Cold War spy released

Ana Montes, arrested in the U.S. in 2001 for spying on behalf of Cuba, has been released from prison. Now 65, she was working at the time as a Defense Intelligence Agency analyst and Michelle Van Cleave, then head of counter-intelligence said Montes had “compromised everything - virtually everything - that we knew about Cuba and how we operated.” It turned out that she was motivated by ideology, partly her opposition to U.S. activities in Latin America. [node:read-more:link]

FINTRAC counter-terrorism report

The latest report from the federal government’s Financial Transactions & Reports Analysis Centre confirms ongoing activity related to domestic and international terrorism activities. It says that analysis of 355 activities reported by financial institutions between January 2019 and October 2022 showed that Canadian targets were mostly related to ideological extremists driven by xenophobia and other factors. [node:read-more:link]

No evidence of financial meddling

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s national security advisor, Jody Thomas, said today that she has seen no evidence that 11 candidates in the 2019 general election were influenced by alleged Chinese financing. “"The news stories that you have read about interference are just that – news stories,,” she told a parliamentary committee when pressed by Opposition MPs. “We’ve not seen money going to . . . candidates – period.” [node:read-more:link]

Hackers hit Amnesty International Canada

Amnesty International Canada disclosed December 4 that its English-language unit was targetted in October by hackers linked to China. “We are very aware that we may be the target of state-sponsored attempts to disrupt or surveil our work,” AIC Director General Ketty Nivyabandi said. “These will not intimidate us and the security and privacy of our activists, staff, donors, and stakeholders remain our utmost priority.” Secureworks, a U.S. cybersecurity company, said that forensics had established that “a threat group sponsored or tasked by the Chinese state” was the likely culprit. [node:read-more:link]

Foreign interference on the rise

Veteran CSIS analyst Noura Hayek says there has been an “alarming escalation” of espionage and foreign interference in Canada in the past few years. “They’re real, they’re persistent, they’re increasing,” she told a Council on Governmental Ethics Laws conference December 4. “We see it every day . . . and these activities will be targeting all level of governments.” [node:read-more:link]

Chinese ambassador on the carpet

China’s ambassador to Canada, Cong Peiwu, has been summoned to explain reports of Chinese-run “police stations” in this country. “We’ve had several engagements . . . and we have conveyed our deep concern,” a senior Global Affairs Canada official told a parliamentary committee November 29. China insists that its “service stations” in Canada and elsewhere simply help the Chinese diaspora with paperwork but a human rights lobby in Spain says the outposts engage in covert illegal policing operations. [node:read-more:link]

Tik Tok labelled a security threat

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says the globally popular Chinese-owned video-sharing app TikTok poses “legitimate national security concerns” due to the potential for the Chinese Communist Party to gain access to users’ data or expose them to propaganda. The globally-popular platform and its Beijing parent, Byte Dance, are being investigated by her department’s foreign investment committee. [node:read-more:link]

CSIS threat responses outdated

Talking points prepared for CSIS Director David Vigneault warn that the agency has failed to keep up with national security threats because its governing legislation is outdated. Drafted for a September 21 meeting of deputy ministers, the notes said that Canada risks becoming a “weak link” in its international intelligence-sharing chain. [node:read-more:link]

CSIS investigates Iranian threats

Death threats from within Iran against residents of this country are being investigated by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. “Ultimately, these hostile activities and foreign interference undermine the security of Canada and Canadians, as well as our democratic values and sovereignty,” a CSIS official says. Details were released after British intelligence confirmed a similar campaign there. [node:read-more:link]

Ransomware a British preoccupation

The British government’s interdepartmental COBRA crisis management team has spent post of its recent meetings addressing ransomware attacks on utilities and other critical services rather than other emergencies. The focus seems to be a response to warnings by the National Cyber Security Centre that ministerial responses to the growing number of attacks was inadequate. [node:read-more:link]

CSIS saw no convoy security risk

A day before it invoked the Emergencies Act last winter to end the “Freedom Convoy” blockade of downtown Ottawa, the government was told by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service that the protest was not a threat to national security. Nor, according to CSIS documents released today by the public inquiry into the government’s action, was the protest supported by foreign state interests. [node:read-more:link]

Could the Emergencies Act incite violence?

A day before the federal government invoked the Emergencies Act against “freedom” protestors in Ottawa February 14, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service warned cabinet of a possibility that the law would “likely increase the number of Canadians who hold extreme anti-government views and push some toward the belief that violence is the only solution to what they perceive as a broken system and government.” Details became public November 7 during the ongoing commission of inquiry into the government’s decision. [node:read-more:link]

Global Affairs intel said ineffectual

The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians,chaired by Ottawa Liberal MP David McGuinty, says Global Affairs Canada “is inconsistent, and in some areas completely absent” when it comes to tracking intelligence activities which could create diplomatic problems. In an unprecedented review of the department, the committee says the Foreign Affairs Minister is at risk of being left in the dark about operations but McGuinty said it's also incumbent on the minister to ask questions and demand to be informed. [node:read-more:link]

PM’s former bodyguard denies leaks

A former member of the RCMP and Prime Minister’s personal protection unit says he did not leak the PM’s schedule ahead of last winter’s “Freedom Convoy” gridlock in Ottawa. The allegation was in a redacted Ontario Provincial Police report to the inquiry into the use of the Emergencies Act but Daniel Bulford, who resigned from the RCMP last December because he disagreed with the government’s vaccination mandate, adamantly rejected the suggestion. [node:read-more:link]

Ottawa police said to support protestors

The Ottawa Police Service is investigating allegations that some officers leaked intelligence to organizers of last winter’s “Freedom Convoy” which gridlocked the city’s downtown for weeks. The investigation follows testimony before the inquiry into the government’s use of the Emergencies Act by a lawyer representing some protest organizers. [node:read-more:link]


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