be a specific threat that we would be concerned about that might involve a foreign government. That
would be a different issue, espionage, for example, or a government's support for terrorism.
It is a curious distinction, and it is one that has befuddled people a great deal over time. That is the best way I can
The Chairman: Perhaps it would be clearer to us then if you thought that one of the governments of the countries
surrounding Afghanistan was taking action that puts our troops at risk. Would that be a role for CSIS to report back
Mr. Judd: That would obviously be an issue of interest to us, yes.
The Chairman: Could you give us other examples that would obviously be of interest?
Mr. Judd: Some of the issues we deal with that are of direct relevance to national security would be proliferation of
weapons of mass destruction, state support for terrorism, or obviously state support, which is inevitably the case, with
respect to either foreign interference in Canada or foreign intelligence activities in Canada.
The Chairman: Is the requirement always that it is state-supported, or could it be non-state activities?
Mr. Judd: We would take an interest in non-state activities as well.
The Chairman: In fact, your interests in threats to Canada abroad tells us that the core is really fairly large, is it not?
Mr. Judd: It is rather large.
The Chairman: Could you elaborate on that, please?
Mr. Judd: One of the realities we are dealing with — and it is a much over-used term obviously — but we really live
in a global world these days. The mobility of individuals internationally, including in and out of Canada, is quite
extraordinary. In most of the threats that we have seen either here or in other Western countries, there always seem to
be international connections associated with them. These could be terrorist activity or efforts to support the
proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, or delivery systems, ballistic missiles for example, and espionage —
which inevitably has its roots outside the country.
The Chairman: Do you categorize these as files?
Mr. Judd: Currently, the preponderance of our investigative activity is terrorism-related. We have fairly active
programs in relation to weapons of mass destruction, foreign intelligence and foreign interference in Canadian affairs.
Leaving aside our security screening program, those would be the three top operational priorities for us these days.
The Chairman: Would you break down the files into sub-classifications because the matter originated in a particular
geographic location or with a particular group? I ask that to understand how many issues are at play.
Mr. Judd: I do not know if we have done a body count on files in that fashion but, at any given time, we would have
hundreds of active investigations cutting across the domain of proliferation issues, terrorism and espionage.
The Chairman: Are these occurring overseas?
Mr. Judd: Borders do not mean much any more with respect to these issues. Some of the individuals in whom we
have an interest with respect to terrorism might be connected to other individuals in as many as a dozen countries.
Obviously, espionage activities have their genesis in foreign countries. Proliferation issues can cross national frontiers,
as well as the distinction between the public and private sectors because of the role that private corporations might play
in facilitating the development of such programs. It is messy in that there are no clear distinctions between national and
international and private and public sectors.
The Chairman: Senator Banks asked you to provide the committee with an overview of the work of CSIS overseas. I
was trying to get you to give us some sense of the order of magnitude of the issues and groups that you are dealing with
overseas. Can you be more precise?
Mr. Judd: With respect to terrorism, proliferation and espionage cases, virtually all of them have an international
dimension. CSIS confines its work to dealing with the specifics of the security threats involved as distinct from the
work of other agencies with which you are familiar, such as the CIA in the U.S. and MI6 in the U.K. Those agencies
are active collectors and producers of foreign intelligence on the broader political and economic circumstance of
foreign governments. The work of CSIS is related much more specifically to threats affecting Canada in a narrower
The Chairman: Does that information help the committee to understand what the core national security is?
Mr. Judd: If you look at the national security policy of several years ago, you will find that it identified eight threats
to national security, including pandemics and natural disasters. Certainly, the ones identified at that time in terms of
terrorism, foreign espionage, foreign interference and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction constitute the
core business of CSIS.
Senator Zimmer: Mr. Judd, the chairman asked you about, and we discussed, the issues, but it might help me if we
were to look at the infrastructure. Do we originate these issues or do we look at them from within Canada? Do we have
agents positioned around the world who feed this information to personnel in Canada? How does the system work?
What is the infrastructure?
Mr. Judd: The overwhelming majority of our personnel work in Canada. We have offices across the country,
including the National Capital Region. We also have CSIS personnel serving overseas in, I believe, 30 foreign
countries. The vast majority of them act as liaison officers to foreign agencies in those countries. As well, they conduct
work to aid the immigration program on security screening.
On occasion, our overseas people perform operational activities on an ongoing basis, such as supporting the
Canadian Forces in Afghanistan. At times, we have sent people overseas when specific cases of safety and security of
Canadians has been affected, such as during the conflict in Lebanon last year and the hostage taking in Iraq about 15
months ago. It is a fairly standard feature of life for us that individuals working in Canada can and will travel overseas
with respect to a specific operation to which there is an international dimension. By and large, CSIS is preponderantly
a domestic-based service. We have approximately 2,600 employees, about 50 of whom would be situated permanently
Senator Zimmer: When such individuals work in other countries, they are called liaison officers. Are they truly that
or do we know that they are working in another capacity? Does CSIS have personnel in foreign countries who are not
called liaison officers and who might be operating undercover to look for broader issues? Does CSIS have personnel in
other countries who are not to be known to be there?
Mr. Judd: No. All CSIS liaison officers are declared to the host government as such. That is also the usual practice
for foreign governments operating in Canada. There might be instances of suspicion about a declared liaison officer
engaging in extra-curricular activities, but we do not do that. Some others from time to time do that here.
Senator Banks: Following on what you just said, would it be fair to assume that such Canadians working in foreign
countries in which Canadian interests might be affected one way or another have a big red flag on them because we
have told the relevant government that these people are liaison officers? As such, no one from CSIS enters a foreign
country to work under the guise of being an importer-exporter or otherwise completely undercover. Is that the state of
affairs at the moment?
Mr. Judd: That is the fact for our liaison staff who are permanently deployed overseas. However, we will send
people from Canada to operate covertly.
Senator Banks: Who are not announced and identified necessarily?
Mr. Judd: No.
Senator Banks: You made a distinction a moment ago between MI6 and the CIA, on the one hand, whose mandates
were somewhat familiar, and CSIS on the other. You said that CSIS, generally speaking, does not do the things that
MI6 and the CIA do. I assume from that, if we were to draw an unfair comparison, CSIS would be closest to MI5.
Mr. Judd: Correct.
Senator Banks: Does that mean that there is a deficiency in Canada's interests being served?
Mr. Judd: Do you mean in terms of Canada having the kind of capacity that MI6 or the CIA would provide?
Senator Banks: Yes.
Mr. Judd: That issue is under review by the government as we speak. It has been under intensive review and debate
within government. We are not yet at a stage of going to ministers with any firm views or recommendations on it, so
the debate still continues.
Senator Banks: Would it be fair for a Canadian to assume, based on that state of affairs, that there are some kinds of
interests that are being looked after — with respect to the interests of the United States on the one hand and Great
Britain on the other in the examples that you gave — which simply are not being addressed by Canada; that some
attention ought to be paid to it, and that it is a deficiency in the present landscape?
Mr. Judd: To cut to the chase, in terms of conducting what is normally referred to as ``human intelligence collection''
overseas in regard to the political, economic or other activities of foreign governments, we do not do that. Most of our
allies do that and have been doing it for a long time.
However, with the Communications Security Establishment — I believe its chief, Mr. Adams, is appearing before
you later today — we do have the capacity to do collection electronically through signals interception. I believe that
organization makes a substantial contribution to the government's interests here in Canada in those areas. We are
missing the active so-called human intelligence factor.
Senator Day: In your remarks earlier, in answer to a question from Senator Banks, you talked about the changing
world landscape and the overuse of the term ``globalization'' making these clear distinctions between national activity
and international activity a little tougher to distinguish. Does that lead one to say that the division that exists in the
U.K. between MI5 and MI6, and between the CIA and the U.S. national activity, made sense in the past, but, moving
forward, it is less clear that there should be separate organizations?
Mr. Judd: That is a very interesting comment. In the case of the United Kingdom, my sense is that the operational
distinction between those two agencies is starting to blur. MI5 is probably not as active as we are internationally; but
given the circumstances in the United Kingdom and some of their commitments overseas, I have the impression that
MI6 is spending more time on counterterrorism issues than it ever has before versus its more traditional role of looking
at political and economic intelligence collection about the intentions and activities of foreign government. Certainly,
because of the increasing irrelevance of national borders, we see more and more of an overlap between these activities
of these kinds of agencies.
I know that in the two Western jurisdictions that have, in the last decade, moved into more explicit collection of
foreign intelligence — the Netherlands and New Zealand — in those cases, they were combined in a single agency to try
to avoid a silos or stovepiping phenomenon.
Senator Day: Historically, what has gone on in Russia?
Mr. Judd: Historically, Russia was the Soviet Union.
Senator Day: Yes, the Soviet Union in those days.
Mr. Judd: It had the unified intelligence agency par excellence, depending on your standards, with the KGB. After
the collapse of the Soviet Union, however, the KGB was split into two services. One is largely oriented to foreign
operations and collection, along the lines of the CIA or MI6. We refer to it as the SVR. Then there is a domestic agency
that operates within the confines of Russia, called the FSB. Mandate-wise, it is much larger than our organization. It
also includes things such as border controls — kind of what the Canadian Border Services Agency, CBSA, does. That
is a brief nutshell of their experience.
Senator Day: With the breakup of the Soviet Union, was it considered that the KGB, the unified organization, was
not as effective? Was that the reason for the breakup of that organization into a foreign and a domestic agency, or was
there another reason for that?
Mr. Judd: I am not familiar with all the considerations that led into the decision, but I suspect part of it was a
rebranding image issue. The KGB did not have a good brand domestically in Russia. There may also have been an
interest in getting two organizations to focus in each of their respective mandates as opposed to trying to do that in one
Senator Day: You indicated, a short while ago, that probably our CSIS activity has more of a foreign element to it
than MI5, for example. Is that because MI5 has a sister organization that does the foreign intelligence? We do not have
that, so the natural path has been for an expansion of CSIS into some of those more important foreign activities.
Mr. Judd: I suspect that is part of it. Also, MI5 is much more preponderantly focused than are we on
counterterrorism, to almost the exclusion of many other things. It still does counter-espionage and counter-
proliferation issues, but, for example, on counter-proliferation questions, MI6 is probably the more active of the two.
The circumstances in the United Kingdom over the last while have meant a disproportionate focus for MI5 on the
terrorist issues on the domestic scene.
Senator Day: If we look at the U.K. again, and England in particular with respect to homegrown terrorism and the
recent activity in that regard; and, having in mind, again, the globalization of all of this, and the possibility of these
homegrown terrorists receiving funding from outside the country and possibly some direction from outside the
country, would MI5 go international from a counterterrorism point of view? Or would they have to talk to MI6 to say,
``You are the foreign guys. Help us with this particular activity''?
Mr. Judd: It is a bit of a mix and match. MI6 has put more and more of its focus on counterterrorism efforts. The
two agencies work quite closely together. There is a fair amount of interchange of personnel between the agencies,
particularly from MI6 to MI5 these days to assist on the counterterrorism portfolio.
Senator Day: All of which seems to be leading toward a unified agency concept.
Mr. Judd: Actually, I believe the British government may have looked at that within the last decade and decided to
stay with the two separate entities. Operationally speaking, particularly in counterterrorism, there is quite an
interrelationship between the agencies there.
Senator Day: Given that there must be a clear interrelationship between agencies, let us assume that the decision is
made that we need to increase our foreign intelligence activity with respect to political economic issues. If one was
trying to look at this from an academic and political point of view, what are the arguments for and against expanding
the existing agency that we have in CSIS or creating a department or a larger group within Foreign Affairs and
International Trade Canada to do this activity that could work closely with our embassies around the world, or
creating a Canadian stand-alone agency that would be similar to the CIA or MI6? What are the pros and cons of each
one of those?
Mr. Judd: From what I have seen of the public debates over these questions, some would argue that we cannot have
one agency doing those two activities because they are so different, they cannot function effectively.
For example, if we are operating domestically on a national security mandate, with a very strict political oversight,
court oversight, external review oversight, then everything is done in accordance with the law; whereas if we are
engaged in foreign espionage outside of the country, chances are we are breaking someone's laws — not our own, but
probably our host country.
Another countervailing factor that has been thrown up goes back to the globalization issue, which is that
distinctions between national and international are so fuzzy or of such less relevance today that it is best to have the
operations integrated. Another traditional criticism of the security intelligence communities internationally — and we
saw it certainly with the 9/11 commission report in the United States — is that they have a tendency to become too
stovepiped, and that the more they clear away the stovepipes, the better off they are.
Another factor thrown up about the creation of a new agency from scratch — and we have seen a bit of that in the
United States with the establishment of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence — is that when we create a
brand new institution in this business, more often than not we are robbing Peter to pay Paul because we are going out
to existing institutions to take away the talent to set up the new agency. In the United States, for example, the Office of
the Director of National Intelligence has had to take personnel out of a whole variety of American agencies to establish
There are pros and cons. I have discussed the issue with my Dutch counterpart just to get a sense of the issues that
they faced. My sense from him is that so far it seems to be working relatively well for them, although their foreign
intelligence activity, I believe, is very focused. It is not as large a mandate or not as large an operational activity as MI6
or CIA, which are more global entities, if you will.
Senator Day: To clarify, you mentioned earlier the Netherlands and New Zealand have expanded their national
activity into the international sphere through the single agency concept.
Mr. Judd: Yes.
Senator Jaffer: To clarify what you said, would you be looking at increasing the mandates of CSIS, so that you
would have the ability to do what the CIA or MI6 does?
Mr. Judd: As I said, senator, the issue is one which is currently before government in terms of coming to some view
as to what should be done in this respect.
For the moment, I would say that I am more than fully occupied with my current mandate, which manages to keep
me occupied most days of the week, as opposed to taking on additional responsibilities.
The Chairman: Mr. Judd, when you were talking about the pros and cons with Senator Day, you did not talk about
the home; that is, if there was to be a more robust foreign intelligence collection capability.
Mr. Judd: The institutional home?
The Chairman: Yes.
Mr. Judd: As best as I understand it, all intelligence agencies, be they domestic or foreign, are stand-alone
institutions or, in a few cases, combined, as they are in the Netherlands and New Zealand.
The political or institutional relationships they have to government are different. MI6, for example, is the
responsibility of the foreign secretary in the United Kingdom. In most jurisdictions, you will find that institutionally
domestic services tend to be the political responsibility of, for want of a better word, the interior minister function.
Foreign service agencies tend to be the political responsibility of foreign ministers, with some exceptions, I believe.
The Chairman: When you examined this with your friends, the Dutch, or with the folks from New Zealand, when
they have had a single agency, how have they accommodated this problem?
Mr. Judd: In New Zealand it was pretty easy. It was the Prime Minister. In the Netherlands, my colleague has an
institutional responsibility to the equivalent of the Dutch minister of the interior, but also has a close relationship to
the Dutch foreign minister. In fact, some of the individuals that work in the Dutch service come out of the foreign
ministry. The last time I was there, the head of the foreign intelligence portion of the service was a career diplomat out
of the foreign ministry, so the connections are close.
My presumption has always been that were one to go into the realm of human intelligence — foreign collection
about foreign intelligence issues — that there would have to be a tight relationship with the foreign minister, ostensibly
your principal client.
Senator Zimmer: I want to question you on your response about individuals that are being sent to other countries
under covert operations. Do other countries do the same? I presume that they do. We say the Cold War is over,
although I am not sometimes totally sure that it is. Do other countries send individuals into our country? I presume
they do. If they do, do we know when they come into our country, and do we know where they are at whatever time
they are here? What parts of the world are they coming from?
Mr. Judd: Yes, they do come here. We like to believe that we know when they are coming, where they are going and
who they are, and in many cases we do. One of my foreign counterparts once said that in this kind of business, we
spend most of our time worrying about what we do not know, which would certainly apply here as well.
It is sometimes surprising the number of hyperactive tourists we get here and where they come from. I do not want
to be politically incorrect, so I will not name specific countries, but at any given time there are maybe 15 countries that
would be of interest to us in that regard. It ebbs and flows, depending on issues.
Senator Zimmer: Is it equal, or is there a fair number of individuals who come from certain countries?
Mr. Judd: There does tend to be a concentration of sorts, yes.
The Chairman: Surely it is not politically incorrect to comment on the public reports we have seen about the Chinese
and what is reputed to be an aggressive program that they have in this country. The government has commented on
Mr. Judd: They would be one of the 15 countries.
The Chairman: Are they at the top of the list?
Mr. Judd: Pretty much.
The Chairman: Do they take up 50 per cent of your time?
Mr. Judd: Close to it.
Senator Zimmer: In a different vein, as far as the threats are concerned, we have always heard the term ``weapons of
mass destruction.'' In my understanding, they still have not found them. Sometimes those terms are used possibly to
strike fear and possibly because there are other means that are to be accomplished, but really it is the degree of the
seriousness of the threat.
In our involvement in Afghanistan, originally, we were known as peacekeepers around the world, and we are very
proud of that. Now, we have moved into another area that is becoming not only peacekeepers but also forces. Has the
safety of our country been threatened because of that action?
Mr. Judd: I do not believe so. Obviously, there has been an escalated threat to Canadian Forces personnel who are
serving there. However, historically, a number of the world's problems with terrorism originated in Afghanistan before
there were any foreign forces there, any North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, NATO, forces or any human mission.
Its standing as a threat is long running. I do not know that our presence in Afghanistan with the Canadian Forces
has exacerbated the threat to Canada. I would argue that it has had the opposite effect of somewhat constraining the
threat to Canada.
Senator Zimmer: My thought would be that since we have changed our role from peacekeeper to forces, there could
be the thought of retaliation because we have taken on a different role now. It is a more active role where actually we
are in war with Afghanistan now, so to speak. We can talk about tradition, but that has changed because our role has
changed from peacekeeper to Armed Forces personnel, which are, unfortunately, killing some of the Afghani people.
Would that initiate or escalate the threat to our country because the role has actually changed?
Mr. Judd: I do not believe so, no.
Senator Zimmer: In another area, I understand that findings and recommendations resulting from reviews
conducted by the Security Intelligence Review Committee are not binding on your organization. How does CSIS
typically treat SIRC reviews, and under what circumstances do SIRC findings and recommendations result in changes
to the way the organization's activities are carried out?
Mr. Judd: You are correct in that the recommendations by SIRC are not binding. I do not have the numbers before
me, but I suspect that in most cases, if there is a recommendation from SIRC with respect to how we do something, we
will change how we do it to reflect the recommendation.
The organization is not at all static in terms of its operational policies and practices. When something is drawn to
our attention by an external agency, in this case SIRC, it is not binding. More often than not, we will adopt the
recommendation in some form or another.
Senator Zimmer: The last time you appeared before the committee, you touched upon the issue of disclosure and
intelligence information for the purpose of criminal prosecution. At the time, CSIS was engaged in a discussion with
the RCMP and the Department of Justice Canada about disclosure issues. Would you please comment on the outcome
of those discussions and how it may affect CSIS operationally?
Mr. Judd: Yes. We started the discussion with our colleagues in the RCMP and the Department of Justice Canada
just over a year ago because of a concern that there may potentially be more and more instances where intelligence
information may be brought into a court proceeding. There are all kinds of issues around the disclosure of national
security confidences in a public setting, which have often made it difficult for that kind of information to be used in a
court. I should add that that is not just a Canadian problem. It exists in many other Western jurisdictions as well.
In any event, the work between us, the Department of Justice Canada and the RCMP is still ongoing. We hope to
have it concluded within the next several months. As part and parcel of that, we are also looking at what it means for
our operations. I will give you a few examples. Police force surveillance units keep track of their activities through note
taking, as ours do, but there are some differences between how intelligence surveillance and police surveillance do it.
We are also looking at what it would mean for such aspects as the transcription of intercepts from a foreign
language where we have to meet certain standards for a court. We also have concerns about the degree to which we
would divulge or not divulge technically how we obtain the information, which would go to the technology and
methodology used to conduct an interception.
We are looking at another area as well. It is commonplace for police services or forces personnel to testify in courts
of law. Our personnel do not, although they will be called to testify in some court proceedings in Canada. Getting
people trained to do that well is something we are looking at, in the same way that, for example, MI5 made the
transition to being more active in court proceedings 15 years ago and had to adjust their policies and practices. It will
also mean, operationally, more connectivity with prosecutors and police forces earlier than has been the case in terms
of investigations that could potentially end up in a criminal proceeding. A range of factors is being looked at in terms
of how we do business.
Senator Jaffer: I was interested in knowing how information gathered through torture is treated. Does CSIS have a
policy as to how you process or filter information that may have been received because a person was tortured?
Mr. Judd: Yes, we have policies on that and certainly policies on what information we would share with a foreign
government that pretty much circumscribe it. It was an issue that was very much in the forefront of Mr. O'Connor's
inquiry. He was by and large reassured by the extent of our policy regime in respect of that issue. Even during Mr.
O'Connor's inquiry, we took steps to strengthen some of the provisions again.
Senator Jaffer: You were talking about the Dutch, who are a middle power. Are there other middle powers similar
to us that are looking at expanding their foreign intelligence gathering and if so, are we looking at a partnership with
some of them?
Mr. Judd: Most middle powers are already doing this. If Canada were to get into this activity, irrespective of who
did it or where it was done, some form of collaboration with Western partners would be in the cards, unless of course
they were the targets.
Senator Jaffer: I have asked you this, and I understand it is in front of cabinet so you may not be able to answer.
However, I would appreciate your views as to the proper role of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada in
the collection of foreign intelligence.
Mr. Judd: When you get right down to it, ``intelligence'' is just another word for information. What distinguishes
intelligence from general information is how it is collected. Normally, intelligence in my vocabulary is information
collected surreptitiously or covertly. All that said, there is an enormous amount of information that can be acquired
through non-covert means. This would include the normal day-to-day interaction of our diplomatic corps with a
foreign government, foreign experts or other people, which, in some respects, may be as valuable as or more valuable
than intelligence that is being covertly collected, depending on the subject matter.
Our Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada department is an active collector of information overseas
through its normal diplomatic activities, in the same way that most foreign ministries are.
Senator Jaffer: Canada is seen as an honest broker. If it was seen that Foreign Affairs and International Trade
Canada was openly collecting intelligence, would it hamper their work?
Mr. Judd: That may be the case, but I believe there are other Western governments that are seen as good
international community citizens, if I can put it that way, that do collect foreign intelligence, such as the Dutch or some
of the other Western European countries that do that. I do not know that it would necessarily have an adverse effect on
our international image. I suspect many people internationally probably believe we already do this.
Senator Jaffer: Please tell me if you would classify it this way. After 9/11 we had a very serious threat. Where in the
scale are we now as to the threat to Canada?
Mr. Judd: Do you mean with respect to terrorism specifically?
Senator Jaffer: That is right.
Mr. Judd: As you know, al Qaeda has, on a number of occasions, listed us as a target. We have had instances — at
least two cases currently before the courts, on which I cannot comment — where terrorist activity in Canada was an
issue. A number of individuals at any given time are under investigation in Canada — Canadians, visitors or foreign
residents — for terrorism. Generally speaking, for us and for most Western governments, the threat posed by terrorism
remains the pre-eminent security threat today and possibly for the foreseeable future.
Senator Jaffer: My colleague Senator Zimmer asked you this question and perhaps I am repeating it: Do you feel
our threat increased because we changed our role in Afghanistan?
Mr. Judd: No. As I said, I do not believe it has had the effect of increasing the threat to Canada. It has obviously
had the effect of increasing the threat to Canadians in Afghanistan, be they military or, as in the case of Glyn Berry,
diplomats. However, I believe that, to the extent that Afghanistan, as a country, can be brought to a state of domestic
peace and security, broadly defined — physical security, economic security and so on — the rest of the world will be
better off for it, Canada included.
Senator Jaffer: Immediately after 9/11, the perception in some communities was that you were looking at the
communities and really did not know them. It is my observation that the community is now a partner with you to make
our country safer. Is that a correct observation?
