CSIS "Mislead" Watchdog

Posted on Wednesday, September 14 at 14:13 by 4Canada
The long-anticipated report follows a complaint from Bhupinder S. Liddar, a public servant whom CSIS declared a security risk after his 2003 diplomatic posting to India. The Kenyan-born Sikh Canadian never got to start his job. CSIS flagged him as untrustworthy during standard background checks. The government feared that Mr. Liddar might take bribes or sell information if sent abroad. As had been widely speculated, the spy agency had concerns about Mr. Liddar partly because he worked as a parliamentary assistant in the 1970s and 1980s for MPs who were sympathetic to Middle Eastern causes. Some of this work put him into contact with the Palestine Liberation Organization and Arab lobby groups. The new report shows that CSIS was concerned about these relationships and others Mr. Liddar developed as he hobnobbed with diplomats in the 1990s as founder of an Ottawa-based magazine explicitly geared for the staff of foreign embassies in the capital. Ms. Gauthier, who was first appointed to SIRC in 1984, has reviewed the case and doesn't share any of CSIS's suspicions. She upholds the character of Mr. Liddar as "honest and forthright" and says that "there is no reliable evidence that supports a conclusion that Mr. Liddar may engage in activities that would constitute a threat to the security of Canada." She says CSIS engaged in an "inaccurate and misleading" probe that leaped to "unqualified, alarming" findings that relied on "uncorroborated and/or unreliable sources." She was particularly disturbed that when she asked for its security-clearance report about Mr. Liddar, she was initially told it didn't exist. Ms. Gauthier later learned that CSIS had done security checks, but the spy service was of the opinion that security checks were far different than clearances. Today she accuses CSIS of playing semantic games to frustrate her probe. "I conclude the service provided me with misleading answers to my questions in order to prevent Mr. Liddar or the review committee from having information . . . brought to our attention," she writes. She adds that she feels "that the committee was purposefully misled by the Service in the incident" in an attempt to shield the spy agency from fallout that might prove "embarrassing to the Service in the context of Mr. Liddar's appointment and its subsequent suspension." In a separate finding that might have broader implications, Ms. Gauthier said Mr. Liddar was considered suspect because he had long made no secret of his desire to help Arab causes. "I find that many of the conclusions concerning Mr. Liddar . . . result from the transfer of suspicions about a person who would support Arab causes," she said. Such concerns seem to have dogged him since the 1970s, but what's "even more regrettable is the fact that this attitude, and its distorting effect on the interpretation of Mr. Liddar's actions, has persisted into the present time," Ms. Gauthier writes. Portions of the report are blacked out for security reasons, but it is clear that Ms. Gauthier feels CSIS's security screening was a hurried, slipshod probe by a rookie agent who destroyed his notes before the case could be reviewed. Ms. Gauthier says she's getting tired of seeing this happen. "The issue of what was said during security-screening interviews is a perennial source of argument in the course of the review committee's investigation of complaints," she wrote. "Complainants alleged that the investigators' report of their interview is not accurate: That their answers are incomplete or have been distorted or taken out of context," Ms. Gauthier wrote. ". . . There is no reason why such notes could not be preserved for a reasonable period so they are available to the review committee." Mr. Liddar has demanded that Foreign Affairs reinstate his diplomatic appointment. The department has already granted him the top-secret security clearance that was denied to him. Mr. Liddar draws a salary for the posting and is negotiating with the federal government. He would not comment on the SIRC report yesterday. CSIS officials would not comment because the report has not been officially released. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20050914.wxcsis14/BNStory/National/ [Proofreader's note: this article was edited for spelling and typos on September 15, 2005]

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  1. Wed Sep 14, 2005 11:21 pm
    Funny, I am just reading a book about similar events happening in Britian in the 60's and 70's. If a politician or media person was even remotely interested in looking into the Arab side of things, they were quickly put in their place or removed. Is history just repeating itself?

