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]

Traffic stop yields smuggled guns

A six-month police investigation has led to the arrest of two Ottawa residents on multiple weapons-related charges after a recent traffic stop on Highway 401 in eastern Ontario netted 46 pistols, long guns and magazines. One of the accused also was charged with possession of cocaine. [node:read-more:link]

Russia blames Ukraine for murder

A Ukrainian agent is being blamed by Russian counterintelligence for the weekend car-bombing death of the daughter of one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s allies, a claim Kyiv dismisses as “fiction.” Darya Dugina was the daughter of Alexander Dugin, a political theorist who advocates for a Russian global resurgence. Both were attending an event outside Moscow and had planned to return by car but the father reportedly changes his plans at the last minute. [node:read-more:link]

Government warned about “freedom” backlash

Intelligence officers warned the government that if police were used to disperse the “Freedom Convoy” in Ottawa earlier this year, according to a redacted memorandum made public through an Access to Information request. The February 24 “threat highlight” advised that extremist “influencers” would leverage the outcome of the protests for recruitment and propaganda and that ideologs likely would “encourage violent revenge or as further evidence of government ‘tyranny’.” [node:read-more:link]

Noted U.S. scientist lied about China ties

Charles M. Lieber, a Harvard University professor and government-funded nanotechnology researcher, has been found guilty by a U.S. federal court of lying to the Department of Defense and other authorities about his ties to China. The jury finding is seen as a victory for the Justice Department amidst a crackdown on academic espionage. Lieber was arrested in January 2020 and evidence against him included a contract paying him $50,000 a month for work with the Wuhan Institute of Technology. [node:read-more:link]

Space Agency engineer charged

Wanping Zheng, an engineer at the Canadian Space Agency, has been charged with breach of trust for allegedly using his status to negotiate satellite station installation agreements with Iceland on behalf of a Chinese company. The RCMP began investigating in 2019 in response to information from the CSA’s security department. [node:read-more:link]

Interpol president accused of torture

Ahmed Nasser al-Raisi, Inspector General of the United Arab Emirates interior ministry, was elected President of Interpol today despite a complaint by members of the European Parliament that he had been responsible for the torture of a prominent dissident in the UAE. The position is seen as largely ceremonial in that Secretary-General Juergen Stock, a former German police officer and criminologist appointed to a second five-year term in 2019, handles day-to-day management of the organization headquartered in Lyon, France. [node:read-more:link]

CSIS-RCMP relationship problematic

The National Security and Intelligence Review Agency says flaws in the way the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the RCMP share information are stalling investigations, including into extremists’ activities. It says there is “a mutual reluctance to pursue the formal disclosure of information from CSIS, even in cases where the alleged threats were serious or imminent and even though the alternative investigative path was slower and involved different challenges.” [node:read-more:link]

COVID-19 intel was inadequate

Department of National Defence documents made public through an access-to-information request indicate that while DND played a critical role in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, its efforts likely were undermined by inadequate intelligence. Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan repeatedly said the government’s response to the escalating problem was based “on sound intelligence,” which proved not to be the case. [node:read-more:link]

Seventies nationalist movements monitored

Newly-accessed documents show that the growing nationalist movement in Canada a half-century ago was closely monitored by the RCMP Security Service. The Committee for an Independent Canada, founded in 1970 to promote economic and cultural independence, was among the targets seen as ripe for “exploitation or manipulation” by radicals. [node:read-more:link]

Canadian “voice of ISIS” investigated

The RCMP is investigating possible “serious terrorism offences” by a Canadian citizen who became known as the “voice of ISIS” for narrating execution videos. An RCMP affidavit unsealed in court June 22 says it had reason to believe that Mohamed Khalifa from Toronto, in custody in Syria after being captured in 2019 by Kurdish forces, had committed four offences. [node:read-more:link]

RCMP profiling with social media

The RCMP has confirmed that it uses information posted on social media to profile persons of potential interest. It is responding to concerns expressed by a Toronto woman who learned that she had been profiled after showing up at a leadership debate during the 2015 election campaign, but who was eventually found to be doing nothing illegal. The RCMP says it acknowledges the constitutional right to peaceful protest but says due diligence is required to ensure there is no public safety issue. [node:read-more:link]

AI in the real intelligence world

Artificial intelligence, already in widespread use in gathering data for a range of purposes, needs to be hardened against attack if the intelligence community is to exploit its full potential. Dean Souleles, a key technology advisor within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in Washington examines, among other things, how Open Source Enterprise can be used to keep pace with developments. [node:read-more:link]

Extremists a law enforcement challenge

Federal departments and agencies involved in national security have been wrestling with how to address growing right-wing extremism, according to redacted briefing notes prepared for deputy ministers last year but made public through the Access to Information Act. Among other things, the notes point out that hate crimes investigations are largely the remit of local law enforcement which, in many communities, is the RCMP. [node:read-more:link]


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