Mr. Judd: I certainly hope so. We have invested an enormous amount of time and effort in dialogue with various
communities in Canada. Last year, we conducted more than two dozen events across the country. For most of our
officers it has become a standard feature of work. The dialogue with the communities has served to assuage some of
their concerns, and it has also had benefits for us in terms of us getting them more actively involved in helping us hire
people from those communities, which we have been doing at a much greater rate over the last number of years.
Senator Jaffer: Have you increased the training within CSIS to understand these communities better in order that
you can work with them?
Mr. Judd: Yes. We are actually quite a diverse organization ourselves in terms of our workforce, and we use
individuals from our own service who represent a particular community and will very often go outside to respected
leaders of communities and have them participate in the training activities that we do for our own staff.
It is quite an active area, and we use both internal and external resources to do that.
The Chairman: Mr. Judd, you have fewer staff now than you had in 1987.
Mr. Judd: Yes.
The Chairman: Do you have fewer files?
Mr. Judd: I do not know; I was not there in 1987, but the business has certainly changed. In 1987, in the middle of
the Cold War, CSIS was largely a counter-intelligence service. Terrorism was becoming more of a factor because of
some files at the time. It was only a few years after the Air India bombing, and there were issues around the Irish
Republican Army, IRA, and others.
The environment we face today is certainly different. Whether it is more difficult than it was then, I do not know. I
suspect that it is a bit more diverse and a bit more internationalized than it was. I certainly find it challenging enough
The Chairman: You spoke to Senator Banks and Senator Day about the work outside of Canada. In terms of
counter-intelligence or counterterrorism, what sort of volume are you addressing inside Canada? How many files do
you have on that and approximately how many groups would be of interest?
Mr. Judd: With respect to counter-intelligence and foreign interference up to — it ebbs and flows — 15 foreign
governments would be of interest to us at any given time. There are significant variations among them in terms of the
level of activity.
On the weapons of mass destruction files, there are probably six to 10 areas of the world in which we have an active
interest. Some of them are obviously on the front page of the newspapers fairly regularly, such as North Korea and
Iran, but there are others as well. On the terrorism front, at any given time, we probably have several hundred
individuals or groups under investigation.
The Chairman: What do you say to Canadians who say that this is a safe country, that we really are not facing any
threats at this time?
To put that in more context, we perceive ourselves as good people — good guys, as Senator Zimmer described
earlier. Senator Jaffer said we believe our image elsewhere is a positive one. We have large oceans to our east and west
and a friendly country to the south. A number of people ask why there is all this fuss about security.
Mr. Judd: I will say a couple of contradictory things first.
The Chairman: You would not be the first witness to do that.
Mr. Judd: I would hate to be a precedent.
I have believed for a long time that we are probably the luckiest country in the world, for a whole variety of reasons
— geography resources, economy, population, diversity and so on. That said, no one is immune to security threats
anywhere in the world, and we are certainly no exception. We have seen the Air India bombing and other terrorism
attacks that have been successful, apprehended or disrupted. Foreign espionage continues to be a fact of life. As well,
some governments and non-governments continue to aspire to obtain weapons of mass destruction. People might be
surprised by the degree to which dual use technologies can be acquired here and used as input for weapons of mass
All that said, as a general rule, I try to be modulated in describing the risk, because I do not know that there is much
to be gained by scaring people about these things. My hope has always been that we will deal with the threats as
effectively as possible and, in an ideal world, prevent them from materializing. Unfortunately, history proves that that
has not always been the case, as we saw with the Air India case and the attacks on Turkish diplomats and interests,
even here in Ottawa.
Unfortunately, those are the realities that we face now and will have to face in the future. Nonetheless, we are still
one of the luckiest countries in the world for all the other reasons I stated.
The Chairman: As a manager, can you help the committee with an outline of a business case that you would look to
in terms of value of human intelligence versus putting your resources into open sources? If you had an extra dollar to
spend, how would you allocate it?
Mr. Judd: Actually, we do much of both. We have a public source information centre in our organization, which is
as good as any in the world in terms of its collection capacity and public source information.
With respect to the public source side, I believe someone may have mentioned it in a previous hearing. They are
engaged in a multilateral effort with some of our foreign partners, which is exclusively focused on open source
information, something called the Global Futures Forum.
At the end of the day, however, while open source information can be extraordinarily useful and informative — it
would be possible to get through the day without it — there will always be a set of information or intelligence that we
will only be able to collect through covert means. That could include the interception activity of CSE or us
domestically, or the cultivation of human sources and the use of human intelligence.
There are certain things that will never appear in the public domain, and those cannot be obtained except through
The Chairman: Have you exhausted the issues from your testimony this morning in the debate about whether or not
we should have a more robust foreign collection capability?
Mr. Judd: I do not know whether I have exhausted them or not. There have been writings about the issue publicly
that I found useful.
One of my predecessors, Reid Morden, wrote a piece on the issue either last year or the year before, and he covered
many bases with that. It appeared in one of the publications from an institute in Calgary. I may have missed some, but
I will reflect on that further.
The Chairman: Would you get back to us after that reflection?
Mr. Judd: Yes, I would be happy to.
Senator Banks: With respect to foreign intelligence, when we met with folks in Australia, for example, their foreign
intelligence gathering is very focused on areas that will obviously be of much more interest to Australia than to us,
those areas having to do with Indonesia and that aspect of Southeast Asia because they are facing it directly. We do
not directly have much interest in that, and they do not have much interest in aspects that are of great interest to
If you get to the point that you are more robust in those kinds of foreign activities, do you believe Canada should be
focused in that way so that when we bump into something that might be of interest to Australia we can let them have
it? When they bump into something in Southeast Asia that might be of interest to us, we can trade rather than do it
some other way.
Mr. Judd: That is a good point. The Australians do have the virtue of a geographic location in a neighbourhood that
provides a sharp focus for them.
It may have been a former American Secretary of State who allegedly once defined Canada as a regional power
without a region. Our neighbourhood tends to be occupied by only a few people.
With respect to the issues under consideration, referring back to Senator Kenny's question, if you were intending to
do this, what would you actually want to do? I feel even large agencies such as the CIA or MI6 or others of that size
cannot credibly provide global coverage.
Where Canadian effort would be focused is ultimately the purview of our political masters to decide upon and tell
whoever was supposed to collect it to do so.
However, I believe the case you cite with respect to the exchange with the Australians would certainly make sense,
because my sense is that they have a very highly developed capacity in that part of the world and to the north of them
that would be very difficult to replicate for us. Therefore, ongoing exchange with them about that part of the world
would be of considerable value to us.
Senator Banks: In that exchange of information, is it the case that you would need something to put on the table
before you get something back? In order to be welcome at the table, you have to be able to ante up.
Mr. Judd: Yes, to some extent. We would get information from the Australians now where it dealt with something
that was a specific security concern to Canada in the same way that we would hopefully do the same in reverse. I feel it
is like anything else: There is no free lunch.
Senator Banks: At the moment, we believe that perhaps we do not have enough with which to bargain.
Getting back to the domestic issue, and bearing in mind what you said about core concerns and the foreign
intelligence folks that come here to find stuff out about Canada, much of that is commercial and proprietary
information or intellectual property information.
You said earlier that you do not get into that area very often. However, in Canada, would you regard that as
something that would be of concern to Canada's core security? For example, would the stealing of information about a
new drill bit or chemical compound fall within your present purview?
Mr. Judd: Yes. Were it to occur and we were aware of it, we would certainly ensure that the company was made
aware of the issue as well.
We also have a fairly active and ongoing relationship with some parts of the Canadian economy on security issues.
For example, we are part of a security working group with the oil and gas sector of the energy industry from your
province of Alberta. We have fairly close relationships with some other parts of the economy, such as the
telecommunications sectors and so on.
If there were specific instances that we were aware of where intellectual property or secrets of companies were at
risk, we would certainly try to ensure that the government in some fashion made the company aware of that.
Senator Banks: Would you be able to stop that from leaking outside the country? Where is the hammer, in other
words? If you find out these people are stealing something from people with Canadian interests, do you do something
about it or does somebody else do something about it? Do you call the police?
Mr. Judd: We might behave diplomatically and encourage the foreign government to stop it, because we can
occasionally be persuasive.
Senator Banks: I would like to ask one final question in relation to a question that the chair raised about the
complement of your agency. This is happening across the government, in other security areas and in the Canadian
Forces, where we have come to a demographic bump that has been moving along: Right now, we have many senior
people with senior expertise, who are leaving. You have lost the deputy director of operations, assistant director of
operations, the assistant director of corporate and the assistant director of finance. That means that there is upward
movement, which I presume often comes from inside. How is the recruiting going? Are you finding that you are filling
that intake quotient at the bottom sufficiently well?
Mr. Judd: Yes, generally speaking. All the individuals you mentioned have been replaced.
Senator Banks: Succeeded; I am sure some of them could not be replaced.
Mr. Judd: They all are replaceable. They have all been succeeded, in most cases from within the service, but we have
brought in a few outsiders.
On recruitment generally, last year we hired 100 new intelligence officers from across the country out of a total of
14,500 applications. There is a healthy market out there for bright, young people, and the calibre of persons we are
recruiting is very high.
Senator Banks: Is 100 officers all you needed or all you were able to find?
Mr. Judd: It was actually more than we needed. We are building a bit of flexibility into our capacity. I expect we will
hire another 100 this year, and I expect the level of applications will be that high as well.
Senator Banks: That is fairly stiff competition, getting 100 people out of 14,000 applications.
Mr. Judd: Fairly stiff competition for the 13,900 that do not get in, yes.
The level of interest is surprising, but the quality of people is very high: Approximately two thirds have two or more
university degrees; 50 per cent of them have languages other than our own official languages; and a number of them
have had some work experience, including overseas or military. We are doing fairly well on that.
The issue for us now is training and development and getting them to an operational level.
Senator Banks: How long does that take?
Mr. Judd: Just base training?
Senator Banks: From coming in until someone becomes fundamentally useful to you.
Mr. Judd: It takes several years.
Senator Banks: How many; three, five?
Mr. Judd: The base training is six months. On top of that, there would be a whole series of other training, depending
on what they were to be involved in. Traditionally, the service has regarded five years as the notional period for people
to be on probation, if you will. We are reconsidering that now, actually, because of the demographic shift that you
talked about, with the baby-boom generation going out and such a high proportion of new entrants coming into the
Some of my colleagues would say that the recruits that have come into the organization over the last five or six years
are smarter than ever before. Some of them have more experience, life experience, if you will, other than academic
credentials that may make them more readily deployable than was perhaps the case in the past.
Senator Day: Section 12 of the act under which you operate has the requirement for a threat to the security of
Canada. Do you define threat to the security of Canada to cover those situations of monitoring the activities of the 15
operatives from other nations, who are in Canada with respect to industrial matters, as opposed to threatening the
stability of our government, for example? Is it still within your definition of ``core''?
Mr. Judd: Yes.
Senator Day: Section 16 allows foreign intelligence and if your minister agrees to the request from the Minister of
National Defence or the Minister of Foreign Affairs. That is only those two departments. You also do foreign
intelligence from time to time for Citizenship and Immigration Canada, CBSA, RCMP, CIDA and perhaps Transport
Canada. Is that within your section 12 mandate?
Mr. Judd: That would be within the section 12 mandate; our collection of foreign intelligence, as I tried to define it.
The intelligence about foreign government policies and practices is only done under section 16 at the behest of the
other two ministers, subject to the concurrence of our minister.
Senator Day: Do you need a more clear definition, or is it better not to have a clear definition, to allow you to do the
activities you are doing now? Not the debate we had earlier about expanding but the activities you are doing now, the
same definitions that were in there in 1984 when the legislation was passed creating CSIS? Do you feel you need any
changes to the legislation now to cover the activities that are being done?
Mr. Judd: So far, I would say it is working out all right.
Senator Day: The final part of this one question that I am asking you is with respect to the intelligence activity of
various other groups that is going on now, including National Defence, Foreign Affairs and International Trade
Canada, presumably RCMP, Transport Canada et cetera. How is that coordinated? Is the integrated threat assessment
centre within your department working? The fact that all of the national security and intelligence information that goes
to the Prime Minister must be fed through the National Security Advisor, is that system working and being properly
Mr. Judd: Yes, to all of those questions. Let me take them in sequence. The current National Security Advisor, Ms.
Bloodworth, is, without question, the most experienced federal civil servant in areas related to security and intelligence
by virtue of her past experience: Deputy Minister of Transport and Deputy Minister of Defence. She was Security and
Intelligence Coordinator in the Privy Council Office for a number of years as well. She is probably the most conversant
senior public official on these issues. It makes her very well suited to that role.
Ms. Bloodworth and the Privy Council Office coordinate with the community at large through a variety of ad hoc
and more established, more formal, working groups at various levels from the deputy ministers to assistant deputy
ministers to staff below them.
The Integrated Threat Assessment Centre, ITAC, is up and running. It has been functioning since the fall of 2004.
We have 12 separate agencies represented, including the provincial police of Ontario and Quebec, and 10 federal
agencies and departments including the Privy Council Office, the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre
of Canada, our organization, CSE, Transport Canada and a few others that I have forgotten. On an ad hoc basis,
depending on the issue, we would create coordinating bodies to deal with those issues.
We also do many things bilaterally with other departments and agencies that try to address the potential problem
for stovepiping. We have a fairly extensive set of relationships with the RCMP — including case management —
Communications Security Establishment, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, Citizenship and
Immigration Canada, Canada Border Services Agency and a few others.
The system is, by and large, working fairly well.
The Chairman: Can Canada's intelligence requirements be considered to be adequately met without a more robust
foreign intelligence capability?
Mr. Judd: In principle, we would have to say, in the absence of the capacity, the requirements are not being fully
The Chairman: Thank you.
On behalf of the committee, we very much appreciate having you back here again. We are embarking on an
examination of intelligence issues, including foreign collection, and we hope that you would accept an invitation to
come back before us again, because we find these meetings to be very useful. We look forward to seeing you again.
Mr. Judd: Thank you very much.
The Chairman: Colleagues, we now have before us Mr. John Adams, Chief, Communications Security
Establishment. Mr. Adams was appointed Associate Deputy Minister of National Defence and Chief of the
Communications Security Establishment, CSE, in July of 2005.
Prior to his appointment as chief, Mr. Adams served from 2003 to 2005 as Associate Deputy Minister of the Marine
Services and Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard. Before joining the Canadian Coast Guard, Mr. Adams
enjoyed a long and distinguished career in the Canadian Armed Forces from 1967 until retiring as Major General in
Upon retiring from the forces, he was appointed Assistant Deputy Minister, Infrastructure and Environment for
National Defence, a position he held until 1998.
Mr. Adams is accompanied today by Mr. Robert Gordon, Associate Chief, Operations, and Mr. David Akman,
General Counsel and Director of Legal Services.
Mr. Adams, welcome to the committee. We are pleased to have you back before us in a different capacity than the
last time you were here. We understand you have a brief statement to make. The floor is yours, sir.
John Adams, Chief, Communications Security Establishment: Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to
appear before you today. It is not often that I am afforded the chance to speak in a public forum such as this, and I am
grateful for your invitation.
While I will be as forthright as possible in describing the role the Communications Security Establishment plays
within Government, I trust this Committee understands that there are obvious limits to what I can say publicly due to
the very sensitive work we do.
As you are well aware, the Government significantly bolstered Canada's anti-terrorism capabilities after the events
of 9/11. For CSE, the passage of the 2001 Anti-Terrorism Act was a watershed in two important ways.
First, the Anti-terrorism Act amended the National Defence Act to provide CSE with a legislated basis for its
activities. Under the National Defence Act, CSE engages in three broad areas of activity: The collection of foreign
intelligence; the protection of electronic information and networks critical to the Government of Canada —what we
call information technology, IT, security; and, the provision of assistance to federal law enforcement and security
Second, the Anti-terrorism Act filled an authority gap to allow CSE to better respond to government security
priorities, particularly terrorism. Specifically, prior to 2001, CSE was prohibited by the Criminal Code from
intercepting private communications, defined as communications that originate or terminate in Canada and where the
originator has an expectation of privacy.
In practice, this meant CSE could not intercept any communication without first knowing if both ends were foreign
— an impossible task in an environment where communications are routed in unpredictable ways.
The Anti-terrorism Act resolved this problem by creating a mechanism, an authorization by the Minister of
National Defence, that allows CSE to intercept private communications when conducting foreign intelligence or IT
security activities. These authorizations are subject to the same conditions that govern all of CSE's foreign intelligence
and IT security activities, that is, that these activities are not directed at Canadians or any person in Canada.
They also include conditions, specific to the authorizations themselves, that are put in place to further protect the
rights of Canadians. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of these authorizations to CSE's current work, and I
was, therefore, pleased to see that both the Senate and House committees, who reviewed the Anti-terrorism Act,
acknowledged the necessity of these authorizations in their reports.
Over the last six years, CSE has experienced other key changes, including significant increases in our personnel and
budget. CSE currently employs 1,700 individuals, an increase of 80 per cent since 2001.
These individuals have been recruited from a wide range of disciplines and join an already talented and dedicated
staff of analysts, linguists, mathematicians, engineers and computer specialists. In terms of resources, CSE received
significant increases in the 2001 and 2004 federal budgets, funding that allowed us to respond to the technological and
operational challenges at the time.
Finally, I would like to highlight the evolution of CSE's activities in response to changing government security
After the Cold War, CSE's foreign intelligence operations were concentrated mostly on international political issues
— in response to government priorities of the day. Since 9/11, however, security has become our main concern to the
point where a vast majority of our foreign intelligence reporting is now in this area. A similar evolution has occurred in
the area of IT security, particularly in the last six years, as CSE has focused on protecting the government's most
sensitive communications and information assets from increasingly serious and sophisticated threats.
These results would have been impossible to achieve without the amendments made by the Anti-terrorism Act and
the investments provided in recent budgets.
I will now focus on CSE's national and international partnerships. Domestically, CSE's most important partners are
the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces. CSE works closely with National Defence to provide
support to military operations abroad, including, for example, Canada's mission in Afghanistan.
Specifically, CSE is working with the Canadian Forces Information Operations Group to provide foreign
intelligence to Canadian troops in Afghanistan. As part of this effort, CSE has deployed several employees to that
country. In the last year, over a quarter of our security intelligence reporting was related to Afghanistan.
This reporting helps the government to achieve its political, economic and military objectives in Afghanistan. While
I cannot discuss details, I can say that CSE information has, for example, helped to advance the interests of Canada
and its closest allies and has been directly responsible for protecting Canadian troops in combat.
In addition, CSE's foreign intelligence mandate supports a number of other domestic partners, including CSIS, the
RCMP, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada and Public Safety Canada, who are key players in national
security issues. We provide them with foreign intelligence that helps senior policy-makers to make informed decisions
on national security and international issues.
We also provide services and assistance to defend their computer networks against cyber attacks and help protect
the privacy of Canadians. In terms of assistance, I would note that our relationships with CSIS and the RCMP are
particularly important, as CSE provides technical and operational support to these organizations as they conduct
public safety and national security investigations under their lawful mandates.
As Margaret Bloodworth emphasized in her remarks to you in March, Canada is a net importer of intelligence. That
is why CSE works very closely with international allies in the United States, Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand.
It is to share intelligence, track threats to North American security and tackle very significant technological challenges.
These relationships, particularly with the U.S. National Security Agency, give Canada access to intelligence and
technologies it would not normally have and for which it would be prohibitively expensive to generate on its own.
These relationships, like all CSE activities, support Canadian priorities as set annually by cabinet and are managed
with full regard to Canadian laws and the Charter.
As the committee is aware, the O'Connor commission recently made a number of recommendations regarding
review bodies in Canada's intelligence community. Most are specific and not related to CSE, but a number also
implicate Canada's review regime more generally.
In this context, I would like to elaborate on review at CSE. I would first like to note that CSE has an on-site team of
Department of Justice lawyers, who provide ongoing advice on CSE operations and procedures. I also have a
directorate of audit and evaluation dedicated to studying the efficacy and propriety of CSE operations and making
recommendations for constant improvement.
In terms of external review, our most important relationship is, of course, with the Office of the Communications
Security Establishment Commissioner, which reviews CES's activities for compliance with the law. The commissioner
has the same powers as an official Commission of Inquiry, has full access to all our information and personnel, and
may review any of our activities. The commissioner is also responsible for reviewing any complaints.
Moreover, CSE cooperates with both the Privacy and Information Commissioners as well as the Auditor General.
This review regime helps CSE refine its operations and provides assurances to the minister, Parliament and the public
that CSE effectively protects the privacy of Canadians.
That is a snapshot of CSE's evolution, its partners and review regime. I will now discuss some of the challenges
facing the organization.
When the National Security Advisor was here in March, she mentioned no one in government will say they have
sufficient resources to do everything they might do. This is especially true for departments and agencies with
responsibilities in the area of Canada's national security. CSE, for one, faces several key challenges.
First, there is an increasing demand for CSE security-related products and services. While this illustrates the
necessity and value of our work, it has also led to situations where we have had to turn down certain requests and limit
our assistance to departments and agencies that have the most pressing needs.
Second, CSE must grapple with technological change. As you are aware, the communications environment is
marked by constant change — change that is at times both evolutionary and revolutionary. To give two revealing
examples, in 1991, there were 16 million cell phone subscribers worldwide; in 2005, that number surpassed 2 billion.
Since 2000, the number of Internet users has doubled to over 1 billion, with the largest growth occurring in Africa and
the Middle East.
If CSE is to adapt to these changes and continue to respond to government priorities, it must continue to
appropriately invest in recruitment, skills development and retention efforts — pressures that are common to other
security and intelligence agencies. Of critical importance to CSE, however, is that it must continue invest in leading-
edge technology — equipment and techniques that form the very core of our operational capability.
Finally, CSE must ensure it has the necessary authorities to remain effective and to address the government's key
intelligence priorities. CSE is currently working with the Department of Justice and other government partners to meet
In closing, the changes CSE has undergone over the last six years have helped us to modernize and reorient the focus
and nature of our activities, bringing them in line with the realities of a new security environment. At the same time,
however, security is not static, as you well know, and CSE must continue to evolve to remain effective and help the
Government meet the threats and challenges facing Canada.
Thank you again, Mr. Chairman, for the opportunity to speak to the Committee today. I hope that I have been able
to provide you with some insight into how CSE operates. I would be pleased to respond to any questions you or your
colleagues may have.
Senator Day: Thank you for being here. We appreciate you attending and introductory words.
I would like to get a better feeling of how the Communications Security Establishment fits into the greater picture
with respect to intelligence. Mr. Judd, from CSIS, explained to us his and CSIS's role. Could you tell me, for example,
if the Communications Security Establishment — your organization — participates in the Integrated Threat
Assessment Centre activities?
Mr. Adams: Yes, we do. We have three analysts now. We actually have four positions there, and we are in the midst
of replacing the fourth one.
Senator Day: That is a centre within CSIS, as I understand it.
Mr. Adams: It is, indeed.
Senator Day: Does that centre and its participants help to establish priorities with respect to intelligence, help deal
with the priorities that are established and coordinate all the activities?
Mr. Adams: It does not deal with priorities per se. It has a relatively narrow assessment responsibility focused on
counterterrorism. The centre takes information reports from us, open sources, CSIS and RCMP and melds them
together into an assessment on any specific issue or region for the consumption of the security and intelligence
community. That is ITAC.
Senator Day: In terms of establishing priorities, does your organization basically then react to the priorities that are
established in other parts of government, or are you participating in intelligence priority establishment?
Mr. Adams: CSE, per se, does not have intelligence priorities. You are correct in saying we receive the priorities as
articulated by those ministers of those departments who have issues of concern. The ministers, on an annual basis,
assess what those priorities are in order of precedence, and then we take those and form our work plan. Our priorities
will fall out of that, and we establish our own signals intelligence priorities, which are a mirror of the government
The Chairman: Sometimes do you not find that you have developed a capability of which the rest of the community
is not aware, that, in fact, would alter the priorities?
