Judge Flags CSIS for Review for Using Info Likely Obtained Illegally

OTTAWA—A federal judge says the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) has “a cavalier institutional approach” to the rule of law and is calling for a comprehensive review of the agency.

Federal Court Justice Patrick Gleeson found that CSIS failed to disclose its reliance on information that was likely collected illegally when seeking warrants to probe extremism, and that thats part of a worrying pattern.

In his ruling released Thursday, Gleeson said the review must look at interactions between CSIS and the federal Justice Department to fully identify systemic, governance, and cultural shortcomings and failures.

Gleeson said anything less will fall short of ensuring that confidence and trust in the spy service as a key national institution is restored and enhanced.

CSIS director David Vigneault said in a statement that he takes the courts findings “very seriously” and is committed to ensuring the intelligence service “fully understands our obligations to the court.”

Federal ministers responsible for security and justice swiftly announced they had asked the national intelligence watchdog to look into the judges findings.

The ruling comes four years after the Federal Court found CSIS illegally kept potentially revealing electronic data about people who posed no security threat and breached its duty to inform the court of the data-collection program.

In the latest ruling, Gleeson said he appreciates the challenges of safeguarding Canadas national security.

“Despite these challenges, this court and the Canadian public must have confidence that respect for the rule of law is and remains a foundational principle underpinning all national security intelligence decision-making,” he wrote.

“The circumstances disclosed here suggest a degree of institutional disregard for—or, at the very least, a cavalier institutional approach to—the duty of candour and regrettably the rule of law.”

In a joint statement, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair and Justice Minister David Lametti said they are determined to uphold the practice of protecting Canadians “in a manner that is compliant with the law.”

The ministers have written the chairman of the National Security Read More – Source