Sat. Feb 24th, 2024

Ample transparency

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Alan Jones, former deputy director of CSIS, and Richard Fadden, former number 1 in Canadian intelligence.

The Canadian Press

Former senior officials at the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) say there are “ways to be more transparent” about classified information and that there are There is “room to push” for greater disclosure.

I think more work needs to be done and [that] it's important for the credibility of the agencies, said former CSIS deputy director Alan Jones, testifying before the Commission. investigation into foreign interference.

Approximately 80% of documents received so far by Commissioner Marie's team -Josée Hogue are classified. Of these, 80% have the highest protection ratings, meaning they are considered top secret or more.

Since she was appointed to head this public and independent inquiry, Ms. Hogue has insisted on her desire to maximize the amount of information that can be disclosed.

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Commissioner Marie-Josée Hogue

Public inquiry into foreign interference

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Public inquiry into foreign interference

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Former No. 1 in Canadian intelligence Richard Fadden believes that the culture that has developed over time within intelligence agencies is to favor the protection of information more than disclosure. Government officials are not doing this knowingly, in his opinion.

There is no advocate for transparency in the entire system […], so everyone, in some way, is moving forward with the perspective that ;he maintains an appropriate balance.

A quote from Richard Fadden, former number one in Canadian intelligence

Mr. Jones said one way to declassify information would be to determine whether the risk posed by disclosure several years ago still exists.There may be room for innovation and room for greater disclosure, he said.

The two former CSIS leaders interviewed by Commissioner Hogue and her team both insisted on emphasizing the importance of keeping documents secret in order to protect the lives of sources.

They also emphasized that, very often, the decision to disclose them or not does not rest solely on Canada's prerogative. Many pieces of information are provided by other countries, for example allies in the multinational Five Eyes intelligence alliance.

Furthermore, MM. Fadden and Jones argued that detecting cases of foreign interference poses a challenge.

In the case of terrorism, if someone is working on a bomb or something like that, it's pretty clear that we have to follow that, he said.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">However, in a scenario of attempted foreign interference, things are often more nuanced, he suggested. Some will say: "You know, it's obvious […], the consul general of country X was talking to someone, so it's interference foreign." However, this type of activity can be part of the normal course of things for a diplomat.

According to Mr. Jones, if interference efforts are made by intermediaries or diplomatic actors, it can be even more difficult to detect them.

Beijing has a multi-pronged approach, he said, and so may involve sales representatives and journalists.

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David Vigneault will appear before the commission on Thursday.

The preliminary hearings of the commission of inquiry continue until Friday. The current director of SCRS, David Vigneault, is expected Thursday.

The commission's week of work must conclude Friday with the testimony of the Minister of Public Safety, Dominic LeBlanc.

The preliminary hearings must make it possible to determine the means of making information relating to the interference public foreign, even if a large part of them come from classified sources and documents. Discussions on national security and information privacy should set the stage for the upcoming public hearings, which are expected to take place at the end of March.

Ms. Hogue must submit a first report no later than May 3. The final report is expected by December 2024.

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