Mr. Adams: The priorities are not cast in stone, so it is conceivable that they would change but only under the
authority of the ministers.
Senator Day: That is helpful. We are just trying to understand clearly how all of this fits together. We may ask
questions that are a bit off the mark, but you can put us back on.
I am not certain if it was the anti-terrorism legislation or public safety legislation that came along after September
11, 2001, but it changed your role. You have indicated a significant increase in funding and personnel.
I want to clearly understand the point that you made with respect to foreign intelligence. You have indicated that
the Minister of National Defence authorizes your organization to obtain foreign intelligence — for foreign intelligence
and IT security. I did not understand the next part of your comment where you indicated it must not be directed
toward Canadians. Can you explain that?
Mr. Adams: As members of a foreign intelligence agency, we focus on foreign intelligence only; we do not target
Canadians. Having said that, there was a time in the good old days, so to speak, when that was easy, because we had
one target — the Soviet Union. Generally, there were fixed-line communications such that we knew who was talking to
whom. The problem with today's communication is that it is not fixed. With the Internet, we do not know at any given
time who is talking to whom. We target foreigners, but we do not know necessarily that they will be talking to
foreigners. When the Internet became the mode of choice for communications, we were effectively muted because we
could not target a foreigner because we did not know whether that target might speak to a Canadian. We were euchred.
The Anti-terrorism Act permitted us to be shielded from the Criminal Code, which states that one cannot intercept
private communications. We might target a foreigner, but if that foreigner were to speak to a Canadian, we would be
contravening the Criminal Code. Ministerial authorization under the Anti-terrorism Act shields us from the Criminal
Code with the proviso that we protect those private communications and keep them to ourselves. In that way, if we
target a foreigner who speaks to a Canadian, we are not breaking the law.
Senator Day: Is the issue targeting?
Mr. Adams: Yes, we target foreigners. Obviously, in many cases the foreign target speaks to another foreigner, so it
does not matter. However, if the foreign target speaks to a Canadian, we are not precluded from intercepting. That
being said, we cannot pursue it beyond that point because that would be construed as targeting Canadians.
Senator Day: Could you talk to CSIS about it so they might follow up?
Mr. Adams: Yes, we could pass the information to CSIS, who has the domestic responsibility. That is the biggest
difference between CSIS and CSE.
Senator Day: Do you require authorization from the Minister of National Defence to target if you know that both
ends of the communication are foreign?
Mr. Adams: No.
Senator Day: How do you know that it will likely end up in Canada?
Mr. Adams: We do not know that. If we knew they were both foreign, we would not need authorization, but because
we do not know, we seek authorization first.
The Chairman: This is a distinction that Parliament has written into the law, after which Parliament adjusted the law
accordingly. Could you give us the rationale for this distinction and, given the fact that you can pass the file on to CSIS
or that other agencies can address the problem, why should your agency be constrained?
Mr. Adams: That is because we focus on foreign. Otherwise, we would have two agencies working domestically.
Therefore, it was decided to keep CSIS focussed on domestic and the CSE on foreign.
The Chairman: How is the average Canadian better served by this distinction?
Mr. Adams: He or she is better served because the CSE can do its job. As well, with only one agency focussing
domestically, there is not a second agency interfering.
David Akman, General Counsel and Director of Legal Services, Communications Security Establishment: This brings
us to the area of protecting privacy rights. CSE's legislation, and specifically the ministerial authorization regime, was
developed for foreign intelligence that is directed at foreigners.
The Chairman: It is a lower threshold than is required to listen to Canadians.
Mr. Akman: Yes. For Canada, the courts have said that prior judicial authorization is required. With that threshold
being so much higher, the CSE would not be able to do its job if it had to deal with that threshold. It is necessary to
give in one area so that foreign intelligence can be done. The legislation gave the CSE a little more latitude on the
understanding that we would protect Charter Rights and not target Canadians.
The Chairman: Could you go through the same hoops that CSIS personnel go through if you were authorized to do
Mr. Akman: Yes, if it were domestic we could do that, but it would not be the right regime for foreign intelligence
collection where the targets are foreigners outside the country. It is the prerogative of the government to do foreign
intelligence activities outside the country.
Senator Day: We were talking about communications that might involve a Canadian or a Canadian organization at
Mr. Adams: They could be Canadian or anyone in Canada, including corporations.
Senator Day: Have you ever targeted a communication that you thought was entirely outside of Canada where a
third person becomes involved who is a Canadian or someone in Canada?
Mr. Adams: We would have authorization for that because otherwise, we would not risk breaking the law.
Senator Day: What if you had no prior knowledge?
Mr. Adams: We request authorization first.
Senator Day: Do you receive a blanket authorization or can you obtain authorization after the fact?
Mr. Adams: We are required to have authorization first. We cannot ask for forgiveness if we have broken the law.
Senator Day: It must occur frequently that you do not know, and so you ask for authorization when, it turns out,
you did not need it.
Mr. Adams: We have a fair number of authorizations, but they are broadly written and are not specific to each
Senator Day: How does an authorization look? Does it speak to the activities of the target?
Mr. Adams: Yes, it does that. It could be groups of activities.
Senator Day: Can they be happening anywhere in the world?
Mr. Adams: Yes, it can be anywhere consistent with government priorities.
Senator Day: The Minister of National Defence does not have to sit and sign authorizations all afternoon.
Mr. Adams: No.
Senator Day: Is there a review by the minister or his department as to whether he should sign a particular
Mr. Adams: We walk through them and he specifies the conditions to be met before he signs the authorization. The
review is then done by a CSE commissioner.
Senator Day: How frequently would the Minister of National Defence sit down to sign authorizations?
Mr. Adams: I have been with the CSE for two years during which time about five combinations of signals
intelligence and IT security have been signed.
Senator Day: In your remarks, you indicated that, over the past year, more than one quarter of our security
reporting was related to Afghanistan. Is that all of the activity happening?
Mr. Adams: That is in respect of the reports. Twenty-five per cent of the reports prepared were on Afghanistan.
Senator Day: The reports equate the filtered-down results of all the activity.
Mr. Adams: The reports are the culmination of the activities of those people targeting Afghanistan.
Senator Day: This would seem to be National Defence-weighted, bearing in mind that the CSE is providing support
for CSIS, the RCMP, counterterrorism, espionage, et cetera. Has it always been done in this way?
Mr. Adams: No. Prior to 2001, it could be measured in single digits, whereas since then, about 80 per cent of the
CSE's activities is focussed on security and support to military operations.
Senator Day: This committee is supportive of military activities and the activities of our Armed Forces in
Afghanistan. We know that the CSE provides important support to Canada's military and its allies. We hear that
regularly from various sources. My concern is that CSIS, the RCMP and other groups responsible for homeland
security might not be getting the service from you that they received previously. Can you reassure the committee that
that is not the case?
Mr. Adams: I can assure the committee that there has not been a degradation of our services to the security and
intelligence partners — the RCMP, CSIS, Public Safety Canada, et cetera. We have had to reprioritize in other areas
but not at the expense of security and intelligence for the security community.
Senator Day: If everything were wonderful, and you had all the funds that you desired, would there be more activity
with respect to homeland security and security intelligence from the Canadian point of view for CSIS and the RCMP?
Mr. Adams: Not in homeland security; there are other areas of government where there is more we could do.
Senator Day: Do you want to tell us about them?
Mr. Adams: We have a multitude of clients in government. They are very broad, but I cannot specify; I do not want
to get into that here.
Senator Day: Are these government organizations and agencies that could function better if they had more
Mr. Adams: I would say possibly. It would be for them to say if it was better, but we could certainly provide them
Senator Day: Are they making requests of you that you are not able to meet?
Mr. Adams: As Ms. Bloodworth, the National Security Advisor, says, no one has the amount of assets they would
like. They are not meeting the threshold at this particular time.
Senator Day: Margaret Bloodworth was here a week or two ago, and we had a good chat with her. You report up
through her, plus you report through the Minister of National Defence, is that correct?
Mr. Adams: I have a bifurcated reporting regime, yes.
Senator Day: How does that work?
Mr. Adams: Ms. Bloodworth is responsible for operations and policy, and the Deputy Minister of Defence is
responsible for finances and administration.
Senator Day: The Deputy Minister of Defence oversees the finances and administration side and the Minister of
National Defence signs off on all your activities that you have indicated.
Mr. Adams: He is the minister of CSE, which reports to him.
Senator Day: To give you authorization?
Mr. Adams: Correct.
Senator Day: Does Ms. Bloodworth get involved in any of that type of approval of your activities?
Mr. Adams: Most things go through her and the deputy on their way to the minister.
Senator Day: You indicated, toward the conclusion of your remarks, that you have technological challenges, and
that you complemented our partners with respect to some of the technology they have been able to share with you. In
general terms, are you able to tell us what we are talking about? Is this a major change from analogue to digital —
adjusting to that kind of activity?
Mr. Adams: That, among other things, of course. The volume and type of communications is literally endless. That
combination is the challenge for us. Our vision is security through information superiority. We want to master the
Internet. That is a challenge that no one institution — be it ours or the National Security Agency, NSA, for that matter
— can manage on their own. We try to do that in conjunction with our allies.
At the same time, we have a threat that is very diverse, very distributed around the world — similar to needles in
haystacks. We have the combination of the technology and the threat that, together, make it virtually impossible for
any one organization to manage it on its own. That is what we mean by working together. If we are to master that
Internet, we will have to do it together; and we are focusing on that.
Senator Day: Do you need more equipment that you do not have now, or are we talking about intelligent operators,
who can work that equipment?
Mr. Adams: We are talking about both. We have to try to stay ahead, if possible, of the technological evolution; and
we have to have the people who are capable of operating that technologically sophisticated equipment. It is a
combination of both.
Do we have enough? We have enough now. We are looking at what we will need in the future to sustain that type of
operation. We spend much time on that.
Senator Day: You have a mandated role in legislation for information technology, as well as the foreign intelligence.
Mr. Adams: Yes, we do.
Senator Day: Is your role to protect all the government information technology?
Mr. Adams: Correct.
Senator Day: If there was a virus, for example, that was put into the Internet, is that the area in which you get
involved? Would you try to trace that down and let the RCMP know where it likely came from and how to handle it?
Mr. Adams: We would focus on a sophisticated threat — in other words, a state-sponsored threat — but not the
average hacker. Public Safety Canada has the responsibility for that aspect of critical infrastructure protection.
Senator Day: Is that in Mr. Day's department?
Mr. Adams: Yes.
Senator Day: Does he have a group of people, separate from you, that are involved in communications intelligence
Mr. Adams: Correct; but not intelligence as much as protection. They are not out there looking to see who is putting
it in there; they react once they have the virus or once there is something wrong.
Senator Day: Who is doing the job now? You have to react quickly on these things. Sometimes we will see an
announcement made — be careful, turn your computer off — every once in a while that happens. Or the media covers
a story that a worm virus is working its way through. Who looks after handling the public file on that and tries to find
a solution to this?
Mr. Adams: Public Safety Canada handles that; but we would act as the technical advisor if they asked us.
Senator Day: Apart from the information technology side of your mandate, you described yourself as a foreign
intelligence agency, in effect, for communications.
Mr. Adams: Correct.
Senator Day: We just had an interesting hypothetical discussion with Mr. Judd about ``what ifs.'' What if we decided
to have a foreign intelligence activity, other than that which would come under section 16 of the Canadian Security
Intelligence Service Act? If we had a full-blown foreign intelligence activity, directed as we might determine it to be
directed, would it make sense that your foreign intelligence agency activity would be combined with whatever else we
put in place for operatives throughout the world?
Mr. Adams: Are you talking about a foreign human intelligence activity?
Senator Day: Yes.
Mr. Adams: Combined is unlikely; there are quite different requirements, technological challenges and training
regimes. However, it would certainly complement what we do internationally on foreign intelligence. There would be
the combination of our foreign intelligence communications and the foreign human intelligence, which would
Senator Day: Surely, it would make sense. Intelligence is information that is assessed, analyzed and synthesized so
that it applies to whatever group or organization is getting all this information and then trying to get something
intelligent out of it.
Mr. Adams: It would come together at the centre; but, for example, we do not run agents. It is a fundamentally
different business — the human intelligence business — than ours. We deal in electrons; they deal in humans. That is a
whole different demand from the point of view of expertise within the establishment itself.
Senator Day: However, the information that is gathered has to be put together with other information that is
gathered. It is like two different operatives putting the information together somewhere.
Mr. Adams: Correct, and that would be the responsibility of assessment agencies, of which we have the Intelligence
Assessment Secretariat, IAS, within the Privy Council Office and the Integrated Threat Assessment Centre, ITAC,
within CSIS. That would come together at that level.
Senator Day: What, if any, direction do you get from Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada?
Mr. Adams: Direction, again, is in the form that their minister would be included in the establishment of the
priorities. We take those priorities to the extent that there are external affairs priorities there, and they meet the
threshold that has been established as to what the most important priorities are. We would then deal with each of those
departments, including Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, to determine specifically what it is we would
do to assist them in prosecuting their mandate.
Senator Day: Is your activity — the quarter of reports with respect to Afghanistan — Foreign Affairs-based
information and intelligence or tactical military information?
Mr. Adams: It is a combination of all three ``Ds'' — defence, which is obviously for the military; development, which
would be for Canadian International Development Agency, CIDA; and diplomatic, which would be external. I should
have made the point that all of that work is not necessarily for defence or for support to military operations; it is to
support all of the activities within Afghanistan.
Senator Day: I am glad we had a chance to clarify that.
The Chairman: In that hypothetical foreign capability, you probably have a role in terms of assisting with
Mr. Adams: Yes.
The Chairman: How they would communicate back, and how they might be communicated with — this is your area.
Mr. Adams: Again, we would be there for the technical assistance if that is what is required, yes.
The Chairman: Five authorizations in the last 18 months does not sound like much supervision. Would you care to
elaborate on that, so we have a better understanding of authorizations?
Mr. Adams: On the supervision or the authorizations?
The Chairman: I said that five authorizations does not sound like much supervision, and so perhaps we do not
understand the nature or quality of the authorizations.
Mr. Adams: The authorizations are extensive documents that lay out exactly what we would want to do. They are
only good for a year, and then we have to go back and refresh them. I do not like to use the word ``renew,'' because it is
not a question of re-stamping them. We literally have to go back with the justification included again. The minister
then, again, looks at all the requirements and puts his limitations and conditions on that. Every six months, we go back
to the minister to tell him what we have done using those authorizations. This includes, for example, how many private
communications, if any, we have intercepted and what exactly we have done with those private communications. Over
and above that, every year, the CSE commissioner reviews in detail each of those ministerial authorizations.
The Chairman: Can you give us the elements of a hypothetical authorization?
Mr. Akman: A request goes up through the two deputy ministers, as Mr. Adams said, to the minister to authorize
the interception of either an activity or class of activities.
The Chairman: When you say ``activity'' or ``class of activities,'' give us a hypothetical example as you go through
Mr. Akman: We are getting a bit into operations here.
Robert Gordon, Associate Chief (Operations), Communications Security Establishment: It is a type of collection
activity that we are talking about. The minister is authorizing a specific operational technique.
Senator Banks: A technique, not a subject?
Mr. Gordon: That is correct. It is a class of activities.
The Chairman: An example would be intercepting a cellphone call. Surely you are not giving away the store to the
bad guys if you say that.
Mr. Gordon: Yes, senator, that conceivably is an example of what we might intercept. We might intercept in a
broader class than just cellular phone activity.
Mr. Akman: Then we have to satisfy the minister that the interception would be directed at foreign entities outside
of Canada. There are a few conditions set out in the legislation, the most important of which are the measures in place
to protect the privacy of Canadians if a private communication will be intercepted.
Just to go back a little, when we are directing our activity at a foreign entity, we do not know beforehand the target,
to whom the target will be talking. To use your example of cellphones, we do not know whom someone in a foreign
country will call beforehand. That is why we cannot get the prior judicial authorization that we were alluding to before.
CSE is getting an authorization that if a communication comes to or from Canada, having an expectation of privacy,
CSE would be shielded from the Criminal Code.
This was explained when Bill C-36 went through, both to the Senate and the House of Commons. The ministerial
authorization is a shield, because when we are directing at a foreign entity, we do not have the information beforehand.
That was the prior problem that CSE needed addressed in Bill C-36. With the definition of ``private communication,'' it
was an offence if we intercepted the communications of a foreign target who happened to be calling someone in
We do not know beforehand whether, in a year, there will be one communication to or from Canada or a number of
them. This ministerial authorization was the regime we put in place to shield the CSE from intercepting a private
If the communication comes to Canada and there is no foreign intelligence value, it is destroyed. The condition in
the legislation says that only essential foreign intelligence communications would be retained if they relate to
international relations, security or defence. Therefore, if there is a communication to or from Canada that has nothing
to do with foreign intelligence, it is destroyed. If it is foreign intelligence and essential, it will be used and retained.
The Chairman: Can you provide the committee with a hard copy of a sample authorization?
Mr. Adams: No, we could not.
The Chairman: Why?
Mr. Adams: Normally they are classified, top secret COMINT — communications intelligence.
The Chairman: I mentioned a sample. You do not have to give us an authorization that you gave to the minister, but
just a sample.
Mr. Adams: Could we take that under advisement?
The Chairman: Yes, please. We are not asking for an authorization that you actually gave the minister; we are asking
for a sample to see what it looks like.
Mr. Adams: We will see what we can do.
The Chairman: There is the question of managing information sharing with our allies. You mentioned the NSA.
There are the Five Eyes, members of the international signals intelligence community: Canada, Great Britain, United
States, Australia and New Zealand. Is it your job to decide what is shared? Who, within the system, determines what
information you collect is shared with our allies with whom we work closely?
Mr. Adams: Essentially, it is driven very much by the priorities. If it is a priority and there is a mutual interest in
sharing, we would share consistent with our priorities and consistent with the interests of Canada.
The Chairman: Who makes that judgment? Is that your judgment or a judgment made by someone else in the
Mr. Adams: Some judgments are mine, and, with others, I would go up and seek authority if I was in doubt.
Senator Banks: I am confused. Mr. Akman was describing the authorization. It is the nature of the authorization
that I am asking about. Mr. Akman often called it ``the communication,'' but you said earlier that the nature of the
authorization that you get is not to obtain a communication between Fred in Indonesia and me.
Mr. Adams: No.
Senator Banks: It is to intercept that sort of communication. Have I got that right? The authorization allows you to
use a particular technological device to intercept a certain kind of communication?
Mr. Adams: Correct.
Senator Banks: Having got that authorization, can you use it to apply to anyone?
Mr. Adams: Any number of intercepts, yes.
Senator Banks: Some of those authorizations include the authority to interrupt communications from someone in
Indonesia and in circumstances in which that Canadian might otherwise have a reasonable expectation of privacy.
Mr. Adams: Correct.
Senator Zimmer: Major General, you are probably too young to remember, but many years ago I worked for the
Minister of National Defence, and we did cross paths. I am sort of like the Flight of the Phoenix. I expired in flames,
and I have come back here in this form. It is good to see you again.
The relationship that your organization has is part of National Defence. In your opinion, is it positioned in the right
Mr. Adams: Yes.
Senator Atkins: Why?
Mr. Adams: Historically, it is correct, in the sense that that has been our home department since post-World War II.
However, in practical terms, that is where the vast majority of our efforts are concentrated at this particular time.
Where else would be more appropriate? No matter where you argue, there are pros and cons for both, but we are quite
comfortable where we are. It seems to be working. Back to the bifurcation, this is part of the reason I do have a
responsibility to the Privy Council Office. No matter where I am, I have to be very careful that I do not become that
department's resource, because I have a much broader mandate, as has been talked about, than to any given
Obviously, the National Security Adviser watches closely to ensure that I am not pigeonholed into defence. That is a
Senator Zimmer: Do you see it staying there in the future, or are there possibilities of moving under a different
command or under a different authority?
Mr. Adams: Do you mean under a different regime?
Senator Zimmer: Yes.
Mr. Adams: Whatever the government decides, we will be where they want us to be, but at this particular time, we
are comfortable where we are.
Senator Zimmer: Margaret Bloodworth emphasized in her remarks to you in March that Canada is a net importer
of intelligence. You mentioned that. Technically, is it net as in gross or net as in fishing for information? What do you
mean by the term ``net importer''?
Mr. Adams: I mean all of those. In relative terms, we are small, obviously, compared to the National Security
Agency of the United States. We are relatively small even in comparison to Government Communications
Headquarters, GCHQ, in Great Britain. We would generally gain more than we give. There are some areas where we
are more active than they are, and that is the game based on our national priorities. There are some areas in the world
where we are present and other people are not. Obviously, in that case, we would be an exporter of information, if that
information was needed elsewhere.
In total, that is basically it, senator.
The Chairman: Do protocols exist where you have divided up the spectrum, as it were?
Mr. Adams: No, they do not, senator. It is based purely on our priorities as defined by the government.
The Chairman: Allied countries do not get together and say, ``You seem to be doing fairly well in this area, but we
have a bit of a gap over here; any chance of you moving into it?''
Mr. Adams: No, we do not. If it is important to Canada, we will be there, if we can get there, obviously.
In discussions, as I said earlier, knowing the priorities that we have, we would share if there are mutual priorities and
mutual national interests.
The Chairman: You could seize the turf, even. To give an example, the Australians have a profound interest in
Mr. Adams: Correct.
The Chairman: It seems redundant not to take advantage of the Australians' acknowledged expertise in that area.
Mr. Adams: It would be redundant not to, but if our government wanted information on Indonesia, we would be
trying to get that information on Indonesia. If we could supplement that using Australian information, we would.
The Chairman: You would start with a message to the Australians saying, ``What do you know about this?''
Mr. Adams: We might.
The Chairman: Okay.
Senator Zimmer: This is more of a point of clarification. I was interested in your comment about technological
change. You indicate that the Internet has almost doubled to over 1 billion users, with the largest growth occurring in
Africa and the Middle East. I could understand the Middle East; I am pleasantly surprised to hear that an undeveloped
continent such as Africa is developing that quickly. What is the percentage between the two areas?
Mr. Adams: I cannot give you that kind of detail, but the rationale is simple: They have skipped a generation of
communications and have gone directly to the Internet. The protocol is wireless. Towers are needed.
Senator Banks: Most of them are from the Nigerian foreign affairs department and they want to give you a million
Mr. Adams: They have gone that route. That is why they are moving so quickly.
Senator Zimmer: I also understand that CSE operates within all Canadian laws and that audits conducted by the
Auditor General, Privacy Commissioner and Information Commissioner have uncovered no concerns about your
organization's adherence to those laws. Are any of CSE's foreign intelligence-gathering operations subject to
Mr. Adams: I would have to ask my lawyer.
Senator Zimmer: I thought that is where it would go.
Mr. Akman: That is an interesting question. For the collection activities that we do, we comply with Canadian law.
One could almost assume that in certain countries it would be an offence to intercept their communications, so if one
starts from that premise, it leads one to the answer. We comply with our own laws when we do collection.
Senator Zimmer: In doing that, have you received complaints about interfering with other laws around the world?
Mr. Akman: As far as I know, we have never received any complaint. I have been around for a long time.
The Chairman: How would anyone know if their communications were intercepted?
Mr. Adams: We hope they would not.
The Chairman: That makes the oversight redundant, does it not?
Mr. Adams: I am sorry?
The Chairman: It is hard, if no one can complain.
Mr. Adams: This is not just those complaints. It includes complaints from my employees. It includes complaints
from anyone that has suspicions — an ``I-heard-a-click-on-my-line'' complaint.
The Chairman: That happens to senators all the time.
Mr. Adams: I must say, to my knowledge, there has only ever been one complaint about CSE. We are doing very
The Chairman: Is Mr. Justice Lamer overpaid?
Mr. Adams: He is not dealing with complaints. He is dealing with a lot of oversight.
