Scientists’ dismissal still a puzzle

Nearly four years after two Chinese scientists were fired from a federal laboratory in Winnipeg on alleged national security grounds, the RCMP investigation continues. “Investigations are often complex, multijurisdictional and resource-intensive,” an RCMP spokeswoman offered without further comment. The two scientists have since returned home. [node:read-more:link]

Election fuss going to NSICOP

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced today that the question of foreign interference in Canada’s electoral processes is being referred to the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians. NSICOP is comprised of members of the Commons and Senate from all parties with “top secret” security clearance. The opposition parties, meanwhile, continue to push for a “public inquiry” even though that could go behind closed doors when reviewing issues of national security. [node:read-more:link]

Clock running out on TikTok

After the federal government, taking its cue from the European Union and the U.S. by banning the Chinese-owned TikTok social media app from on all government mobile devices. The roster of governments concerned about data protection and security vulnerability continues to grow with Nova Scotia the latest addition. [node:read-more:link]

PM denies CSIS warning report

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is dismissing as “fasle” a report that his office had been advised by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to drop a Liberal candidate in the 2019 general election because he had China’s support. The PM also said February 27 that questioning the loyalty of Han Dong, who was re-elected in 2021, is “actually damaging to people’s confidence in our democratic and political institutions.” [node:read-more:link]

New U.S. focus on northern border

Canada’s border with the U.S. has largely avoided partisan politics in Washington but that may be changing. Twenty-eight members of Congress have formed a “northern border security caucus” focused on immigration, crime and national security. [node:read-more:link]

U.S. steps up tech protection

Tighter controls on supply chains and enforcement of export controls are the tools whereby a new U.S. interagency “strike force” hopes to safeguard technologies from foreign adversaries. “We will use intelligence and data analytics to target illicit actors, we will enhance our public and private partnerships,” says Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco. [node:read-more:link]

CSIS security faulted by PM

According to leaked Canadian Security Intelligence Service documents, influential “friendly” Canadians were warned in early 2022 by Chinese diplomats to curb interactions with federal politicians so as to avoid being caught up in CSIS investigations. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the leak is “certainly a sign that security within CSIS needs to be reviewed.” [node:read-more:link]

British embassy spy jailed

A London court today sentenced a former guard at the British embassy in Berlin to 13 years in prison for putting diplomats at “maximum risk” by spying for to Russia. David Ballantyne Smith, arrested at his home near Berlin in August 2021 after an MI6 sting operation and extradited a year later, admitting spying but wanted to “teach the embassy a lesson” because he felt badly treated at work. [node:read-more:link]

Some MPs clueless about meddling

As the Canadian Security Intelligence Services continues to alert politicians about meddling by hostile states, some Members of Parliament say they have no idea how to spot finterference. “There is not clarity, quite frankly, around what MPs and their parties can do to protect themselves,” B.C. MP Rachel Blaney admitted when CSIS described the challenge to a House of Commons committee recently. “I’m concerned that there could be something happening, and I would be merrily going along my way doing my work during an election, and I’d have no idea.” [node:read-more:link]

Wagner head founded “troll farm”

Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Russia mercenary Wagner Group, disclosed February 14 that he also financed the Internet Research Agency, a “troll farm” the U.S. says meddled in the 2016 presidential election. “I created it, I managed it for a long time,” he said on social media. “It was created to protect the Russian information space from the West’s boorish and aggressive anti-Russian propaganda.” [node:read-more:link]

Foreign research collaboration curtailed

The federal government will stop funding research with Chinese military and state security institutions and is urging the provinces and universities to do likewise. Announcing the move late February 14, Innovation, Science & Industry Minister François-Phillipe Champagne also said the Canada Foundation for Innovation and federal granting councils will screen grant applications from universities collaborating with hostile states. [node:read-more:link]

Chinese meddling in Canada?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and senior aides were warned on at least two occasions that MPs should be cautious in dealings with former Ontario provincial cabinet minister Michael Chan because of alleged ties to China’s consulate in Toronto. [node:read-more:link]

EU mounts fake news counteroffensive

Josep Borrell, the European Union’s foreign affairs and security chief, said February 7 that EU missions worldwide are being assigned special staff to deal with growing traffic in disinformation. “We have to address this politically at the highest possible level,” he said, having specifically mentioned Russian-sourced fake news. [node:read-more:link]

Balloon debris under microscope

U.S. intelligence officials believe that the Chinese balloon shot down by the U.S., and now in the hands of the FBI, is part of an extensive military surveillance program which has conducted at least two dozen missions over at least five continents in recent years. Roughly half have been into U.S. airspace, including the downed “weather” balloon which also entered Canadian airspace after being detected by NORAD. The debris now is being analyzed by FBI engineers in an attempt to learn what kind of intelligence it could have collected as well as how future incursions can be tracked. [node:read-more:link]

Caution urged on agent registry

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino told a parliamentary committee February 6 that implementing a registry of foreign agents should be culturally sensitive. “There is a historical context when it comes to some communities within this country and their relationship with agencies and the law-enforcement community,” he said. “We need to be diligent and thoughtful and inclusive when it comes to bringing all Canadians along in the modernization of the tools and the arsenal that we create for our national security and intelligence communities.” [node:read-more:link]


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