IPOLITICS: CSIS IS KEEPING EVERYONE IN THE DARK ABOUT RECKLESS BILL C-51
CSIS is keeping everyone, including ministers of the Crown, out of the loop. And Harper seems to be OK with it. Article by Andrew Mitrovica for iPolitics When it comes to strengthening what passes for oversight of Canada’s spy service, Stephen Harper doesn’t listen to his critics. Maybe he’ll start listening to his friends. Earlier this week, I spoke at length with a former senior government official who not only spent decades deep inside the Canadian spy biz, he also worked closely with, and remains a political ally of, the prime minister. This former official — who agreed to be quoted only on condition of anonymity — is an experienced hand in the netherworld of intelligence. Academics, journalists and politicians of all political stripes — including, no doubt, Harper himself — would all attest to his ability to navigate the tricky bureaucratic terrain where politics and espionage meet.
So when a universally respected ex-official — someone who helped Harper settle into office when he first arrived in Ottawa — suggests that the sweeping powers the Canadian Security Intelligence Service will get under Bill C-51 demand stronger mechanisms to keep our spies in check, the prime minister can’t blow it off. He can ignore it at his peril, but he has to acknowledge he’s the only one left in the know who thinks CSIS can be trusted with these new powers without someone looking over its shoulder.
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