Senator Zimmer: You hope they would not know. It is like that submarine under the ocean; hopefully, nobody
knows it is there, but it is.
Your website indicates that CSE relies on its closest foreign intelligence allies — United States, United Kingdom,
Australia and New Zealand — to share the collection burden and the resulting intelligence yield. Can you provide us
more detail with an appreciation of the nature of CSE's relationship with these counterparts in other countries? What
is your relationship with them? How closely do you work with them?
Mr. Adams: It is very close and productive, and covers the full gamut of our activities. As I was saying earlier, if it is
of interest to us and to our allies, we would share. Clearly, it is always based on our national interests and dictated by
our priorities, but we share foreign intelligence; we share details on threats to our infrastructure — particularly in
North America, we are very closely intertwined with the National Security Agency in the United States — and
technological advances, et cetera. We pretty much cover the gamut in that regard.
Senator Zimmer: Thank you. Maybe we can reminisce a few minutes after.
Mr. Adams: Certainly.
The Chairman: Following along with the sharing of intelligence, for a moment, Mr. Adams, there are no laws in the
United States that prohibit that agency from intercepting calls from one Canadian to another.
Mr. Adams: Correct. For them, that would be foreign.
The Chairman: Right. They share information?
Mr. Adams: Correct.
The Chairman: Would it be unreasonable to assume that if they collected information from one Canadian to another
that they thought would be of interest to the authorities in Canada, they would then give it to us?
Mr. Akman: CSE's legislation clearly indicates that CSE cannot direct its activities against Canadians anywhere or
anybody in Canada. CSE could not be complicit in asking for it.
The Chairman: You could not ask for it, but could you receive it?
Mr. Akman: Probably we would not know their method of collection to know how they got it to start with. We
would get a report that would say something is happening. We would not know its origins.
The Chairman: The suggestion that came up when Bill C-36 was being looked at that if the law prohibits you from
listening to Canadians, you can always go to your friends, and they can listen to Canadians for you.
Mr. Adams: Could I make a point on that? There are two aspects. First, there is a protocol among us that we do not
target each other's citizens.
Second, we could not be complicit in anything they do. I could not ask my colleagues anywhere to target Canadians,
because if I did that, I would be circumventing our law and thereby breaking that law. It would not happen.
However, if they targeted, unbeknownst to us, and it was obviously a threat that they envisaged, possibly to
Canada, I would guess that — since if it is close to Canada, it is close to the United States — they may well give us that
information. As Mr. Akman said, we would not have known where it came from or been involved in that targeting. We
cannot circumvent our laws.
Senator Atkins: I am still a little surprised that that CSE comes under National Defence. As you expand, even
though most of your business relates to matters relating to National Defence, would it not be better if you were
independent of any department?
Mr. Adams: Do you mean as part of the centre?
Senator Atkins: As part of the centre and as part of the reporting process that you would go through. Would you
ever meet with the Prime Minister?
Mr. Adams: I have not, but it could conceivably happen. He does get our product, or his office does. If I needed to
see the Prime Minister, I would do that through the National Security Advisor.
Senator Atkins: That would be your chain of command?
Mr. Adams: Correct.
Further to your other question, the historical norm of the Privy Council Office, PCO — which would be the centre
— is that it has stayed out of line departments and line business. If we were responsible to the centre, we would
somehow have to be responsible to the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister or what have you, someone not in
the line, so to speak.
The beauty of where we are now is that the PCO can do the challenge function, and our line responsibility is to the
Minister of National Defence. It seems to work in our historical context. That is not to say that it could not work the
other way. It does work the other way in some other countries. For example, Great Britain reports to the Foreign and
Commonwealth Office. In New Zealand, it reports directly to the Prime Minister; and in Australia, to the Minister of
Defence. It varies from country to country according to their tradition and their historical context.
Senator Atkins: Are you satisfied that any intelligence that you have to pass on will reach its goal?
Mr. Adams: Absolutely. We have two principal routes for the key departments. One is an electronic system that we
control, which is very highly classified. The other is our client relations officers. They are in key departments and
literally hand-carry the information to the key players and get immediate feedback.
We are satisfied that it is getting through to where it needs to be.
Senator Atkins: There is no disconnect?
Mr. Adams: No, there is no disconnect.
Senator Atkins: Do you meet with the RCMP and CSIS?
Mr. Adams: Yes, on a regular basis. We have no one integrated into the RCMP, but we do have CSE employees
integrated into CSIS over and above what we have at ITAC. We actually have people in CSIS as we speak, and they in
turn will have people with us to ensure close collaboration and integration of efforts.
Senator Atkins: In terms of human resources, are you satisfied that you have the necessary number of people to
allow you to fulfill your mandate?
Mr. Adams: Yes, I am satisfied. Even if I were not, it would be a challenge, because we are recruiting as fast as we
can. We are getting extremely good people — which we insist on because of the challenges we have. We can only recruit
and absorb them at a certain rate. Furthermore, we have to consider accommodation. We have expanded in our
current campus area as much as we can.
We are capable of meeting our mandate. We still have authorization to hire a few more recruits. However, we have
met our hiring targets on time and are satisfied that we can do what we need to do.
Senator Atkins: That raises the next question. What do you look for when hiring?
Mr. Adams: We look for what is between the ears.
Senator Atkins: As we all do.
Mr. Adams: I listed some of the key qualifications. We need linguists, mathematicians, computer specialists and
capable people with an analytical bent.
Senator Atkins: What kind of training do you put them through?
Mr. Adams: Almost all of our training is done by us or through opportunities that our allies offer us.
Senator Atkins: Do you send them overseas?
Mr. Adams: Some of them, yes. We send them to wherever there are courses that will benefit us. We need to make
analysts out of them. Usually, they are very bright. We obviously use the computer scientists for our systems. Most of
our linguists are not translators; they are linguists. They are truly students of the language; and they come with a
cultural background, so we teach them analytical training. That is most of the training we do.
We continue to be the decoders and coders that we have been since World War II. With encryption so readily
available now, we keep our mathematicians very busy, mostly decrypting.
Senator Atkins: Are you satisfied with the Anti-terrorism Act?
Mr. Adams: With all due respect to my legal friends, we could make it better.
Senator Banks: No, we could make it better.
Mr. Adams: The ``royal we'' could make it better, exactly.
There are some areas that are somewhat ambiguous, so we could certainly recommend improvements to those. We
are working on that in conjunction with the Department of Justice Canada and other people who are looking at
Senator Atkins: You talked about necessary alterations. Can you give us a hint of what you meant by that?
Mr. Adams: The CSE commissioner has quoted something along these lines three times in a row:
. . . I noted also that fine-tuning and clarification of some of its provisions — particularly those related to
ministerial authorizations to intercept private communications for the purpose of obtaining foreign intelligence
— would help eliminate ambiguities . . .
That is an area we have talked about a fair amount. We have talked about it because it is not as clear as it could be
in the legislation. As all three of the CSE commissioners have said, it is not a question of them being concerned about
us not being lawful. They are concerned that the law could be misinterpreted such that it would appear that we are not
being lawful. It could be improved from that point of view.
Senator Atkins: Do you have to consider human rights?
Mr. Akman: The Charter legislation that was drafted does comply with the Charter. If it did not, the Department of
Justice Canada would not have allowed that to go forward. With regard to human rights and privacy rights of
Canadians, it does comply with the Charter. The CSE commissioners have never had a problem with that. As Mr.
Adams said, there is a bit of clarity that could be added if you have the luxury of time for redrafting.
The Chairman: Mr. Judd, in his testimony, talked at some length about how the Internet had changed his work.
Could you tell us how it has changed the work of your organization?
Mr. Adams: It is essentially the communications medium of choice, and the adversary has an ingenious mind about
how they use it. It would not be exceptional for any one individual to have two or three cellphones with five or seven
SIM — security identity module — cards. It is very challenging. That is the way it has changed our business. It is
difficult to get your arms around.
The Chairman: You are talking about cellphones, but what about the Internet?
Mr. Adams: Again, most of that work is going through the Internet. It is voice over Internet Protocol, VoIP. That is
an example of how our life has changed dramatically.
Senator Banks: Without casting aspersions or being the least bit disrespectful, you must not and cannot always rely
upon the advice of the Department of Justice Canada that something does not contravene the Charter. I could name
you three bills in particular that went through that gamut and were determined by the Senate to contravene the Charter
when they were challenged. It is not always a slam dunk. There are different opinions about different things.
I want to get back to the question of authorization. I am sorry to bug you about it, but I want to ensure that I
understand those authorizations and their nature. You said there were five different ones?
Mr. Adams: I have been involved in about five authorizations in the period of time I have been there.
Senator Banks: That is not many authorizations. One presumes that under each of those, there could have been at
least 20,000 interceptions of some kind of communication or another that could have happened under the authority of
any or each of those authorizations. Those would include, as I believe it should, intrusions into the privacy of
Canadians when something bad is happening.
Talking about that and about your quite proper concern about contraventions of the Charter and the rights of
Canadians and relating that to possibly clarifying the provisions of Bill C-36 and other attendant legislation, how
reasonable is it that you should be playing by the Marquess of Queensberry rules and being nicely observant with white
gloves of everyone's rights and being extremely careful not to transgress against them when the bad guys, one assumes,
are not paying any attention to such niceties and have no compunction about abusing someone's rights? Are we in a
fair fight here?
Mr. Adams: My philosophy is simple: Two wrongs do not make a right. I will not stoop to that level.
Senator Banks: Would you like to see changes made that would allow you to expand?
Mr. Adams: No. The changes I referred to are changes of clarification, fine tuning, and not fundamental change at
Senator Banks: Could you describe that specifically? In your presentation, you said one of the challenges you face is
that you must ensure you have the necessary authorities to remain effective. I presume that has much to do with
changes in technology et cetera.
Could you give us specific examples of what those necessary authorities — which I presume are lacking — in your
Mr. Adams: I would not call them lacking. They make our job a little more difficult. We feel that, with some
changes, we could make them less difficult. I would not call them gaps at this stage. They are changes that would make
Senator Banks: What kinds of changes?
Mr. Adams: I do not believe I can specifically get into that. It would be awkward. I would not want anyone to
exploit those changes, so I cannot talk about them.
Senator Banks: If they are changes in legislation, we will get them because they cannot happen unless we agree to
Mr. Adams: That would be good, but I do not want to publicly talk about them until they are in the legislation as
being considered. I would sooner avoid that.
Senator Banks: Would they be done through the means of a bill of amendment to the present legislation?
Mr. Adams: Yes. I will give you an example about one of the concerns expressed to us, which involves the whole
business of intercept. What is your interpretation of intercept, if I were to ask? If you asked me, it would be if I heard
someone talking to someone else or if I read someone's writing.
An intercept would not be to look on the outside of the envelope. That is not an intercept to me. Unfortunately, that
is not everyone's interpretation of intercept, so the suggestion is that we should define that in the legislation.
Senator Banks: Should the legislation say it is okay for you to look on the outside of the envelope?
Mr. Adams: I will not get into that. It is an example of why the legislation is not perfect.
Intercept is defined in another piece of legislation, and that is where people would probably look if they were
searching for a definition of intercept. They are saying that could be troublesome for us, so we had better define it in
our act to avoid that problem. That sort of thing has not come up as an issue, but it could.
The Chairman: Could you send the clerk a list of the issues that are on your mind so we can look at them?
Mr. Adams: The problem is that this list is between us. It would have to come from the centre. We do not have
agreement on it.
Senator Banks: We will get it.
Mr. Adams: You will. When you do, it will not be from us.
Senator Banks: In answer to a question that Senator Day asked, having to do with the 25 per cent of reports about
Afghanistan that you have completed in the recent past, you said that the preponderance did not affect the service
function you were able to provide having to do with national security.
Mr. Adams: Correct.
Senator Banks: Is national security not what you do?
Mr. Adams: No, we do foreign intelligence.
Senator Banks: Is that different?
Mr. Adams: Yes. It is much broader.
Senator Banks: Does that foreign intelligence have to do with national security?
Mr. Adams: Some of it does.
Senator Banks: Do you complete foreign policy that does not deal with national security?
Mr. Adams: Yes. Foreign intelligence means information or intelligence about the capabilities, intentions or
activities of a foreign individual, state, organization or terrorist group as they relate to international affairs, defence or
security. It is much broader than just security.
Senator Banks: Could that include communications between two foreign entities or persons having to do with
commercial matters that are of interest to Canadian national interests?
Mr. Adams: You said it, not us.
Senator Banks: It is a question, though.
Mr. Adams: I cannot talk about what we target and what we do not target. It is dealing with international affairs.
Senator Banks: You have just described what it is you are able to do.
Mr. Adams: That is in the legislation.
Senator Banks: When you are dealing with intelligence for whatever purpose, there is the collection — which is raw
— then processing, assessment and analysis and, finally, distribution and application. How far down that road does
CSE go? Do you do analysis?
Mr. Adams: We would analyze it — we very seldom distribute raw — and that is where the analyst linguist comes in.
Even if we just translate it, it is not raw. We would then put it together with other information and prepare our report.
We would then distribute the report. We do the collection, analysis and distribution, and we put caveats on the
distribution depending on the nature and where we got it.
Senator Banks: You talked about the outside of the envelope question. CSE, I would gather from that, is not
necessarily limited only to dealing with electronic communications of one kind or another. Am I right, or do I read
communications to mean electronic, period, end of sentence?
Mr. Adams: We only deal with electronic communications. I used the envelope as an example. We are not into that,
Senator Banks: Therefore, communications, other than the electronic communications, are someone else's business?
Mr. Adams: Absolutely. We are the Communications Security Establishment.
The Chairman: When we visited your facilities last, all the hardware, all the computers that you had were built by
NSA. Do you now have the capacity to build some of your own?
Mr. Adams: We have the capacity, but we would not do it. It would cost far too much money. We would want to
take the next step, and the next step is research and development that is beyond our capacity at this stage.
The Chairman: Does the fact that a foreign nation has a monopoly on the equipment that we use mean that we are
vulnerable to that nation?
Mr. Adams: In what sense?
The Chairman: They understand the hardware better than we do; they built it and designed it.
Mr. Adams: They built and designed it, but they do not understand it better than we do now.
The Chairman: What assures you of that?
Mr. Adams: The people we have. I have tremendous confidence in our mathematicians and computer specialists.
They probably would not recognize that equipment now given some of the things we have done in the intervening
period. They do the original research, yes. The computer we paid $12 million for probably cost $200 million to develop.
That is what we avoid, but once it is ours it is ours.
The Chairman: I certainly understand the economics of them providing the equipment, but it seems to me it also
creates an umbilical cord that is difficult to break. Are they the only member of Five Eyes that can create the
equipment, or are there other people who build good equipment?
Mr. Adams: They are the predominant force in that area within the Five Eyes.
Senator Zimmer: When 9/11 happened, it was an horrific event and affected not only the lives of Americans, but also
the lives of people around the world. People have taken stock in inventory of what happened there and how it will
change their lives as they travel around the world. Has the impact of that on your establishment changed your mandate
Mr. Adams: The mandate has not changed, but it has breathed new life into the establishment and given it a raison
d'être that is different from anything since World War II. The lives are real; we have lost lives and we continue to do so.
It has given them a new lease on life.
Similar to the rest of the security business in this country, and in most Western countries, we did go down a fairly
steep decline post-World War II and then after the fall of the Berlin Wall. At one stage, there was some debate about
the efficacy, the necessity of CSE, but 9/11 removed all of that. These figures have been used. The preponderance of
intelligence now, certainly in Iraq, is coming from signals intelligence, what we do, because the adversary is so hard to
penetrate with human intelligence. That has people extremely excited, and it has helped us in our recruiting and
retention efforts. Our normal turnover is almost nil — less than 4 per cent — not counting retirements. It has made a
Senator Zimmer: It is unfortunate it took that to do it. It is similar to the environment issues, when people realize
what could happen, it affects whatever they do. People are recognizing it as a possible reality.
The Chairman: Thank you, Mr. Adams. Your testimony today was most helpful. We are grateful that you and your
colleagues took the time to prepare and come to see us. We hope to call on you again.
Colleagues, we have before us today Ms. Bev Busson, Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Ms.
Busson joined the RCMP in 1974. She served in a variety of front-line operational positions, including fraud
investigation, drug enforcement and serious crimes investigation in British Columbia. She was commissioned to
inspector in 1992 and served in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, before moving back to British Columbia. In 1996, she
was promoted to superintendent, and the following year, she was promoted to chief superintendent as criminal
operations officer for Saskatchewan.
In 1998, she was promoted to assistant commissioner as the commanding officer of Saskatchewan. In 1999, she left
the force to head the Organized Crime Agency of British Columbia. She rejoined the RCMP in 2000 as commanding
officer of British Columbia, and in 2001, she became deputy commissioner for the Pacific region, while retaining her
role as commanding officer of British Columbia.
She was appointed the twenty-first Commissioner of the RCMP on December 16, 2006.
Commissioner Busson is accompanied today by Mr. Mike McDonell, Assistant Commissioner, National Security
Criminal Investigations, and Mr. Raf Souccar, Assistant Commissioner, Federal and International Operations.
Bev Busson, Commissioner, Royal Canadian Mounted Police: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman and members of
the committee, for having us appear before you.
I am here to outline some of the basic points that will hopefully clarify the RCMP's place in Canada's intelligence
community and its role in national security.
The RCMP collects criminal intelligence, intelligence on criminals, criminal organizations and criminal activities
that dictates how and what we do to prevent and detect crime. We do not collect security intelligence that focuses on
threats to the security of Canada. It is not part of our national security mandate. That is the job of the Canadian
Security Intelligence Service, CSIS. We do not collect foreign intelligence — the plans, intentions and activities of
foreign individuals, governments and other bodies.
We are responsible for national security criminal investigations. That has always been one of our key functions and
continues to be a very important role. We have adapted to the current national security environment. We have split our
Criminal Intelligence Directorate from the national security criminal intelligence investigations group to give both the
attention they deserve.
We do have a close working relationship with CSIS. We share criminal and security intelligence with the service with
a view toward acting on information they collect that has a criminal nexus necessitating the gathering of evidence, the
arrest of those who are responsible and their prosecution. This relationship and cooperation is the best it has ever been,
thanks to the revised memorandum of understanding and the joint national counterterrorism strategy that recognizes
our distinct but complementary role.
Also, any Canadian agency that collects foreign information can share that information about criminal activity with
the RCMP for further investigation. This is how we work with our partners to help to tackle criminal activity that
threatens our national security. As Canada's national police force, we have the design that facilitates the sharing of
information because we operate at the municipal, provincial, federal and international levels.
Some people wonder whether the RCMP mandate is too large, and some want the RCMP to be solely a federal
police force, like the FBI. Our integrated police service model best serves Canadians. Recognizing that our federal
responsibilities stretch across Canada, through contract policing the RCMP polices 73 per cent of the land mass of
Canada and 20 per cent of the Canadian population in our contract role. We are also the national police force for every
Canadian. We police eight provinces, three territories and many municipalities that choose the RCMP as their police
We understand and believe in the value of our integrated policing model and what it brings to communities. It works
because the skills that are needed to address the complexity of organized crime and national security, skills used in our
ports, at our airports and at the border, are developed and honed in contract policing. After graduation, every RCMP
cadet spends a number of years serving Canadians right in their communities. Every federal investigator has their roots
on the front lines. We need to be able to move trained police officers quickly, efficiency and economically when and
where we need them. The RCMP has done this, time and again, to respond to emergencies such as 9/11, floods, forest
fires and strikes.
If the RCMP was only a federal force, we would not have the skills or the numbers to keep Canadians safe and
secure when it matters. Contract policing works because we have 11,000 fully trained officers who can easily adapt
anywhere in the country.
That is also why the RCMP has the leadership within its own ranks to lead our great organization. This matters
because all police forces are experiencing the baby boomer retirement. The RCMP is hiring and we searching for new
and innovative ways to retain those who are thinking about retiring. Last year, more than 1,500 cadets graduated from
Depot Division in Regina, the highest number in the force's history. We continue to need a new generation of trained
police officers and have adopted a new, aggressive recruiting and training program.
All Canadians deserve a high level of national police service, regardless of where they live. We work with our many
partners every day to deliver that service. The global nature and complexity of crime today means that we need to
recognize that criminals do not respect borders. Our role in federal and international policing allows us to partner with
a multitude of agencies worldwide to prevent and detect crime prior to that crime reaching our borders.
It is our job to cooperate and collaborate with our partners in policing and in the security of law enforcement
around the world. That said, we are committed, as you are, to working with our partners in an integrated and seamless
way to assure the safety and security of our country.
I want the members of this committee to know that the RCMP does not take the trust of Canadians lightly. At all
times, members of the general public have three questions on their mind when interacting with the police: Am I safe?
Do you know what you are doing? Can I trust you? These questions are not restricted to Canadians who are
increasingly fearful of crime, even when the incidence of certain crimes is actually on the downslide. These three
questions are also on the minds of our partner agencies, clients and employees.
Police forces throughout Canada have enjoyed levels of public trust between 65 per cent and 80 per cent, among the
highest of any profession. The work done by our employees everyday builds on and maintains the trust and confidence
that Canadians have in the RCMP. This can never be taken for granted as it is a precious commodity that must be
I would be pleased to respond to any questions you may have.
Senator Atkins: Well, it is my pleasure to be the first one to question the commissioner. It was a pleasure for me to
sit with her at the ceremonies at Vimy, which was a wonderful day. I welcome you here.
Since your appointment as commissioner, what key messages has the Minister of Public Safety relayed to you with
regard to carrying out your mandate?
Ms. Busson: When I became the Commissioner of the RCMP, I had a meeting with the minister. We talked about
the need for strong leadership in policing this country because of the issues that Canada and the world are facing in
terms of criminal issues and the work that needs to be done with organized crime along with the global threat of
Senator Atkins: Were you directed in any way to change your priorities?
Ms. Busson: No, I was not.
Senator Atkins: What are the major challenges facing the RCMP today and how is the force addressing those issues?
Ms. Busson: One major challenge is capacity. I have noticed in conversations across a number of topics with people
at all levels of engagement in different departments that people seem to think that there may be a need to revisit the
design of the RCMP in Canada, to look at a more federal role. One of the biggest challenges for the RCMP in the
future is to spend more time showing people the beauty of the design that Canada has, with the RCMP being at the
municipal, provincial, federal and international level in policing, and what that specifically brings to Canadians.
The challenge right now is capacity. We are competing with other police forces and agencies for the best and the
brightest amongst young Canadians. We have a robust and aggressive recruiting strategy but, at the same time, there
are other people after those same young people.
We are gearing up the infrastructure at Depot Division in Regina to bring the best training to those people as we
address our capacity issues.
Senator Atkins: What kind of application list have you got? What are the numbers?
Ms. Busson: We do very well. We are told that the ratio of applicant to successful candidate at the end of the day is
between 8 to 1 and 10 to 1. That creates a lot of work for our recruiters, but we are getting the applications, as we did
before. The numbers tend to be down a little from previous times. I think that is a function of the fact that there is a
growth in policing, both at the contract and at the federal level. There are increased mandates and responsibilities.
There are certainly more people needed than there were in the past. We are still getting the applications and we are able
to fill our troops.
Within the next three years our goal is to train up to 72 troops a year, which will put approximately 2,100 new police
officers on the street every year.
Senator Atkins: Can you tell me what the attrition rate is?
Ms. Busson: The attrition rate has been hovering around the 700 mark for the last number of years. We expect that it
will go up. They call it a bubble and a snake with the baby boomer generation across Canada, and certainly the RCMP
is experiencing that same phenomenon. There will be an increase in the retirement rate over the next while.
Senator Atkins: That is suggesting a net rate increase of about 1,600 officers.
Ms. Busson: It is between 1,400 and 1,600, depending on the attrition rate.
Senator Atkins: Can Regina handle it?
Ms. Busson: Regina is buying bunk beds and increasing their infrastructure. We gave the commanding officer there
the challenge of 2,100 young members and Depot Division says they can do it. They are actually gearing up for it. That
is going to be our goal for 2008-09.
Senator Atkins: What do you see as the major challenge for the RCMP in the next five to ten years?
Ms. Busson: The major challenge for the RCMP over that period of time is to continue to build the partnerships and
infrastructure that facilitate information sharing and cooperative integrations for the security of the country.
Senator Atkins: How have the four levels of policing influenced the RCMP's philosophy toward contract policing?
Is that as important as it used to be?
Ms. Busson: It is more important than ever from a policing perspective in respect of effectiveness and efficiencies.
Contract policing is not only a training ground but also an environment where every police officer learns what it means
to be a police officer and learns the standards and the expectations that they have to live by every day. Wearing the
uniform and being part of a community truly engenders for every police officer what that means. In many, likely most,
contract policing environments, one learns at an early age how to lead in communities, how to negotiate successes,
both on the side of the road or at community meetings, as one moves forward to build professional capacity.
From an organizational perspective, given the kind of intelligence-led organization that it is, the RCMP benefits
three-fold by being in municipal, provincial and federal policing. When I was working major crime, many cases were
solved by having the ability to glean information from a young member's traffic stop or some other in-and-of-itself
insignificant moment in time. The intelligence is often a network that becomes a bit of a puzzle, and the crime is solved
not necessarily by the big pieces but rather by having all the pieces of the puzzle readily available for people to gain a
full picture of what is happening.
Senator Atkins: With the importance of national security and the growing threat from terrorism, does continued
involvement in contract policing detract from the ability of the RCMP to focus on these growing threat areas?
Ms. Busson: It is just the opposite. As I tried to explain earlier and will articulate again, the issues around contract
policing are strictly capacity. Over the years, we had been using our contract policing resources and our federal
policing resources to balance one another because we did not have the full complement on either side. Within the next
three years, with our aggressive recruiting and training program, we will be at a zero-vacancy pattern. The design will
show itself to be quite efficient and effective.
Senator Atkins: For the record, how many provinces are under contract?
Ms. Busson: We police eight provinces and the three territories.
Senator Atkins: Policing is a unique business.
Ms. Busson: Yes, it is.
Senator Atkins: Can you describe the culture of organizations such as the RCMP?
Ms. Busson: The culture of the RCMP is steeped in a long and proud tradition of community involvement and the
nexus between being part of the community and creating a safe environment. The RCMP engenders a model that is not
just law enforcement, which some people consider policing to be. In addition, the RCMP goes further in its capacity of
peace officer, a positive part of communities and a positive contributor to the whole Canadian culture. We are lucky
enough to be part of Canadian culture and the culture of the RCMP reflects that.
Senator Atkins: If you were to consider your successor, would you look inside or outside the RCMP?
Ms. Busson: Definitely, I would look inside because, for a number of reasons, the RCMP has the leadership to take
the force to the next level. We have some amazing young leaders in the RCMP who have come up through the ranks,
who know what it looks like, what it feels like to get out of a car in the middle of the night and what it takes to
encourage the next generation to have the courage to do the same thing to support Canadians and to carry on that
tradition. It is part of Canadian culture. Much as there needs to be a huge skill set around leadership, we have that as
Senator Atkins: Given your experience, is there any way you can train for the job?
Ms. Busson: Every young constable who joins the RCMP is in training for the job from day one. We work in small
communities specifically, but, generally, when you put on the uniform and show up at a car accident or an incidence of
family violence, you engage in problem solving and carrying that image of the force to the next level. People are
training for the job, so to speak, from day one. People who aspire to that level certainly keep that in mind. Most
members of the RCMP have that level of leadership simply because of what we do.
Senator Atkins: What surprised you the most in taking on your current position as commissioner?
Ms. Busson: I had not thought about that. When travelling across the country and interacting with young members
and hearing about the work that they do, I hear that they are anxious to know that I understand and that I will
facilitate their doing the best that they can do and being the best that they can be. When they figure out that I have
been through the ranks and that I am operationally focused, then they give that automatic support to take on that
leadership. Leadership is a two-way street.
The Chairman: Commissioner, could you clarify from an administrative point of view how contract policing gives
you flexibility in terms of managing your resources?
Ms. Busson: Certainly. Within each of the provincial contracts, there is an ability for the RCMP to garner at least 10
per cent of any other province's resources to meet emergency needs. That can be done almost automatically. Given the
relationships with the provinces, I have found through personal experience that it is close to automatic when an
emergency situation suddenly presents itself.
From one province to another, when an emergency occurs, such as a forest fire, an industry strike, a highway
accident, a train derailment or other serious incident, the RCMP is able to mobilize personnel at a moment's notice.
The Chairman: If, for example, we were talking about a problem in Saskatchewan and members of the force from
Manitoba were moved to assist them, would anyone in Saskatchewan know the difference?
Ms. Busson: Certainly, there has to be a balancing act. From the Saskatchewan perspective, the uniforms are the
same and people relate to that image and so have a sense that it is business as usual. The confidence of people in those
kinds of emergency situations is part of the bigger picture of service delivery.
The Chairman: How is that accomplished in Quebec and Ontario, where the provincial police are separate?
Ms. Busson: How is it accomplished for them?
The Chairman: For example, if a requirement for additional resources arises in one of those two provinces, how is it
handled? Is there a comparable program whereby Ontario has signed an agreement to send their provincial police in
cases of emergency?
Ms. Busson: It is a much less seamless process. It goes government to government and minister to minister. It can
take some bureaucratic time to get through those requests.
The Chairman: Would citizens in the adjoining province understand and recognize the different uniform?
Ms. Busson: I think they would see the difference in the uniform, absolutely.
Senator Zimmer: I get to be the second person to congratulate you, Ms. Busson. I have an affinity because I grew up
in Saskatchewan. I went to university in Saskatoon so I know North Battleford very well.
I want to cover some questions in the area of securities and borders, then move into your resources, and end up with
an actual activity or event that you are working on.
Aside from the integrated border enforcement teams, what is the RCMP doing to ensure that security between
border posts is sufficient? I can go back to testimony from October 2, 2006, when Mr. Souccar said, ``We know that
most interdictions are done at the ports of entry, but perhaps more is coming through between the ports of entry than
we are aware of.''
Ms. Busson: We are doing a number of things. There is never enough and the descriptions of our borders vary, but
our responsibility continues.
We work very hard with folks who live and operate around borders to be ever vigilant and to build the kind of
relationships where people know what to look for and are our eyes and ears at certain unmanned or unsecured border
We have recently also been working with the U.S. border service. They have a robust technological response to
expanses of border between border crossings, and we are very interested in some of the work they are doing
technologically to watch the borders without the need to have people standing shoulder to shoulder between the
different border points.
Senator Zimmer: The government has started a 10-year process of arming Canadian border security officers. In the
interim, what specific proposals has the RCMP put forth to provide an armed presence at major border crossings and
to reduce emergency response times to border crossings?
Ms. Busson: I will ask Mr. Souccar to make sure I give a full answer to the question. Certainly, in areas of the
country where we are the police force of primary jurisdiction, we have spent a fair amount of time and effort on
training to make sure that folks in those areas are fully aware of the need for immediate response to requests for
assistance from Canada Border Services Agency, CBSA, in areas where they expect or have some intelligence that they
need an armed response at the border. In areas that are not part of our primary jurisdiction, we are also working with
the police force that is there to support them as they move forward.
Mr. Souccar: I think that covers it. We have a close working relationship with CBSA. They are part of our
integrated border enforcement teams as well as our proceeds of crime teams — our combined forces special
enforcement teams — so we have a close working relationship with them.
We spoke about arming the border guards. We are assisting in the training of their officers. I believe that by July of
this year their first group will have graduated from firearms training provided by us.
As Commissioner Busson has said, whether the response is immediate or delayed varies depending on the
seriousness of the call and the relative danger associated with the call, as we deal with other priorities that are inland.
Between the points of entry, we have stepped up our awareness programs so that the public is also working with us and
assisting us in responding to any between-ports of entry activities that are taking place. We try to educate them and
create awareness so that they can help us as well.
Senator Zimmer: Is that to ensure that they know what to look for?
Mr. Souccar: Exactly.
Senator Zimmer: The committee has recommended that the RCMP should be the lead agency in charge of security
at Canadian airports. What role do you see the RCMP playing with regard to securing airports?
Ms. Busson: Given our criminal mandate through organized crime and national security, the RCMP has an
important role to play in both environments. Specifically, there is a huge piece around organized crime at the ports and
a huge piece around national security.
The airports are much the same environment. There is a crossover between issues around organized crime and
national security. In some cases, it is not until you are actually involved in whatever that investigation is that you know
exactly what you are looking at.
CBSA and all of our partner agencies work closely together to deal with those security issues. It is seldom cut and
dried which agency has the full mandate to deal with it; often there is a crossover. It may be a CBSA lead or it may be a
policing lead. As we continue to become more robust in those areas, we need to work on making sure that those
mandates are clear and concise, that they are not duplicated and do not create confusion for people.
Senator Zimmer: Given the past role of RCMP at airports, would assuming these responsibilities once again be
problematic for the RCMP?
Ms. Busson: Do you mean in terms of capacity?
Senator Zimmer: That and responsibilities — jurisdiction.
Ms. Busson: Jurisdictionally, it gets complicated when we are not the police force of primary jurisdiction in the areas
where we have major airports. There is a jurisdictional issue in those places, depending on the crime we are dealing
with and the way those issues are dealt with in Canadian constitutional law. Generally, those issues could be negotiated
and worked through.
The other issue is capacity. Over a period of time, as an agency's mandate increases, that agency has to strategize
and work to make sure their capacity is designed and ready to meet that next challenge.
Senator Zimmer: You mentioned resources. If you did assume those responsibilities at airports again, do you think
you would have sufficient resources to accomplish those goals?
Ms. Busson: We would need an increase of resources to accomplish those goals. They are certainly manpower
intensive, and the skill sets for doing that kind of work and experience are definitely important.
Senator Zimmer: There are only 24 RCMP officers assigned to Canada's 19 ports that comprise the national ports
system. What role do you see the RCMP playing with regard to securing the major marine ports?
Ms. Busson: I am hopeful that as we move forward, the mandate of the RCMP — in conjunction and in partnership
with the mandate of the other police jurisdictions — will increase to the point where we can all work together and build
a design that addresses what the primary jurisdiction brings to the table and what we as a national police force bring to
the table. In some of the big ports — in British Columbia, for example, where we are also the provincial police — we
can leverage that level of expertise as well to make sure it is an integrated, robust system, both from a security
perspective and from a criminal perspective on the organized crime side.
Senator Zimmer: I want to move into a different area, one where you work side by side with the Canadian Security
Intelligence Service. They have a specific security role and your role is policing, as I understand it. Are changes
anticipated to the scale of the RCMP mission in Afghanistan? Do you anticipate any changes to your responsibilities
there based on the fact of your policing and the training you will be doing there?
Ms. Busson: We have 12 police officers there now, and we will be looking at increasing that number to
approximately 25 over the next two years to enhance and assist in training Afghan police officers to a more democratic
skill set around how they deal with citizens and how they bring a more professional policing response to the democracy
that Afghans are fighting for.
Senator Zimmer: I have a note here that says that the Government of Canada provided up to 60 Canadian police
officer trainers in addition to the current contingent of six.
The Chairman: That was our recommendation. Just on that point, commissioner, how do you teach integrity? The
Afghan national police are notoriously corrupt. One of the principal reasons is that they do not appear to be paid. If
you do not pay them, they will probably take what they need. I can certainly understand how you can train someone in
investigative procedures. I understand how you can train them to shoot a weapon and treat it safely. I can see how you
can train someone in how to prepare a report properly. How do you deal with corruption when it is systemic, and how
do the individuals in Afghanistan now go about addressing that challenge?
Ms. Busson: That is an incredibly big challenge when you are dealing with another culture and trying to embed
integrity into a system that has been notoriously missing that commodity for a period of time. However, you have to
start somewhere. I understand that our police officers are engaged every day in discussions and guidance around the
way that we do police work and the way we interact with people we work with. It will take a long time before we get to
a point. We are hoping to deal with younger recruits as they come up and be able to start a conversation where that
culture is nipped in the bud, certainly from a professional perspective. I understand it is not an easy task and, from
what I hear from the people who have been there, it is a huge challenge.
The Chairman: Could you describe the products to us? What do the 12 officers there produce in the course of a year?
What do we get back? What is the product from having 12 people there? If that number is increased to 25, what change
will result from 25 members being present in Afghanistan?
Mr. Souccar: If I may, perhaps I will also add to your previous question, senator. Corruption and greed sometimes
vary, and sometimes you have corruption for greed, as we do in the West, versus corruption for basic needs. I always
recall eradicating in the jungles of Columbia and having the 50-calibre machine gunner behind me in a helicopter
pointing down to his house as we were leaving the counter-narcotics airport at 4:30 in the morning, and I could literally
see inside his house because he did not have a roof over it; it was only partly covered. Sometimes corruption is for basic
needs, such as food and shelter for the family, and basic needs can be covered off with increased salary. The other
component is creating an environment of safety and trust, where they can operate without the fear of intimidation or
being strong-armed into the corruption that exists in some countries. All of these things have to get done together in
order to get rid of corruption.
With respect to what our people are doing in Afghanistan over the course of a year, their role there is with the
Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team, PRT. They look after training the Afghan national police. It is very basic
training: search, seizure, handcuffing techniques, searches of vehicles, basic police work. We try to get out of the
compound in Kandahar into the communities with the Afghan national police to try to upgrade their training to a
point where they can operate in an effective manner.
The Chairman: We visited the PRT in Afghanistan. We have talked with your people there. The impression we came
away with was that it was an incredibly small number of people and a massive job. We understand the techniques that
were being communicated and trained. We had great difficulty understanding how, at the end of the day, the people
who were there would change the culture, if you will, and get the police to deal with matters in an even-handed way so
that it did not matter who you knew or what tribe you were from and so that the police would be able to enforce the
law in a manner consistent with how we see it or, probably more important, in a manner that Afghanis felt was fair and
reasonable. The Afghan police seem to be incredibly unpopular, and you can understand why, given how they behave.
What programming or training do our officers have to counteract that?
Mr. Souccar: It is not an easy job by any means, and the environment makes it difficult. There is a training academy,
a building that was set up, and I think it is pretty well complete. That will at least enable us to take them in for a period
of time and provide them with training in an environment that is safe.
The Chairman: Are any of the techniques you would use at Depot Division applicable at this academy?
Mr. Souccar: Yes, absolutely. Some are similar. They are applied in a different environment, but some of them are
basic police techniques.
The Chairman: I meant in terms of character, culture, honesty and integrity.
Mr. Souccar: I do not think that that would come from the training that our folks are giving in Afghanistan. That is
a much larger environmental issue that has to be dealt with, as I said earlier, in terms of the safety of the environment,
perhaps increased pay and so on.
Ms. Busson: If I might add a comment, I know from some of my briefings that Canadian police there enjoy quite a
bit of respect and profile from the people in the PRC. I believe that that spills over to some of the young recruits they
are getting in their training group. They admire Canadians generally, and they have that level of respect. It means
something as they move forward through their own journey to democracy.
Senator Zimmer: To go to another area, dealing with your resources and also actual activity, the National Post
recently reported that the RCMP investigation of the World Tamil Movement will be extended another year. Why is
this extension needed? Is it because you lack the resources to contribute to end this investigation, or are there other
complex investigations taking more time than necessary due to the lack of resources, lack of trained investigators, as an
example? Why is the extension needed?
Ms. Busson: My understanding is that this investigation is around a funding issue, and those kinds of investigation
often take more time at the end of the day than they appear they might when one first begins. Especially in
international investigations of that nature, there are agencies and organizations outside of our control with whom we
must work in order to bring an investigation to fruition.
Mike McDonell, Assistant Commissioner, National Security Criminal Investigations, Royal Canadian Mounted Police:
The commissioner touched on that. I will speak generally rather than to this specific investigation, which is still
underway. These investigations are very resource intensive, further complicated by the language skills required to do
the work and then working with our international partners to lead the trail down. That the money was in Canada and
left Canada is only one facet of the investigation. They are lengthy and complex investigations involving international
partners, as are most terrorist investigations. Another challenge for us is language.
The Chairman: Is it a problem of not having enough people or is it simply that other organizations take time to get
answers back to you?
Mr. McDonell: It is both. Having the bodies is one thing; having the right bodies, those with the language skills, is
another. Then there is the process of doing background work to maintain the integrity of our investigations and of the
Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Senator Zimmer: Now to an actual activity. CSIS has been monitoring the activities of the World Tamil Movement
for some time. How do the roles and responsibilities of CSIS and the RCMP differ with regards to the investigation?
There are two areas of responsibility.
Ms. Busson: CSIS's responsibility under their national security mandate is to gather intelligence when that activity
shows potential for criminal activity that affects Canadians. We have a robust design in place where we meet monthly
to look at our two sets of mandates and the investigations that are going on under each one of those mandates for
possible duplication and crossover. When something shows itself to be turning criminal, we take that over from a
criminal investigations perspective and carry it forward.
Senator Zimmer: Do issues remain with regard to the sharing of intelligence between CSIS and the RCMP?
Ms. Busson: The issues that remain around the two organizations have nothing to do with relationships. I believe
that we have a healthy relationship when it comes to working together and the understanding and coordination of each
There are still issues as to how the crossover between intelligence and evidence takes place. How one protects
information and informants from disclosure in a criminal context can be very difficult for CSIS in doing their
intelligence work and at the same time being able to protect their covert activities and their sources.
Senator Zimmer: Do you feel that you are getting enough information from them on an ongoing basis to be able to
move your role and responsibility forward?
Ms. Busson: Absolutely, I believe we are.
Senator Zimmer: My next question is in the area of the Integrated Threat Assessment Centre, ITAC. In what
capacity is the RCMP involved with ITAC in terms of the development of threat assessments? How are ITAC
assessments communicated to the relevant area within your organizations?
Ms. Busson: I believe Mr. McDonell can give you a fuller answer on that technical question.
Mr. McDonell: We have people seconded to the Integrated Threat Assessment Centre, and with them go our
databases. They have immediate access to all our information and can use that to contribute to the overall ITAC
assessment. The reverse is true through that same channel. Their information comes into our national operations
centre. Immediately upon their release, ITAC reports are transmitted to the RCMP and from there we disseminate
Senator Zimmer: What role do your international liaison officers play within the ITAC operations?
Mr. McDonell: Our liaison officers are linked to the police community in the countries they are in or are responsible
for, providing us with relevant information from those countries. That information goes into our data banks and
therefore is also accessible to the analysts at ITAC. If it was something new and critical to a specific investigation, it
would be highlighted and there would be a verbal communication that this is relevant.
Senator Banks: Perhaps you have read some of the past reports and recommendations of this committee. With
respect to your discussion with the chairman regarding Afghanistan, our committee recommended in February of this
year that we should engage special forces and RCMP intelligence gathering in Afghanistan and use that expertise in an
accelerated program of interdiction and targeting of drug lords in the distribution systems in order to quell the trade of
narcotics into and from Afghanistan. What do you think of that idea?
Ms. Busson: We know from our intelligence that Afghanistan is a major source country for the heroin trade around
the world. Much of the heroin that ends up on the streets of Montreal, Ottawa and Vancouver is sourced out of
Afghanistan. As we move forward building the capacity to use that information properly, having our drug enforcement
people able to play a more robust role in the interdiction at the source country is certainly something we would be
interested in entertaining.
Senator Banks: Is it in the works?
Mr. Souccar: We spoke about that, senator. It is not imminent. Canada has historically worked inside out as
opposed to outside in. We commence investigations in Canada and then follow them to the source country, where
hopefully the individual responsible for the exportation to Canada is eventually arrested and prosecuted in the foreign
Senator Banks: There is not much hope of that in Afghanistan, is there?
Mr. Souccar: Because of the environment, it becomes more difficult to do than if the source were in another country
that is not war-torn. There are all sorts of ideas out there as to how it could be done. You can have vetted teams, which
some countries do have in various parts of the world, where they assemble the best and brightest of the local police and
have them polygraphed to make sure that they are not working both sides. They are trained, and then their salary is
increased and they work on behalf of and for the foreign country that has hired them.
Senator Banks: Would it not be efficient if we could go to the source of the problem and significantly reduce the
problem? Your people know how to do that. There are people in Afghanistan, we think, who would be willing to help
do that. Would that not be a good idea, prevention as opposed to cure?
Ms. Busson: It becomes a bigger problem vis-à-vis our defence people and the war in Afghanistan as it continues. I
believe it is a bigger strategy. There is intelligence that shows that as you push harder on the drug trade in Afghanistan,
it could have negative effects on the bigger picture around the National Defence response and the threat to our
Canadian troops. It is not really a drug issue at this point in time specifically; it becomes a much bigger issue in which
we are barely a part player.
Senator Banks: I am not sure I agree with that, but I commend that recommendation to your attention.
If you have read some of our reports, you will have seen that we have great concerns regarding all matters having to
do with national security and intelligence: stovepiping, silos, exchange of information and proprietary protecting of
information, et cetera. You have reinforced our view on that by saying, with respect to the question you were asked
about airports and ports, that it depends on what you called the crossover of jurisdiction in ports and airports and who
is the police force of primary responsibility.
Have you had any reaction to our recommendations having to do with ports, seaports and borders, that it would be
efficient and effective if in Canada one police force were responsible for security in all those places, and that it would be
Ms. Busson: I think you could extrapolate the belief I have in contract policing and what it brings to our ability to
police in Canada, but since that is not the perfect world we live in, the relationships that we build with the other people
we work with are a response that I believe fills that gap.
Senator Banks: We do not think that it does. Our committee has been very clear that it is our view that those things
do not fill that gap, that law enforcement in every one of those areas is deficient in some respects and that law
enforcement would be improved considerably if national policy dictated that, leaving borders aside, the police force of
primary jurisdiction at ports and airports were the RCMP.
Ms. Busson: Certainly from a national security perspective, being the national police force, I would favour that
Senator Banks: That would require more officers and more constables.
Ms. Busson: No matter who is doing it, more officers would be required.
Senator Banks: Specifically dealing with threats, I will ask you for some definitions. I have never been able to get
myself clear on some of these definitions. Would you describe your force's perception of the threat environment in
Canada and how the force is responding to that threat? That relates to a question that you were asked earlier about the
challenges that the force faces in coming years. What is the threat environment here now?
Ms. Busson: If you look at what happened in Toronto last year, at this point in time we do not have a specific group
that we believe is bent on or in the act of building such a conspiracy in Canada. At the same time, we are the only
country on the list of targets for the Taliban that has not yet suffered the kind of attack that our partner countries
have. Certainly with the intelligence network that we have, we are coached over and over to be ever vigilant.
In many cases, information around those things is not easy to get. The networks around such intelligence are
difficult to build. The outreach and the relationships with the communities that we work with are getting better all the
time, but we are not sure yet that we have the level of intelligence network to be able to address those threats.
The threat is difficult to assess, but from our own feeling within the country, at this point in time the threat
assessment is low. It could change at any moment, depending on the aggressiveness of certain groups.
Senator Banks: Is the threat assessment an arbitrary thing?
Ms. Busson: That could move. Tomorrow it could be high.
Senator Banks: What about the threat environment? You are right if you draw a line at a certain date and say that
we are the only country on a particular list that has not been dinged yet. However, Canada was one of the first
countries in the world to suffer a terrorist attack, with Air India, just by way of example. The threat is not limited to
Ms. Busson: That is what makes the conversation around that topic very difficult. You do not want to be lulled into
a false sense of security, because you have to be ever vigilant and aware of the fact that you might not have your finger
on every pulse. It just takes one to be able to get through a security checkpoint and do what needs to be done.
At the same time, we have no intelligence at this point that turns up the volume, so to speak, to have us believe that
there is an attack forthcoming.
Senator Banks: I will get to my semantics question. We have asked this question twice this morning, in one form or
another, of the Communications Security Establishment and of CSIS. In your remarks, you said that the RCMP does
not collect security intelligence that focuses on threats to the security of Canada. That is someone else's job. Nor do
you collect foreign intelligence. You said that the RCMP is responsible for national security criminal investigations. I
understand that. However, terrorism is by definition criminal.
Ms. Busson: Absolutely.
Senator Banks: If you are concerned about protecting Canadians from terrorism of whatever kind, from whatever
source — Timothy McVeigh was a terrorist and he was born in North America — how can you not be concerned with
collecting security intelligence that has to do with those things that are specifically criminal?
Ms. Busson: We will collect intelligence that is specifically criminal.
Senator Banks: If somebody is going to blow somebody up, that is criminal.
Ms. Busson: Yes. The minute we know there is a crime involved in the activity, we become incredibly interested.
CSIS does not enforce the law. Their mandate is clearly to collect intelligence. When their intelligence becomes a
criminal matter, the switch is turned as soon as possible with our people who are seconded to CSIS. When there is
activity around that intelligence, we become involved very quickly.
Senator Banks: Do you get it as fast as you need it?
Ms. Busson: Yes, I believe we do, and we are getting better at it all the time. The people working within each other's
organizations are very attuned to what the risk is when we do not.
The issue in keeping our mandates clear is to stop duplication or the assumption that the other person is looking
after the farm, so to speak. You have to keep clear, concise and acute differences and have that switch very much
Senator Banks: Here is a question that a Canadian who is an insomniac and heard all of the testimony we have
heard today will ask of the RCMP. You do not do security intelligence that focuses on the security of Canada, and you
do not do foreign intelligence. Do you do any intelligence except as relates specifically to criminal activity in the normal
sense of the word, such as stealing stuff?
Ms. Busson: Maybe I could clarify the comment I made in my opening remarks. We do not collect intelligence that
focuses solely on the security of Canadians. Once something becomes criminal, once the intelligence switches over to
the criminal realm, we get involved very quickly. If it was not our intelligence to begin with, when something becomes a
criminal matter we continue on with the intelligence. We have robust networks to do the criminal side of that work.
Senator Banks: What part of a threat to Canadian security would not be criminal?
Ms. Busson: It would be people specifically in the spy game for issues other than of a criminal nature, such as issues
of a political nature.
Senator Banks: That is not criminal?
Ms. Busson: It is not necessarily criminal. Those people are expelled before they are prosecuted. It does not get to the
Senator Banks: However, if they did what they were planning to do, that would be a crime, would it not, such as
conspiracy or treason?
Ms. Busson: My colleague might be able to answer that better than I can.
Senator Banks: I am sorry to ask you these naive questions. I just do not get it.
Mr. McDonell: They are not naive. We have to look at the difference between information and intelligence. We do
not apply ourselves to going into other countries and gathering intelligence or gathering it through other means. We
deal with information that relates specifically to criminal events.
If we take a snapshot in time from last fall, 28 per cent of our work at that time was generated by contact with the
Canadian public who pointed out things within their community that required investigation. Our liaison officers help
us in the interaction of moving criminal evidence between different police services around the globe. We have very
strong relationships with police services, for example in England and in the United States of America, and we move
criminal evidence back and forth quite readily. That same snapshot in time reveals that 11 per cent of our work came
from our liaison officers interacting with other police services.
Senator Banks: Do you mean foreign police services?
Mr. McDonell: Yes, foreign police services. The threat we are dealing with is a global one, and we have established
quite a good link with our partners in the criminal law enforcement field. We move criminal information back and
forth quite readily and quickly.
Senator Zimmer: There is a fine line between law enforcement and national security. Is there a possibility that your
responsibility in law enforcement could creep over into the responsibilities of CSIS, thereby committing criminal
offences and breaking laws? If so, would that strain the relationship between the two organizations?
Ms. Busson: Are you asking whether there a time when what we are doing runs into a CSIS investigation?
Senator Zimmer: Yes, contravening existing laws.
Ms. Busson: I cannot think of an instance where that would be the case.
Mr. McDonell: No. The current MOU, which was signed in September of last year, reflects our relationship, rather
than our relationship being driven by the MOU. We get together quite regularly with the service. When there are active
investigations going on, we are an open book to them. The responsibility of the service is to inform the Government of
Canada and to provide us intelligence. I do not know how they would do that unless we provided them an open book,
and we do provide that open book. We have clear dialogue on every investigation and we take our strategic priorities
as to where we should start to build our strengths for next year from the service.
We are in constant dialogue with them. There is a clear understanding at every level of our mandates. We now have
centralized control in place, with people reviewing and looking for that to ensure that we are not getting into the
mandate of the service. They are a very good and effective intelligence agency. We are a very good and effective police
service. We complement one another and provide security to Canadians by recognizing our mandates and
complementing one another. We have worked quite hard to build this relationship.
Senator Banks: Commissioner, other jurisdictions, some close to us and some, to a degree, in Canada, have formed
partnerships with the private sector having to do with security, intelligence and law enforcement. That subject was
raised in this country last week, as I am sure you are aware. As the Commissioner of the RCMP, what is your
professional judgment on that?
Ms. Busson: Are you asking whether we should do it or not do it?
Senator Banks: Yes.
Ms. Busson: We have to work very closely with the private sector, specifically around issues of infrastructure and
infrastructure protection, if that is what you are referring to. We need to work very closely with regard to those issues.
We must look at our providers of atomic energy and those kinds of public sector partners. We need to work hard to
build whatever partnerships are necessary to make that robust.
Senator Banks: The question was raised of armed security, even at borders, but provided by private contractors.
What is your view on that?
Ms. Busson: One of the atomic energy plants in Ontario was looking at that issue specifically. We would have to
look at the memorandum of understanding, but given a succinct and finite set of circumstances in an area that is
specifically mandated, we would not, by definition, be against that kind of arrangement.
Senator Banks: That would involve the provision to private security of some kind of authority to be armed.
Ms. Busson: Much like Brink's guards are for bank assets and other specific people are for specific pieces of
Senator Banks: Brink's guards and railway police. Are there any others in Canada?
Ms. Busson: The light rail transit in Vancouver has armed guards, as do a number of subway infrastructures across
You have to be very careful when dealing with those kinds of things, because there are issues around the
responsibility of these private groups as a police agency or a private security agency, and issues around the Charter
may or may not apply. There are a number of grey areas that must be looked into. It is difficult to give a yes or no
answer to such questions without knowing the parameters and the mandate. We would not be against it as a matter of
principle, given the proper safeguards.
Senator Atkins: What about armed security on Parliament Hill?
Ms. Busson: Inside the buildings?
Senator Atkins: Arming members of the Senate security staff.
Ms. Busson: We would have to look at the requirements, the risk and the parameters. From a Senate perspective, it
would be your call to make the request. We would examine what that might look like from another perspective. I know
there is a tradition that you do not have armed people wandering around inside the Senate or the House of Commons.
Senator Atkins: Your predecessor appeared before the committee and was against it.
Ms. Busson: There are changing times and changing threat assessments. I am hoping we are not at a time when that
becomes appropriate, but we must never say ``never'' in this day and age. We are in a changing environment with
regard to threats, and what is a good statement one day might be a little naive the next.
Senator Atkins: Some members of the House of Commons security staff carry weapons. The argument is that if they
do, maybe we should.
The Chairman: Senator Atkins, in fairness, this issue has been discussed by the Internal Economy Committee at
some length. The House of Commons Board of Internal Economy arrived at one decision and the Senate Committee
on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration arrived at a different decision. I do not think the Commissioner is
the right person to put the question to.
Senator Atkins: That is fair enough.
Senator Day: On the broader question, is the RCMP ever involved, either on an advisory basis or an authoritative
basis, in determining whether a private sector organization, group or municipality can carry arms in public? Is that up
to the provincial government?
Ms. Busson: I can speak from experience on that. When they considered having the LRT security in Vancouver
armed, we were part of the consultative process with the province and the municipalities since the rapid transit runs
through a number of municipalities.
Senator Banks: The armed folks on the Vancouver LRT are peace officers.
Ms. Busson: They are now, yes.
Senator Banks: Brink's guards are not.
Ms. Busson: They are not peace officers. The police officers at the LRT are only police officers for the specific
environment in which they operate. If you were going to have atomic energy facilities privately policed, it is possible
that they could be peace officers within the confines or gates of this jurisdiction. There are different ways of
constructing these things to make then work. I do not suggest that they would be like Brink's guards, but they could
have a very limited set of peace officer powers for the specific purpose.
Senator Day: Does the provincial government have the jurisdiction to allow private sector armed personnel to carry
Ms. Busson: I believe they are licensed by the province in certain jurisdictions.
Senator Day: If New Brunswick felt that it was desirable to have private guards guarding a refinery or the nuclear
generating plant at Point Lepreau, that would be up to the province to determine and the RCMP would not have a
Ms. Busson: I will have to check on that specifically. I base my knowledge on the British Columbia experience, so I
am not specifically sure what it would look like in New Brunswick.
Senator Day: I think generally the Canadian public does not like to see the proliferation of arms being carried by
different groups. We have a lot of respect and confidence in the RCMP, but when other groups start carrying arms, I
think we would like to know that the RCMP is overseeing this and has something to say about it.
Are the arms being used in the proper manner? Are you telling me you are not familiar as to whether you have an
The Chairman: It is a matter of provincial jurisdiction, Senator Day. Each province has powers to do that.
Ms. Busson: My suggestion was that each case would have to be looked at specifically on the threat, capacity and
ability. In the consultative process, each case would have to be decided on its own business case and threat assessment.
Certainly, as you move forward through those kinds of things, we would have a lot to say about it.
The Chairman: Commissioner Busson, I would like to come back to borders if I could briefly. The Canada Border
Services Agency testified before the committee that during a six-month period recently they had 300 border runners at
different posts across the country.
Do we conduct tests of our ability to secure the borders between posts? In other words, have people purposefully
crossed the border and seen whether we have the ability to determine whether the border has been crossed?
Ms. Busson: I am not sure. I know that the border crossing at the Okanagan is specifically tested at the Osoyoos
crossing. I am not sure whether that is part of a bigger plan across the country, but there is a bit of technology there as
well, and I know they test the technology.
The Chairman: How do you know how effective border security is if from time to time you do not measure it and
you do not see whether people can move across easily and not be detected? That is the broader question.
Mr. McDonell: I can speak to where we use remote sensors. They are tested.
The Chairman: If someone walks by, is there a picture taken or does a sound go off?
Mr. McDonell: No. We know if it is a person or a fox. They have to be tuned. You then regularly check it out.
The Chairman: For example, in airports, we have people who test whether or not Canadian Air Transport Security
Authority is operating effectively or not. There is a group of people who spend their day trying to beat the system, and
you can measure whether or not they are successful in determining how well CATSA functions.
Do we have a method of testing whether or not our borders are secure in this country?
Mr. McDonell: Where we have sensors we have methods of determining if they are effective.
The Chairman: What happens where we do not have sensors?
Mr. McDonell: I do not know the answer to that question. I was answering that question as a result of my previous
experience as a commander of a detachment that had sensors.
Mr. Souccar: I am not sure we do, senator. However, it is a great idea.
The Chairman: Could somebody get back to the committee at some point and indicate to us how you measure the
effectiveness of the security of our borders? It is a very broad question because there is a lot of border, there is different
terrain and different situations would pertain. How do you know our borders are secure and what confidence do you
have in it? How can you demonstrate to me that they are secure? Could you give us an answer, not necessarily today,
but at some point in the future?
Ms. Busson: We will commit to doing that, absolutely. Certainly the experience of our border enforcement teams
suggests that there is some slippage around some of the unmanned parts of the border that are not technically secure.
We will get back to you on that.
The Chairman: I would appreciate that. If we are talking about a Canada First defence policy and if our objective is
to keep the country secure, there ought to be ways of measuring how we are doing the job. We are very curious to
know what those methods are.
Mr. Souccar: We do have those, and I know you are aware that border threat assessment is conducted in order to
determine what we have, how it operates, how integrated it is with our southern borders as well as our partners from
the south and other agencies within Canada, the use of technology, the integration between our border teams, our
inland teams and how effective they are and the training they receive to work at the border.
That type of threat assessment exists, to evaluate the effectiveness of our team. Whether or not we have people
testing the system, I do not have an answer for that.
The Chairman: When you say evaluate the effectiveness of the team, the real issue is how you measure that. We are
curious about the metrics. We would be very interested if you could help us with that.
Ms. Busson: We will get back to you.
The Chairman: Finally, if we could turn to homegrown terrorists. This is a phenomenon that has developed within
the past few years and is of huge concern to us.
You talked earlier about the threat assessment being low. Can you tell us in general terms what the RCMP does and
what their response is to the threat of homegrown terrorists?
Ms. Busson: We have a number of mechanisms and procedures to deal with homegrown terrorists. From debriefings
and information sharing from our colleagues in London and other places where that phenomenon has occurred, we
understand that much of it is around disenfranchised youth with a detachment from their country. Many of these
young people are second-generation immigrants who feel alienated from their new country and who are therefore
easily attracted by fundamentalist groups that look for young people, much as people look for young kids to belong to
We have active and robust outreach groups that work across Canada not only with adults but also with youth to try
to create relationships and have a kind of early warning system. On two fronts, we try to work with young people to set
a positive relationship to begin with, so that young people who know that other people in their group are acting out
would be more likely to mention this to somebody within our organization or some other support group.
We also work very hard with the established Muslim Arab groups within Canada and the leadership there to make
sure that those folks do not compare policing in Canada to the kind of policing they may have been accustomed to in
their countries of origin.
I myself am part of the commissioner's diversity working group. Each commanding officer, certainly the ones in the
Western provinces, has a diversity group that works with the commanding officers and leadership in the provinces and
with me here in the national capital from across the country. They work very hard to bring those kinds of issues
forward and work with us in innovative ways to outreach with groups and make sure that we do everything we can on,
as I said, two fronts, alienation and the building of relationships so that we can have a better information stream with
those communities. We feel that that is very important.
Senator Atkins: In view of what happened at Virginia Tech, the questions of profiling and what kind of individuals
could be dangerous to society are emerging. Do we have anything that would match what they are attempting to do in
profiling these individuals?
Ms. Busson: Actually, it is interesting. A number of criminal psychologists who work with the force on criminal
behavioural science have been looking at those issues since Taber and a number of other Canadian tragedies. They
look at the copycat element and the profile of these young people who become so isolated and aggrieved that they feel
that they have to act out in this way. We have been talking about this, and there are well qualified people in our
organization who will look at that specifically. As well as the massacres we have seen, there are many cases caught in
the bud or cases where young people have acted out with severe bullying. In many cases there are some very
dysfunctional dynamics happening in schools around this country. We use this as an opportunity to try to work
through that. I believe that that work will become much more focused here in the near future.
The Chairman: I thank Commissioner Busson and her colleagues for their testimony today.
Our next witness is Professor Wesley Wark, from the University of Toronto. Mr. Wark is a Fellow of the Munk
Centre for International Studies and a Fellow of the Institute for Research on Public Policy, Canada's longest-
established think tank. He is an expert on international intelligence and security issues. He is the author of numerous
books, edited works, chapters, essays and articles. He appears frequently in the Canadian and international media as a
commentator and op-ed contributor. He serves on the Canadian government's Advisory Council on National Security
and on the Canada Border Services Advisory Committee. Mr. Wark is well-known to this committee and we are
pleased that he is here today.
Wesley Wark, Professor, University of Toronto, as an individual: I am grateful for the invitation to reappear before
this committee, whose work I genuinely admire. There is an undoubted need for Parliament to have the capacity to
intelligently scrutinize the work and capabilities of the Canadian intelligence community.
I will address briefly the post 9/11 threat environment and changes to the Canadian intelligence community, and the
issue of foreign intelligence capabilities, on which the committee spent some interesting time earlier today.
The international security environment has, in important respects, been degraded significantly since 9/11. Al Qaeda
remains strong and appears to be re-building itself from sanctuaries in the tribal borderlands of Pakistan and the
western provinces of Iraq. The recent leak of a Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, JTAC, report from the U.K. suggests
a growing alarm about the prospect of al Qaeda returning to an offensive target on the so-called ``foreign enemy'' with
greater attention this time to European states like Britain and France. The current issue of Foreign Affairs carries a
commentary by a retired senior CIA official, Bruce Riedel, warning about the prospects of future 9/11s targeted
against the United States by a resurgent al Qaeda.
Al Qaeda's message remains powerful and seductive; little progress appears to have been made in winning the war of
ideas against Islamist extremism. The situation in Iraq has played a central role in the downward spiral of international
security since 9/11, as the U.S. National Intelligence Council has concluded, and shows no reasonable sign of hope for
improvement. Prospects for peace in Afghanistan and the long-term reconstruction of that country remain tenuous,
and the Taliban has grown in strength and aggressiveness over the last two years, as the Canadian contingent to the
International Security Assistance Force has discovered.
Old terrorist hot spots are being supplemented by new and emerging ones, such as Bangladesh and Somalia. The
world, five and a half years since the events of 9/11, seems dismayingly favourable to the spread of Islamist extremist
ideology and Islamist terrorism.
Canadian security interests are directly affected by the failure to make marked progress in what was originally
labelled, or mislabelled, ``the war on terror.'' Our national security interests are affected in three broad ways: First,
Canada has an important stake in the international security environment. We live in a globalized world and, as you
heard this morning, have, as a society, aspirations to make that globalized community better. Second, Canada is a
potential target for both international and homegrown terrorism, as well as the for other kinds of threats mentioned by
Mr. Judd, such as proliferation and espionage. We are a target not because we choose to be one but because of our
identity as a Western nation and as a close ally of the United States. Third, Canada is a participant in international
security operations, most notably these days in Afghanistan, and this marks us as an enemy to some.
Not only has the threat environment changed profoundly since 9/11, so too has Canadian intelligence. As a country,
we have invested massive amounts of money in building up the capacities of the Canadian intelligence community. We
have engaged in some fundamental reorganization of the government bureaucracy and we have laid down a new and
historically unprecedented doctrine for national security.
All of this activity reflects a recognition of a new way of thinking about intelligence — new at least to Canada but
long familiar to some of our great power allies. This new way of thinking is reflected in, among other enactments, the
national security strategy articulated in Securing an Open Society: Canada's National Security Policy, issued by the
government in April 2004. In short, the thinking is that intelligence now occupies a place in Canadian statecraft that it
has never occupied before as the country's ``first line of defence.''
The first line of defence charges Canadian intelligence with a tremendous burden to know about wide-ranging
threats to Canadian security and to have a predictive capacity so that such threats can be avoided, blunted or
minimized. This is a tall order in the 21st century security environment, especially when it reflects a new understanding
of the importance of intelligence. This new understanding, I fear, might still be tentative and not fully realized within
government operations. It is all the more important that Parliament be able to watch over this period of its immaturity.
The key developments in the Canadian intelligence community since 9/11 have included new fiscal resources, the
anti-terrorism legislation of Bill C-36, the reorganization of the community embarked on in December 2003 with the
creation of the post of National Security Adviser, the Department of Public Safety and the Canada Border Services
Agency as well as the creation of the intelligence fusion centre known as ITAC, the Integrated Threat Assessment
Centre. It was an important step following on these to issue Canada's National Security Policy paper in April 2004.
Our capacity in public to scrutinize the effectiveness of all these changes is limited. They come from the right
playbook, to my mind, but ITAC appears to have become a conduit for allied intelligence assessments, according to
the most recent report of the Security Intelligence Review Committee, SIRC. The position of National Security
Adviser is essentially part-time and the Department of Public Safety is still a work in progress, as its senior officials will
admit. The Canadian Border Services Agency lacks an effective intelligence component or strategy. The National
Security Policy was both too ambitious and politically deeply cautious.
It will take a long time for the idea of intelligence as a first line of defence to truly root itself in the flesh and bones of
the Canadian government and, indeed, perhaps an even longer time to root itself in the mind of the Canadian public.
The debate over Canadian foreign intelligence capabilities is an off-shoot of the new importance attached to
intelligence; we would not be having this debate without this new importance and new security environment. However,
it is helpful to understand that the debate is old. The first serious attention given to the idea of creating a foreign
intelligence service dates back to 1945. We have been debating the creation of a foreign intelligence service
intermittently for the past 62 years. However, the issue has taken on a new seriousness in a post 9/11 environment.
It is a complex issue that must take as its starting point an understanding of an important distinction between
foreign intelligence capabilities and the creation of a foreign intelligence service. It is important not to put the cart
before the horse. There is no doubt that Canada needs a much greater foreign intelligence capability. Once we accept
that argument, then we can begin to discuss how to achieve this greater capacity.
The answer is not simply to be found in creating a foreign intelligence service. The answer might not even depend on
such a creation. Canada needs a greater understanding of international security developments, greater collection
capacity, greater assessment capabilities and a political culture in which such intelligence can be absorbed into the
mainstream of decision making.
In this equation, we tend to focus on the collection side only, which is a mistake. Even with regard to collection, we
focus too narrowly on the sexy issue of a foreign spy service or Human Intelligence, HUMINT, agency. We may need
such a service down the road. We also need greater diplomatic reporting, a stronger defence attaché system, better
military intelligence, more attention to intelligence in the development framework and what CIDA and other
government agencies do, and more resources in immigration and security screening abroad — the so-called migration
control officers. We also need to invest in new ways of collecting intelligence, some of which may be high tech and
expensive — not just what CSE, the Communications Security Establishment, does, but the beckoning future of
imagery collection or IMINT, if you want another acronym to add to the alphabet soup.
Canada needs better intelligence to fulfil the first line of defence mandate, which is now the role of intelligence. It
needs better intelligence because without good intelligence, Canada will never be fully sovereign or relatively safe. It
needs better intelligence because we want to be a smart power and an activist force in international relations. There are
all kinds of definitions out there of a future Canada — as a principled power, as an energy security giant and so on. We
will not reach any of these aspirations without becoming at the same time, or perhaps first, an intelligence power.
Senator Zimmer: Thank you for attending today and for some of the comments you made. It is interesting that
events in history shape our lives — change, affect or influence them. A couple in my lifetime I can remember are the
Kennedy assassination and 9/11. It is sort of similar to the environment; 20 years ago, people did not think
environment was a problem until it started affecting their lives. Now it is an issue we must deal with.
The area I want to touch on is the security and intelligence community. Could you provide the committee with a
brief overview of the developments of security intelligence in Canada, with an emphasis on changes since 9/11?
Mr. Wark: I will do my best to do that briefly.
I will first make a note about the history of Canada's involvement in this kind of work, which goes back to the
Second World War. It was then that Canada discovered an appetite and a need for intelligence, both domestic
intelligence and foreign intelligence in particular.
During the Second World War, we experimented with a variety of ways to collect and use intelligence, often with the
aid and under the direction of our Allies. The Second World War was for Canada, in the world of intelligence — as it
was economically, politically and militarily — a fast-paced period of maturation. We had our eyes opened to the
possibilities of intelligence.
At the end of the Second World War and the beginning of the Cold War, there was a debate within government
about whether Canada needed to do any intelligence independently, which we really had not done much of before the
Second World War, and, if we needed such intelligence capacity, what form it would take. The debate was an
interesting and complex one, but the end result was to argue that Canada did need intelligence and should create its
own independent capacity.
However, in the Cold War context between 1945 and the early 1990s or 1989, I would say that while Canada
invested to a certain extent in intelligence both foreign and domestic, much of what we did as an intelligence power was
not designed specifically to aid Canadian decision making or national security. We imagined ourselves, between 1945
and 1989, as an intelligence power of a particular kind. We were an intelligence power that wanted to play within an
intelligence alliance, which Canada regarded as very important then and now. We did do our part and we developed
relations within this intelligence community, which continues to thrive to the present.
The reason I stress this is that in this period of time — the formative period over the decades between 1945 and 1991
— we did intelligence for Allied reasons. There was always a Canadian interest in doing it for Allied reasons, but that is
essentially why it was done. This fact, in addition to the burdens of secrecy and compartmentalization that always
surround intelligence work, meant that something happened that was quite curious and unique in Canada, which was
that the idea of intelligence as a key component of decision making on all kinds of domestic and international issues
really never took root.
I would say the problem only intensified with the end of the Cold War. We saw a decade, from 1991 to 2001, in
which we returned to some basic issues about what kind of intelligence Canada needed, how we should construct those
activities and how important and central and significant they were. It was a decade of searching for answers, but I am
not sure we ever came up with any.
There were various suggestions about why Canada needed to do intelligence. Perhaps we would turn our attention
to international criminal activity; perhaps we would turn our attention to environmental scans, which might be one
new area of investigation for intelligence services. There were some traditional problems that needed to continue to be
watched; but essentially, I would characterize the post-Cold War decade as a decade in which intelligence went
searching for a new mission to replace its old Cold War one.
The September 11 attacks came as a surprise and shock to the Canadian intelligence community. We have to accept
the fact that Canada experienced its own form of intelligence failure with September 11. We were not directly targeted.
Canadian lives were lost in the twin towers and elsewhere, but we shared the general allied intelligence community's
inability to fully imagine the possibility of an al Qaeda strike then.
After September 11, on the back of that shock, we were thrown into a profoundly revolutionary period of change,
but a revolution that proceeded without a script for much of this time. We knew we needed more intelligence and we
knew we needed to throw more resources at it. We knew we needed to organize our government differently. We wanted
to make sure we could stay in the alliance club; and we wanted to develop new partnerships with other states that might
have information useful to us. Therefore, we went out to change the face of Canadian intelligence — but again, without
The script came along in April 2004 with the national security strategy, which was designed to define national
security interests and also to give marching orders to a set of new bureaucratic developments that had been created
months earlier — especially the creation of the Department of Public Safety, the Canada Border Services Agency, the
National Security Advisor post and organizations like the JTAC, the Joint Terrorism and Analysis Centre.
The period after September 11, 2001, was shaped by very fast-paced change. It was essentially a reactive effort to
catch up with the threat and catch up with a missing history of intelligence that precedes the 9/11 attacks, to try to find
ways to boost Canadian capabilities in made-in-Canada terms. However, there really was no overall sense of how best
to achieve this, or even much opportunity for reflecting on the steps that we took — as we took them incrementally and
reactively after September 11.
The most promising thing, from my perspective, is that the idea did emerge powerfully that intelligence had a
profoundly different and much more important role to play in Canadian statecraft after that time. The question that
remains for me as a public observer of long standing — my interest in intelligence issues goes back to 1978 as a student
of these matters — is the implementation side. The frustration for any public observer, and perhaps the frustration
shared by a few senators on this panel, is the question of how does one fully probe the effectiveness and thinking
behind some of the changes that have occurred.
I think we have the right kind of playbook in terms of resources and the new attention to intelligence, the new
bureaucratic structures in some respects. The missing dimension, the one that is quite elusive and hard to pin down, is
the culture of intelligence. Is there a full appreciation, especially at senior levels of government, in the bureaucracy and
at the political decision-making level, of the important potential role that intelligence can play? Is it fully enmeshed in
the decision-making apparatus? At the same time, is there a proper appreciation of the limitations of intelligence? You
cannot expect too much from intelligence. You have a right to expect something from it, but not too much.
In addition to that missing dimension, the other problem we face in this country is because we did not, as a
government or as a society at large, pay much attention to the idea of Canadian intelligence before September 11.
Continuing in the post 9/11 era, we are having to come to grips with a new phenomenon — intelligence in Canada. The
public knows very little about this. The public has been told very little about this, and not enough about it. Although
some steps have been made to close the gap between what government does and what the public understands, the gap is
still large. There has been a significant failure in public education in not only explaining the threat environment that
Canadians face but also explaining the kinds of instruments and capacities that the Canadian government has and
wields against those threats.
Senator Zimmer: Briefly, can you provide the committee with an appreciation for the threat environment today? Is it
high alert? Describe how you see it evolving over the next decade and what you see as the greatest current sources of
instability in the world and how those would affect our country — not the United States, but our country.
For a long time, our role in society has been peacekeeping. We have now taken on a different role in Afghanistan.
Do you perceive that we are being challenged further or that the threat to our country has been enhanced because of
this change of role from peacekeeping to forces?
Mr. Wark: Senator, those are two good questions. Again, I will do my best with them.
On the threat environment, the threat to Canada is different from the threat faced by our allies, but it is hard to be
certain about that difference or to quantify it or to be comfortable with an assurance that it will always remain
different. Certain European countries, like Britain and France, face and acknowledge a much higher level of threat in
terms of dangers posed by both homegrown and international terrorism than does Canada. That is true as well for the
The difficulty we face is that while we are not at the bull's eye of the activities of any international terrorist group, let
us take al Qaeda as the leading example, or any of its offshoots, nevertheless there is always the possibility that we
might be targeted, either because it is conceived that it is possible to operate in Canada or because a disaffected group
decides to strike against Canada in retaliation for some activities that Canada has engaged in abroad. It is certainly the
case, as Mr. Judd, the CSIS director, has pointed out on numerous occasions, that Canada remains the only country
identified by al Qaeda as a target for operations that has not been effectively targeted.
We face a threat. The difficulty is in knowing what the precise dimensions of that threat are. The problem in terms
of responding to it is that, in some respects, we are forced into an uncomfortable situation of having to assume the
worst, or operate on the basis of worst-case assumptions. Even if we are not at the bull's eye, we might likely be
targeted, and we have to take the same measures and precautions. Most importantly, if you follow the logic of
intelligence as the first line of defence, invest heavily in intelligence against the possibility. It is almost impossible to pin
down what that possibility is or to make comfortable predictions about the future.
I would reject only the extremes of this. The one extreme will say, and I have heard this from people in the
intelligence community, that it is not a question of if but when. We can say that, but there is no purpose in saying it. On
the other hand, I would reject out of hand the notion that Canada will never be targeted by terrorists.
We have many advantages in this country. We have a very effective civil society. Actually, we have an effective
intelligence community. We have effective relationships with foreign countries that provide us with some degree of
security, but that security cannot be 100 per cent.
We are threatened, and it is not a way that we like to think about these matters. We are involved in the war on
terror, whether or not that war on terror is mislabelled and should be called something else. It is a war that has not
found a proper label. Call it a contest against global terrorism, whatever you like, but we are engaged in it, and we have
been engaged in it since we decided to sign on to the collective security Article 5 of NATO in September 2001. We are
threatened, and there is no sign that global transnational terrorism is going away or being transmuted into political
activism or that its capacities are being lessened and diminished. This is a long-term threat that will be very difficult to
diminish and get under control.
Frankly, Canada has an important role to play in doing that through a variety of instruments, not just military
power, but development aid, thinking about the root causes of such threats, occasionally taking part in international
coalition activities, using its intelligence and using its relationships with foreign powers. We have a distinct role to play
in this contest with terrorism.
We like to think of ourselves as an activist international power, and it behooves Canada to regard terrorism as one
of the terrible global scourges. There are others, of course, and we may decide that, from time to time, they have a
greater call on our attention and resources, whether it is AIDS or epidemics or natural disasters or what have you, but
terrorism has now joined the ranks of global scourges that the global community has a responsibility to try to
As regards to peacemaking versus war fighting, my view as a one-time military historian is that Canada has a long
and proud tradition of war fighting that goes back to the Boer War, World War I, World War II and Korea. It is not
necessarily the case that we are continuing in that tradition in Afghanistan, but that tradition is part of our military
and political culture.
The role that the Canadian military took in Afghanistan from early 2002 onwards was never a peacemaking role. It
was always a war-fighting, post-war reconstruction, security role. In certain kinds of military environments, you
cannot make peace. This may sound simplistic, and I apologize if it does, but you cannot make peace unless you are
prepared to do some fighting along the way. That is the situation we face in Afghanistan.
The real question in Afghanistan is how long we will remain welcome there as a fighter on behalf of the Afghan
people. Time is running out for that, and perhaps the sympathies of parts of the Afghan population, particularly in
Kandahar province and southern Afghanistan, may be wearing thin with the presence of foreign troops and their
I do not see us fundamentally embarked on something unprecedented or unheard of in Afghanistan. It fits into a
You asked whether that increases the dangers to Canada. The answer is that it is impossible to say. We probably
cannot judge or should not judge the mission on those grounds. It may well increase the desire on the part of al Qaeda
or Taliban elements to take revenge on Canada. If they are going to do that, probably their most fertile operational
area to take such revenge, of course, is in Afghanistan itself. We simply cannot discount the possibility that because
Canada has become a visible part of the International Security Assistance Force, ISAF, coalition and a forcible part of
that coalition's operations in Kandahar and elsewhere, that we may be targeted for retribution.
The other aspect is that it is possible that disaffected people in Canada who very much disagree with Western
intervention in Afghanistan might take it upon themselves to think that their own society should be punished for this
anti-Islamist activity, or however they might characterize it, and they may well take matters into their own hands.
There was some suggestion certainly in the media reporting around the alleged terrorist plotters in Toronto that part of
what drove them to concoct the plots that they were reported to have concocted was anger at Canadian activities in
Afghanistan. We cannot discount that. Who knows what the truth of that is? We will not know until the court cases
presumably come to public trial, but there is always that possibility.
Senator Zimmer: Very briefly, do you think the resources that have been allocated to the intelligence community in
our country are sufficient to meet the threat today? Do you think the intelligence community is ready to respond to
these homegrown threats?
Mr. Wark: My answer would be in accord with some of what you heard from Mr. Adams and, if I recall correctly,
Mr. Judd, which is that the intelligence community has been given a great deal of money to expand in a relatively short
period of time. It is not easy for an intelligence community to absorb money, because what they want is high-quality
personnel and technological capabilities. This takes time to train and generate.
I accept the observation by the leaders of the Canadian intelligence community that they have been given all they
can cope with at the moment. That said, I anticipate that the intelligence budget will continue to expand, and may
expand dramatically, depending on what is happening domestically or internationally, for the foreseeable future. We
are on an ever-ascending rise in terms of intelligence spending, and I think that is where we should be.
It is hard to parse the intelligence budget because the intelligence budget is essentially secret. We know bits and
pieces of it, but we do not know how it is broken down and spent within the overall budget envelopes. It may be that
more money needs to be spent in one area as opposed to another, but we do not have much capacity to scrutinize that
from the outside, or at least I do not have. We do have the Auditor General and Parliament to do some of that work
for us, and we do have the Security Intelligence Review Committee. If Justice O'Connor's recommendations are
followed through at some point, we may have a broader intelligence community review capacity put in place down the
Senator Zimmer: We talked with our previous witnesses from the RCMP about security between the borders, not at
the borders but between the borders. Arising from that is an education, awareness and culture of the public to watch
for certain things and report situations. Using that same analogy with this situation, intelligence culture and terrorism
here in Canada, the culture, to a point, has always said that it cannot happen here. I think that view is somewhat
changing, but much is said about the lack of intelligence culture in Canada.
Do you concur that that is the thought process at the moment? What do you believe is required to better engage
government and the public about the issues of national security?
Mr. Wark: Thank you for the question, because it gives me an opportunity to say this as forcefully as I can. I believe
that Canada faces a real problem in terms of this thing that we call intelligence culture. By that, I mean an
understanding that suffuses all of government operations when it comes to both domestic politics and international
security. It suffuses all those operations with an appreciation that intelligence knowledge, intelligence assessments in
particular, should have something to contribute to a process of decision making. It will not determine decisions. It may
sometimes bend decisions in one way or another, it may sometimes have no impact whatsoever, but it has a
contribution to make. Historically, that has never been the case for decision making in Canada, except in rare
moments, arguably, of crisis, when we perhaps responded badly to the intelligence that we did have available to us.
There is a problem of appreciating and taking seriously intelligence as a component of decision making. What is to
be done about that? I think nothing in the short term can be done about that. It is a process of familiarizing senior
officials with the intelligence product and getting them to a position of respecting it. The same process must go on with
cabinet ministers, many of whom, before they take up portfolios, will never have heard of intelligence, other than in a
kind of James Bondian fashion. It is a long-term seeding process of respect for intelligence and what it can do.
An essential component, of course, is that intelligence has to earn its respect. There has to be a good product to
convince senior decision makers and cabinet ministers that it should be listened to and paid attention to and decisions
based on it. There is a symbiotic relationship between good intelligence and good political culture that is prepared to
take intelligence on board.
A great weakness in trying to ensure that this political culture of intelligence had some roots in Canadian
government decision making was the absence of the high-level intelligence product. I think the committee has heard
from Margaret Bloodworth, or perhaps her deputy, Rennie Marcoux, that the cabinet and Prime Minister now receive
a regular intelligence brief. However, I think we need an even more systematic process of ensuring that senior cabinet
ministers and the Prime Minister get a full daily diet of intelligence.
We are edging towards a long-established British and American practice, which in the British case is the famous
Joint Intelligence Committee Red Book, essentially a weekly strategic assessment of intelligence and threats. That is the
kind of thing that the Canadian intelligence community needs to create. It has to be a very good, very high-level
product, and one which the decision makers have to get accustomed to receiving and acting on. There is a high level of
reporting — which was not part of the practice because intelligence was not central to government operations before
September 11 — with which we are experimenting and playing but which we have still not gotten right.
On the public side, again, I do not think there are any short-term fixes. It will take the Canadian public a long time
to wean itself from caricatures of spying. It will take my academic colleagues a long time to wean themselves from these
caricatures. I experience it all the time. Intelligence for Canadians is a kind of joke. It is a popular cultural
phenomenon. It is not serious; it is not what we do. The truth of the matter is that it is deadly important business for
Canada in a post-9/11 environment.
One of the ways in which that popular culture miasma can be overturned a little bit lies in the hands of the Canadian
government. I would strongly recommend that the Canadian government embark on an annual public threat
assessment reporting process that should be channelled through Parliament but should not be surrounded by the layers
of secrecy that often go into intelligence community reporting to Parliament and beyond, whether it is the Security
Intelligence Review Committee annual reports or anything else. We need a public document in which the government
will set out what it sees to be the current threats in this year, the year previous and on the horizon, and the kinds of
capabilities that Canada has to respond to those threats. I think that would be an important tool of public education
and not an unheard-of one in terms of the practices adopted by our allies.
Senator Zimmer: Since 9/11, the U.S. government has been extremely proactive in engaging and supporting
American universities and colleges in the study of intelligence, with a focus on analysis. The tragedy that just occurred
in one of the universities in the last couple of weeks was mentioned here earlier. It was not quite related, but still in the
Is this the case in Canada? If not, could you provide the committee with a brief explanation of why this does not
happen in Canada and suggest ways to improve the situation?
Mr. Wark: Again, I thank you for the question.
Senator Zimmer: My honourable colleague has just pointed out that in fact it has occurred in Montreal. That is true.
Mr. Wark: Senator Zimmer, I have a sad story to tell you in response to this question. I think that the academic
community, of which I am a member, has failed profoundly to respond to this new international security environment
and to Canada's role in the world post-September 11. Very little attention is paid in the academic community to
intelligence and security issues. There are only a handful of us who have attempted to develop an expertise in this area,
generally on the basis of our own interests, without institutional support and certainly without much government
support. I could probably number the academic experts in this country on intelligence and security issues on two
hands, if not less. It is a shocking failure. The failure is of such a magnitude that I am in some respects at a loss to
In part, the failure is one of government leadership. There has been no systematic government program to
encourage study and research in this area whatsoever. The funding councils that we look to in this area have been
particularly remiss in this regard. It is also a failure of academic communities and universities themselves to take this
subject on board and invest in it. Somehow, in the academic community in this country, intelligence and security issues
remain caricatured and are not seen as significant or trendy.
The academic community is out of touch with reality on this. What alarms me most about this is that those of us
who have invested to make ourselves expert in this field over the last couple of decades are a greying, essentially baby
boomer generation. Every time one of us retires, he or she is not replaced.
The most recent example is Martin Rudner at Carleton University, who created the Canadian Centre of Intelligence
and Security Studies and who launched a graduate program of teaching in intelligence and security, the first of its kind
in Canada. He is not going to be replaced. They have no one to teach that program. It is a shocking situation. The
blame for it is shared between my academic cohort and the government. The only place I would not put blame is on the
students, who love this subject and flock to it. I have 300 undergraduate students taking a course in intelligence and
security. I have full graduate seminars, students flocking to this subject because they are fascinated by it and they think
it has academic or career potential for them.
The infrastructure support and resources are wholly lacking, and the subject is dying in this country. It is wholly
different from what is going on in the United States or the U.K.
Senator Zimmer: Would Peter St. John from Winnipeg be one you would name?
Mr. Wark: He is long retired and was not replaced.
Senator Zimmer: I appreciate your candour.
The Chairman: It sounds an awful lot like the Senate. They are retiring and not being replaced.
Mr. Wark: You get to be elected.
The Chairman: Senator Banks and I want to run tomorrow.
You mentioned Mr. Justice O'Connor. It is not likely that he will come forward with anything that will tell us much
about the effectiveness of the intelligence apparatus, is it?
Mr. Wark: I have two answers to that. One may be slightly in confidence, so I am a little conflicted about it.
I have certainly heard from Justice O'Connor statements suggesting that he believes Canada is well-served by its
intelligence community, from all that he observed in the course of his investigations. It is also more substantively the
case that, especially in the part one report that he did, he has clearly outlined the importance of intelligence to
Canadian security and the importance of maintaining intelligence alliance relationships. He has called attention to
some of the ways in which the intelligence community in the case of Arar did not perform according to their own rules
and guidelines, or as well as they could have done.
As I read the report, all of that is said in the context of an understanding that the intelligence community is
necessary and on the whole does good work, but what is required is some fine tuning, particularly on the part of
RCMP national security operations.
The Chairman: I was intrigued, and perhaps a bit surprised, at your analysis of why there was not more academic
interest in intelligence. I thought you were going to say there was not more interest in it because it did not lend itself to
the traditional academic ways of studying things. We do not have sources you can go back to examine. You are left
reading on the margins of what you are trying to study without the ability to validate any of your conclusions. Is that
not part of the reason?
Mr. Wark: It is a factor, but I would turn it on its head and say that I think for all of us who have got involved in
this subject, and all of us who would encourage a young generation of academics to get involved in it, it is a challenge.
It is undoubtedly the case that you will always sooner or later run into the barriers and walls of secrecy, whether you
are looking historically or in a more contemporaneous vein at intelligence operations.
However, we live in an open age and society in which there is a great volume of publicly available documentation
about the performance of intelligence communities and about intelligence problems in general. Much of what interests
me, for example about how intelligence functions, has to do with issues such as why intelligence assessment fails. What
are the building blocks of good assessment as opposed to bad? Where does thinking go wrong? This you can do
without necessarily having access to all the raw material available through an intelligence community. You can come
up with remarkable findings about those issues that directly bear on operational effectiveness.
While I would say that the field would be more attractive to more scholars if it were a little less daunting to do some
aspects of research in it, I do not see this as the major problem or the major hindrance in terms of encouraging people
to do that work. Sometimes intelligence scholars like to think of themselves a little bit in the way archaeologists or
medievalists think of themselves. There is always a limited record, but you can tell important and sometimes wonderful
stories with what you have.
The Chairman: You commented about intelligence not being used as part of the decision-making process. Frankly, if
intelligence is not going to be used as part of the decision-making process, there is no point in having intelligence. The
whole thing is a waste. We seem to be in a push society where intelligence is pushed up rather than pulled up. You
commented about the lack of preparedness or interest of senior officials and political leaders. How would you propose
to demonstrate to them that they should include intelligence information in their decision-making process?
Mr. Wark: There are two ways to do that. One would be for Canadian decision makers to familiarize themselves
with the reality of intelligence culture in other countries. You only have to spend a brief period of time with senior
British officials and decision makers to understand how they appreciate intelligence, and the same is true of our
counterparts in the United States. An appreciation for what other states do, even on a comparative power basis, is
useful, for instance the ways in which intelligence is used in the Australian system, where it is even today much more
influential than it is across the board in Canada. International comparisons would help, and familiarity with them.
Again, to come back to the point I made, you only get to this level of appreciation when there is a regular product
that is good, and where that regular product is not confined to the middle ranks of the bureaucracy, as was often the
case prior to September 11 with much of the intelligence reporting. It circulated around in the middle ranks of the
bureaucracies, in committees formed to create intelligence assessments and discuss threats and so on, a middle kind of
rank. It needs to be moved into the upper echelons and to stay there, as well as influencing middle level and lower level
decision making and knowledge.
I have read Margaret Bloodworth's testimony to the committee. I hesitate to disagree with the way in which she has
characterized this. I know that in response to your similar question to her about this she said that it was not strictly a
question of push up and no pull from above. I suspect that she is right and that is changing, but it is probably not
changing quickly enough.
We need a process somehow to educate senior decision makers in intelligence. Every cabinet minister coming into
his or her portfolio needs to be given an intelligence briefing, not just about facts but about the community. We need
this regular product going up. We need to have a kind of intelligence bible that will be the test of the intelligence
community's capacities and a test of the senior decision makers' capabilities to understand this material and use it
wisely. Until we get to that, that combination of knowing where Canada sits internationally and how we can draw on
international lessons and having that daily experience of intelligence, we cannot otherwise imagine it, but with those
two things in place we could easily imagine it.
The Chairman: Most cabinet ministers cannot imagine a situation where they would require intelligence in the
exercise of their responsibilities. They do not see how it fits into the context of the work they are doing.
The other aspect is that those ministers who do have a direct role in intelligence do not have enough hours in the day
to look at it. When Minister Anne McLellan came before this committee, we reviewed her duties as Deputy Prime
Minister, her responsibilities for the border file, the fact that she spent an hour a day on Question Period and perhaps
another hour preparing for it, and the fact that she then had to fly halfway across the country every week to her
constituency, which she won by 200 votes or less, depending on the election, if she hoped to get re-elected. We were
astonished. By the time she finished with the committees she chaired and the amount of work she had to do just to
grind out the sausages, there was not much time for leisure reading.
Virtually any minister in that position appears to be almost totally reliant on someone supplying a fused view and a
specific recommendation. When we talk to the providers, they say they do not get access, that they never have a chance
to talk to the minister, that they pass something through a deputy who, in turn, sends it on to Privy Council Office. At
the end of the day, the product is reduced simply because of the other demands on time.
Mr. Wark: I am sure this is a difficult business, and I am sure that cabinet ministers are vastly overworked. I suspect
that Minister McLellan is happy to be back in the law faculty of the University of Alberta.
It is a matter of reordering priorities. The intelligence communities in this country and elsewhere around the world
have found ways to address the problem of busy politicians. This is not an issue unique to Canada. There are different
ways to deliver intelligence information, and the understanding is that it has to be brief and punchy. It is not beyond
Canadian genius to come up with ways of getting a succinct and important intelligence message to senior decision
makers. It is more a question of appetite and understanding that this is important material.
To sound slightly frivolous, there are ways in which intelligence has some natural advantages when it comes to
finding its place in the feeding chain of what goes before a minister. Anything in a red docket might have its
attractions. Ministers, like everyone else, like to know secrets that no one else knows, and ministers do not like to not
know secrets that other people know. I mention this because it is a well-documented phenomenon in the history of
intelligence that there is a competitive disadvantage, even around a cabinet table, to being caught out not knowing
what your fellow ministers know.
There are those kinds of advantages, but the serious point to this is that while a great deal of information appears in
front of a minister in all kinds of guises, intelligence should be delivering absolutely critical information that all
ministers have to know. It is not a matter of choice. They must be apprised of fundamental threats to Canadian
security. This cannot be frivolous material that you are wasting their time with. It has to be seen as important material
that they must know. Presented in this guise, and when ministers begin to appreciate that these are not random tidbits
of interesting information collected by the intelligence community but, rather, are assessed views of the dangers facing
Canada that weigh on national security interests, then attitudes will change.
We face a profound inheritance from the decades since World War II in which intelligence never had that kind of
stature. It is a new phenomenon that it does have that stature, and it will take time before intelligence decision makers
appreciate that stature. I would encourage intelligence briefings and encourage them to contact their counterparts in
foreign countries. No Canadian cabinet minister would want to be seen as less well-informed than their foreign
counterparts on critical issues.
The Chairman: The last element of this that I will touch on is the disrepute that intelligence has acquired over time.
We have seen intelligence in countries close to us used for political purposes, and we are always much more conscious
of intelligence failures than we are of intelligence successes. This puts the intelligence community at a significant
disadvantage if they want to become part of the decision making process.
Mr. Wark: I suppose it does, but on the other hand, maybe we could turn that idea on its head and say that while
Canada has witnessed profound intelligence failures recently on the part of our allies, particularly in terms of
assessments of weapons of mass destruction with regard to Iraq by the British, the Americans, the Australians and the
Israelis, all of which were similar, there is an opportunity for us to learn a couple of lessons. The first is the importance
of getting intelligence right and another is about the sensitivities that must surround the politicization of intelligence.
It would behoove us to reflect on recent history of our decision making in the international arena when we think
about the issue of intelligence success, the role of intelligence and intelligence failure. On what basis of knowledge did
we go into Afghanistan? On what basis of knowledge did we stay out of Iraq, if any? These are important questions,
and I am not sure that reflecting on them would necessarily lead to a conclusion that intelligence has been so
scandalized and sensationalized that it is not important. We might find that there were significant deficiencies in our
knowledge base that we ourselves should be cognizant of, which would reinforce the idea that even though intelligence
can and will frequently fail — some argue will always fail because the business is so difficult — like it or not, we have to
rely on intelligence assessments for some critical and tricky decisions and there is much work to be done in the
Canadian intelligence community to get to the point where we both rely on a good intelligence product and know its
Senator Banks: Would you comment on the fact that, in one sense at least, the intelligence about Iraq before the
invasion was effective because it sent some people into war, notwithstanding that it was wrong? Is that not one of the
reasons for which the intelligence community has generally fallen into disrepute? It was wrong intelligence.
Mr. Wark: Absolutely; the intelligence was shockingly wrong. There is, of course, much controversy around the
degree to which the intelligence was shockingly wrong because it was politically manipulated, a controversy that will
probably never be fully settled in the lifetimes of any of us.
I suppose you could take away from that an argument that intelligence will be wrong and that it is very dangerous to
rely on intelligence when it comes to such critical decisions of war or peace. However, in the longer historical view, we
know that in critical decisions of war and peace you often need to rely on intelligence and sometimes, in critical
instances, intelligence will save you from catastrophe.
My favourite example of this, one in which Canada had a role, is the Cuban missile crisis. Without the kind of
intelligence that the United States had in that crisis, the world would probably have blundered into a nuclear war. It
was only the intelligence available then, and the willingness of the Kennedy administration to listen to it and to fashion
their options on the basis of it, that pulled us back from the brink.
There are always instances that can be marshalled against the long and sensational record of failure. The truth of the
matter is that what we are asking of intelligence is, in a way, the impossible. We want the intelligence communities to
know the world, know all the threats and predict where the threats are coming from. That is an impossibility, but we
expect them to have a 100 per cent record.
Senator Banks: We do expect them to get it right, whatever interpretation they put on it.
Mr. Wark: Yes, but sometimes it is difficult to do that. Not to go deeply into the Iraq assessment, but I have studied
it and talked to many people involved. At the end of the day, it is hard to come away from that business without
reflecting on the fact that the most surprising thing about it was that Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass
destruction. If you reflect on that, you can begin to see how difficult it was for intelligence communities around the
world, whether British, American, Australian or Israeli — and we know the nature of their assessments because of
parliamentary and other forms of public inquiries — to come up with any alternative analysis except that Saddam
Hussein must have this stuff.
Senator Banks: We do not want to spend too much time on this, but the intelligence that said he must have it was on
one side of the page, and the other side was the intelligence on which I remember Canada based much of its decision,
which was some UN inspector who said he did not. There were two sets of intelligence. Some guys went with the wrong
one. I will move away from that.
From one witness this morning we heard that ``intelligence'' must be understood as just another word for
``information.'' From another witness this morning we heard that one must understand the distinction between
intelligence and information.
Mr. Wark: People have tried to come up with a definition of intelligence and the distinctiveness between intelligence
and information for decades. I am not sure I will be any better at this. However, there are some clarifications that take
us a certain distance. When modern intelligence agencies came into being before World War I, they were trafficking in
secret information that they would acquire clandestinely through humans. That world is long gone.
Today, intelligence services provide information to governments on the basis of both clandestinely acquired and
open source information. As I think you will hear from most intelligence practitioners, a good part of the spectrum of
information they now provide to governments is derived from open source reporting, and only a relatively small part
comes from that clandestinely acquired stream, whether from signals or communication intelligence. Indeed, for those
states that have the capacity, there is imagery intelligence.
Intelligence services, in my estimation, provide to governments informed judgments about threats and the nature of
the international and domestic security environment. Those informed judgments are important because they are not
just raw information and material. The sense they make and the assessments they do on that information is what really
counts. Intelligence assessment is at the heart of this business.
Intelligence services provide informed judgments to governments on current and future security threats at home and
abroad. That is the way I would define the business.
Senator Banks: With respect to processing and assessment analysis, you talked about a time in which we were more
welcome than we might be now at the international tables. We understood that from approximately the end of the war
until the end of the Cold War, Canada's main stock in trade was not the gathering and the acquisition of raw
information; rather, it was the expertise we had in processing the information that made us welcome.
You said the answer is not simply in creating a foreign intelligence service. The answer may not even depend upon
such a creation. Could we go to a specialization, if you like, of greater intelligence assessment capabilities and make
that our niche?
Mr. Wark: That is an interesting question. I think we could do more along those lines, and we have lost a certain
place that we once had. It is difficult to judge. This is an illustration of Senator Kenny's remarks. It is hard to survey
the broad history of Canadian intelligence assessments because so much of the documentation remains closed.
During periods of the Cold War, Canada was intimately plugged into an allied network in which we shared
intelligence assessments. Canadian intelligence assessments were often listened to with some degree of respect. We were
seen as a relatively cautious and skeptical intelligence community that did not leap at the next threat and did not tend
to exaggerate the nature of the threat.
My sense is that that intimate sharing of intelligence assessments as opposed to intimate sharing of intelligence
collection material has been devalued over time, but it certainly could be rebuilt. I think we would have a strong
capacity to be a leader in intelligence assessments given the kinds of people, resources and technological resources we
have in this country as well as our global interests.
Senator Banks: Do you mean devalued in terms of our capacity to do it, not in terms of its value in the international
Mr. Wark: No, in terms of our capacity to contribute. I think we could build up that contribution again. It would
require reinvesting in some mechanisms that we allowed to rust away, including the liaison officer networks that linked
us to Britain and Washington and so on.
It could be done. It depends on having a very good intelligence assessment product because you are up against some
capable organizations: the National Intelligence Council in the U.S., the Joint Intelligence Committee in the U.K. and
others of that kind.
We could be that niche, but I would not want us to try to be that niche alone. I think that could be part of Canada's
identity as an intelligence power. You cannot do good intelligence assessment unless you have enough collecting power
of your own. You need all kinds of sources of information. You have to have open source information, clandestinely
acquired information, signals intelligence information and some capacity to get a hold of the imagery intelligence or
generate it yourself. You need the full spectrum of intelligence collection before you can complete effective intelligence
assessment. Otherwise, what happens, as we saw with the Iraq war, is that every intelligence assessment community
ends up aping the conclusions of the other intelligence assessment communities.
Senator Banks: Except ours.
Mr. Wark: I would like to be confident that we had a dissenting view on this, but I have yet to see the evidence of
Senator Banks: You were talking about Mr. Justice O'Connor's report. The chair discussed that with you. Under the
last government, some of us were members of an all-party inter-House committee that ran around the world and
looked at some of the Five Eyes people, and we created a report of recommendations having to do with parliamentary
oversight. Canada is the only country among the Western democracies that does not have some kind of parliamentary
oversight over security and intelligence matters, and that was touched on in Mr. Justice O'Connor's report.
I assume you might have seen some of our recommendations.
Mr. Wark: Yes, I have indeed.
Senator Banks: What is your quick take on that situation? Do you think that parliamentary oversight ought to be
before or after the fact? Should it be supervision or review after the fact?
Mr. Wark: I will answer the second question first because I think it is the easier one.
On the whole, parliamentary scrutiny of the intelligence community has to be retrospective. That is the way it can
best work. I do not think it really has a role in terms of contributing to or commenting on current operations. I cannot
see that happening, and that is not the usual practice in parliamentary systems.
My understanding is that the issue of a parliamentary committee or a committee of parliamentarians is still under
review by the government. My own view is that the time has come for such an institution. My personal preference for
such a committee would be more of a parliamentary committee on a joint basis, as your group recommended, rather
than the British model of a committee of parliamentarians, which can be more closely controlled and held. At the end
of the day, I would be prepared to accept either as a step forward to get this practice rolling and we can always see
about changes down the road.
I think it is critical for Parliament to have a greater capacity than it currently has to scrutinize the work of the
intelligence community, not because — and this would have been the principal burden of expectation in the past — the
intelligence community is engaged in a lot of dirty tricks or law breaking. That is not where the work needs to be done.
It is the whole question of efficacy. How good are they at their job?
A parliamentary committee, to my mind, could assist the intelligence community in getting better at its job by giving
it an outside stimulus to improve. The intelligence community tends to be hermetically sealed and its members live in
an isolated world where it is difficult to generate internal criticism; they need external criticism.
A parliamentary committee could have a profound impact on public education through the reports and testimony
that could go on here and the media attention that would accrue to that. It could, over the long run, change the way
people think about intelligence issues in this country.
Senator Banks: If that committee had the access to do its job, some kind of security clearance, there would be a strict
limit on what it would be able to tell the public about what it found.
Mr. Wark: That is often the concern, but I think that the practices of the British, Australians, Americans or Israelis
do not raise those concerns. There will always be matters of operational sources, methods and details that should not
be divulged to the public, but that is not what is important about parliamentary reporting in any case. It would be a
broader, more strategic look at the security and intelligence community — how it was performing and integrated, how
tasking was being accomplished, and what failures had evidently occurred and needed to be investigated. It would be
along those lines and not down into the weeds of operational sources and methods. That would not be the role of such
a committee. It is a bit of a shibboleth to argue that once you get a security cleared parliamentary committee with
security cleared staff you shut it away from the public and ordinary parliamentary business. It does not have to be like
Senator Day: I had determined in my own mind that the definition of intelligence was information from all sources,
whether clandestine or open, that was analyzed and then it became intelligence.
Mr. Wark: That is a sensible and appropriate definition.
Senator Day: As Senator Banks noted, one of the definitions was indeed the one you pointed out from World War I
when intelligence was information gathered in a clandestine way. That was called intelligence, but we are away from
You mentioned imagery collection. Can you give a definition? Are we talking about geopolitical information?
Mr. Wark: Imagery intelligence is anything collected generally from technological platforms in the air or in space. It
has a long history going back to World War I or earlier. It is a look from above at countries or armies or anything of
Imagery intelligence has long been a part of the spectrum of intelligence information collection. It has tended to be
expensive and a monopoly of the great powers. There is now a technological and cost revolution under way. The
possibility of doing imagery intelligence is now much more ubiquitous and cheaper than in the past. There are costly
``Cadillacs'' in the sky that Canada could never afford, and I gather we get some of that intelligence in any case through
our alliance relationship. There are lesser collection platforms, some of which we have deployed to Afghanistan, which
in the future will be an important part of the intelligence business. There has been discussion about how Canada will
increase its knowledge of developments in the Arctic and Arctic security. One of the ways in which that could be
accomplished is through investment in imagery.
There are concerns which we have heard in this committee about border security and monitoring the borders. There
are technological sensors in place, but there may be platforms in place in the future that do that work for us. They are
often seen as a military device but they are a profound intelligence tool that is becoming cheap and miniaturized and
available in ways that allow it to be used by Canada. We are just on the edges of this. With the Afghanistan situation, I
fear we have not given enough thought to what kind of imagery technology might be useful to us. When we went into
Afghanistan we bought off the shelf UAVs that had a mixed record of performance and we need to give thought to
what kinds of imagery systems might suit Canadian intelligence needs. There are commercial satellites up there to be
used more and you need the capacity to use that information if you buy it. We may want to launch our own satellites in
the future and there are lower level items we could use as well.
Senator Day: The uninhabited vehicles with cameras on them is one source of the imagery you are talking about. Is
that source of information less expensive than the satellite images we get? Are they also effective with cloud cover or
would be below the clouds? Is that the reason for looking at these?
Mr. Wark: They have different capabilities and price tags. You would want to look at the capabilities and at the
price tags. Canada has some pretty good technological capacity in this area. We have been a leader in X-ray satellite
technology for a number of years. We have never asked ourselves what part of this technology we need to enhance
Canada's capacity as an intelligence power. Afghanistan really has been the first time we have been forced to ask
ourselves that question. Perhaps our security will require us to ask it.
I think there is a border security and Arctic security role for this technology. I think there is a role for it in military
peacemaking and peacekeeping operations in the future. We may well decide that we want a niche capacity in terms of
intelligence monitoring of other issues. Maybe we want to take a role in global environmental scanning through
commercial satellites. You either have to have the satellites or be willing to buy some dedicated time from them.
This is a great future field of possibility for the Canadian community, which historically has always relied on its
allies for the product and has made good use of the product but never owned it ourselves.
Senator Day: During your remarks you were discussing a number of changes that have taken place since September
11, 2001. You make some good points.
You talked about the Integrated Threat Assessment Centre, ITAC, which appears to have become a conduit for
allied intelligence assessments. From your observation, then, we are not doing our own assessment, just acting as a
clearing house or gathering house for information from our allies. Is that what you are saying?
Mr. Wark: It is what I am guessing. There is some statistical information about the nature of ITAC reporting in the
most recent Security Intelligence Review Committee annual report that suggests that the majority of the product it
produces as threat assessments is repackaged allied threat assessments coming to us from sister agencies.
ITAC was created in part in order to provide a Canadian equivalent to similar antiterrorist fusion centres that were
being created in Washington and London. JTAC is the Joint Terrorism and Analysis Centre in the U.K. The name of
the American centre has changed over time, but it is essentially their integrated threat assessment terrorist centre as
That sense that a good deal of the product is coming via allied channels may reflect the fact that we have not quite
worked out a way to make ITAC work for ourselves. It is important to have this product flowing through ITAC from
allied countries. I would not suggest otherwise for a minute. My sense from a statistical glimpse is that ITAC was not
doing enough of its own reporting on a Canadian vision of terrorist threats to this country or more globally. I was
quite struck by the extent to which its reporting was offshore and repackaged.
It speaks to the root of the experiment with ITAC, which was, in part, to create a Canadian equivalent to other
centres for liaison and allied relationship purposes; it was an experiment in intelligence cooperation that did not go
beyond wanting to be an experiment in intelligence cooperation; and, it was rooted in a kind of widespread suspicion
that perhaps CSIS knew more than it was letting on to other government agencies, so let us have this integrated centre
where everything could be put on the table. All that is to say that perhaps it was not a very clear strategic objective for
ITAC in Canadian terms when it was created, and perhaps we are still searching for that.
Senator Day: Is the information and the communications intelligence that is gathered, which we hear a great deal
about from many sources, as we are top notch in the Communications Security Establishment work, fed through ITAC
and compared with other information that CSIS is gathering on its own?
Mr. Wark: I have never seen any of the products of ITAC and never been involved in any of its work, so I am just
speculating, but as I understand it, the idea is that it would be a fusion centre. It would involve personnel who would
represent their departments and agencies and the information databases of those departments and agencies and their
expertise, and bring all of that to one central location with a specific focus on terrorist threats. It was to make sure, in a
way, that there was not any missing piece of information that existed somewhere in the bureaucracy that was known
about or perhaps emerging. How it works beyond that in practice, how well this idea of a fusion centre is operating and
to what extent all the information is coming into this centre is impossible for me to know.
Senator Day: We should ask more questions then. There is also a group of analysts within the Privy Council Office.
That is where the National Security Advisor is housed as well. Where is the analysis to take place, or does it take place
in different places for different purposes?
Mr. Wark: The group in the Privy Council Office is of long standing. In fact, it probably has the deepest historical
roots. It goes back to an experiment that began in World War II and has been more or less been continuous. It is now
called the International Assessments Staff or IAS. It distinguishes itself from ITAC because the role of the IAS is to do
foreign strategic assessments on a wide range of issues. The role of ITAC is to focus on terrorist threats and kinds of
emergencies that might impact on Canada. That is how the functions have been distinguished.
In addition to those two leading intelligence assessment bodies, there is also a proliferation of smaller assessment
units throughout the government. That has been a phenomenon of the post 9/11 environment. There is an assessment
unit in the Canada Border Services Agency. There is an assessment unit in Foreign Affairs and International Trade
Canada. There is an assessment section in the Department of National Defence. We both have these efforts at
coordination, integration and fusion and this spreading landscape of separate and specialized assessment units.
To what extent we need this proliferation is a big question. How well are these bodies communicating with each
other, and do they all have the individual resources that they require? With respect to the experiment in CBSA to come
up with their own assessment staff, I am struck by how under-resourced it is, as I understand it, but how crucial it may
be to the work of that agency.
Senator Day: They obviously were not getting the type of intelligence they felt they needed for their particular
applications, and maybe to a degree, down the line, you have to analyze that information for specific application, and
you cannot have one body analyzing for every possible application.
Mr. Wark: Yes. There is a great debate about the organization of intelligence communities between centralizers and
decentralizers. I raise this because it is important in the Canadian context. Is it best to have a centralized top-down
intelligence community, tightly organized in some hierarchical fashion, or is it better to have it decentralized and more
horizontal in structure? The reason you might want to consider these trade-offs is that, increasingly, the specialized
literature on intelligence suggests you want a combination of both a centralized organization and a decentralized
structure because you want what is often called ``competitive intelligence.'' You want a capacity to have different
judgments circulating that can bounce around and bang against each other in order to make sure that you will get the
best conclusion at the end of the day.
Parenthetically, this has been one of the great difficulties in the CSIS-RCMP relationship. According to the terms of
the original division of responsibilities when CSIS was created, CSIS was to be the provider of all intelligence and the
RCMP was to act on that intelligence somehow without any intelligence capacity of its own. We saw the problems that
emerged with that when the RCMP found it had to have its own intelligence assessment to do its national security
function, post 9/11, with regard to the Arar case.
There is always a case to be made for specialized assessment units in their own kinds of silos, so long as you have a
capacity to make sure that their judgments can be competitively pursued in combination with other judgments reached
elsewhere in the community, and so long as someone has an overview of this. One of the reasons it is a mistake to make
the National Security Advisor a part-time post is that a lot more work is to be done in the coordination of this still
essentially decentralized community we have in Canada than a part-time function allows for.
Senator Day: Is that, in effect, what Ms. Bloodworth is, part-time in security and part-time in other Privy Council
Mr. Wark: She wears various hats. She is extremely good at wearing all those hats, but we are unique in deciding
that we do not need a full-time national security advisor. That is a mistake.
Senator Day: Was it in 2004, with the national security strategy, that the position of National Security Advisor was
Mr. Wark: The position was created by the Paul Martin government. It was announced in December 2003, and
there have been a number of incumbents. The position predated the national security strategy. The first incumbent was
a man named Rob Wright, who, in that capacity, helped fashion the national security strategy.
Senator Day: Can you tell us a little about the Advisory Council on National Security? What is it doing and what
should it be doing?
Mr. Wark: Now I get to say it is confidential. The government announced the desire to create an advisory council on
national security in the national security strategy in April 2004. They then proceeded to put this body together on the
basis of a call for people to submit applications to serve on this council. It was constituted in September 2005 in its first
incarnation, and the original membership remains today, although its terms of office will shortly some come to an end.
The idea behind the Advisory Council on National Security was to provide the National Security Advisor and the
cabinet committee to whom she reports with some independent advice on issues of intelligence and national security.
That was the idea. It is safe to say that the council has had some teething problems and is still in search of a role and
the government is still gently feeling out the idea of independent advice. I was a proponent of this idea. It has a future
and I hope it will continue. It is hard to say to what extent it is in favour, in the minds of the current government. I do
not know about that.
Senator Day: How frequently does the body meet?
Mr. Wark: According to its mandate, it is to meet between two and four times a year. Because there have been
changes of government and the National Security Advisor, its meeting schedule has been a little irregular. In its best
year it met four times and in its less active year it met twice.
Senator Day: The Canada Border Services Agency has an advisory group as well. Does it have a similar role and
Mr. Wark: It is put together differently. The idea is the same, to advise the president of the CBSA on issues to do
with border security strategically. It was put together by CBSA with people it wanted to have on that committee. It was
differently constituted from the advisory council. It has met quite frequently. CBSA has a real interest in hearing from
it. Again, the rules of the road are being written as it goes. It is kind of an experiment — an important one, because one
of the things that has made the Canadian intelligence community more insular than it needs to be over the years has
been its inability to engage with an expert community outside its walls, whether an academic community, past
practitioners or experts in the private sector. Both of these councils or committees, in their different forms, are designed
to begin a process of building bridges between outside experts and the government in terms of an advisory capacity.
The Chairman: Professor Wark, given that foreign intelligence is necessary as part of the mix, could we have a brief
comment from you as to where it is best housed, in an expansion of CSIS or in a separate agency, in an independent
body or in an agency that is responsible to Parliament through the Department of Foreign Affairs? Do you have
feelings on that?
Mr. Wark: I do. I will preface my answer by saying I have also been asked by the Institute for Research on Public
Policy to do a report on foreign intelligence capabilities, which I plan to write this summer. I would be happy to share
that report with the committee.
The realistic road is to rewrite the CSIS Act to remove the sort of linguistic roadblock of ``threats to the security of
Canada'' that potentially impede CSIS's overseas operations and to give them a mandate, initially, to develop a full-
service foreign intelligence capacity. This would be with an understanding that it would probably be a decade-long
project. It would require some resources, and at the end of that period, it would be important to assess where the best
institutional home for such a service would be. It has to begin with CSIS. They are the only agency in the Canadian
government that has the capacity to grow such an organization and feed the information that it would collect properly
into government channels. However, the question of the future institutional home would have to be left open. CSIS
would have to prove, over the course of developing such a capacity, that it is the responsible home for it in the long
term. There are other alternative homes, including the British model of housing it, at arms length, in the equivalent of
the Department of Foreign Affairs.
In terms of political direction and oversight, it would be important for a foreign intelligence sub-agency within CSIS
to have a steering committee consisting of the Deputy Prime Minister, if we had such a person in the future, the
Minister of Public Safety and the Minister of Foreign Affairs. It would have a mini cabinet or steering committee to
regularly oversee the operations and approve tasking and so on. This is sensitive and complex. One of the things you
would want to oversee is inter-allied relationships. That would be important to the functioning and effectiveness of a
Canadian foreign intelligence service.
I would start it up in CSIS and I would make that possible by amending the CSIS Act. I would set a timeline on the
emergence of a foreign service arm in CSIS and mandate a full scale review of that activity in terms of thinking about
future institutional arrangements and leadership at the end of a specified period of time.
The Chairman: Terrific. Thank you. On behalf of the committee, I would like to thank you very much for coming
and sharing your views with us. It has been very helpful. It has been a useful contrast with the officials we had earlier
today, and we are grateful to you for your insights and comments. We hope that you do share this study with us.
Mr. Wark: I would love to.
The Chairman: We look forward to having a continuing relationship with you.
Mr. Wark: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The Chairman: Colleagues, this meeting is suspended and will continue for about three minutes in the adjacent
The committee continued in camera.