    Maybe when I finish reading it, I'll let you know how things will turn out here :)






    ---
    These days, if you are not confused, you are not thinking clearly. Mrs. Irene Peters

  2. Thu Sep 15, 2005 12:35 am
    > concerns about Mr. Liddar partly because he worked as a parliamentary assistant in the 1970s and 1980s for MPs who were sympathetic to Middle Eastern causes. Some of this work put him into contact with the Palestine Liberation Organization and Arab lobby groups.

    The new report shows that CSIS was concerned about these relationships and others Mr. Liddar developed as he hobnobbed with diplomats

    So, who WOULDN'T want to know more about his actions? Then and since?

    Have you people completely lost track of the fact that, no matter how much you wish otherwise, YOU are a target for ARAB terrorists, too?

    In fact, because you are the soft underbelly of North America, you just might be struck next...

    Stop coddling the known terrorists, as well as the suspected. Stop splitting hairs on how an interview was conducted, and pay attention to WHY.

  3. Thu Sep 15, 2005 2:29 am
    I am not coddling known terrorists. All Arabs aren't terrorists. And I agree we are likely a target now that we are in Afghanistan.

    Does that mean I have to be suspicious of EVERY Arab I pass in the street? Does it mean I have to be afraid everyday that I am under attack? Does that mean I want to give up democratic and civil rights because some group might attack Canada? I do not want to watch for colour coded alerts or live under marshall law, because then they have won. We will have no freedoms left. (Supposedly Bush and intelligence services say that's why they hate us.)

    I didn't like all the contradictory information I was reading so I decided to educate myself on the background of the situation we are facing now. I wanted to know why they felt the way they do. There are two sides to every story and somewhere in the middle is the truth. Don't kid yourself that there is not propaganda on both sides. I do not sympathize with terrorists of ANY kind, but we can't go labeling an entire race as being terrorists.




    ---
    These days, if you are not confused, you are not thinking clearly. Mrs. Irene Peters

  4. Thu Sep 15, 2005 2:56 am
    > but we can't go labeling an entire race as being terrorists.

    But surely you must suspect that one race ABOVE ALL OTHERS, when it provides the vast majority of ALL terrorists.

    It is in your own self interest (IE: staying alive).

  5. Thu Sep 15, 2005 3:32 am
    Yeah, I do harbour great suspicions about the source of the vast majority of terrorism in the world - the U.S.A.

    As for being one race, I would say that fascists are not genetically linked - unless you consider the total lack of human compassion a valid racial trait.

  6. Thu Sep 15, 2005 8:17 am
    >>Yeah, I do harbour great suspicions about the source of the vast majority of terrorism in the world - the U.S.A.<<

    So you admit you are prejudiced?

  7. Thu Sep 15, 2005 8:24 am
    Exactly. The USA is the only country that could be considered a legitimate target using all the "intellegence" and the arguments they used for attacking Iraq.

    The CIA was of no value to the citizens of the USA just as our CSIS is of no value to Canadians. In fact I believe they and our government officials are both acting like terrorists towards democracy and our freedoms.

    4Canada/4Revolution

  8. Thu Sep 15, 2005 6:10 pm
    <blockquote> So you admit you are prejudiced? </blockquote> If the shoe fits... <p><h6>Pentagon Revises Nuclear Strike Plan<p></h6> <p>Strategy Includes Preemptive Use Against Banned Weapons</p> <p>http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/10/AR2005091001053.html</p> <p>This insane administration is giving itself permission to use tactical nuclear weapons and you want us to be afraid of Osama Bin Hiding??? The above story is insane to any rational human being.</p> <p><b>It's not prejudice when it's the truth.</b> I am now officially terrified of the USA.</p>

  9. by mk
    Thu Sep 15, 2005 7:03 pm
    "But surely you must suspect that one race ABOVE ALL OTHERS, when it provides the vast majority of ALL terrorists."

    No it doesn't. Go read the state department's own reports. Other parts of the world aside, not all Arabs are muslims, and not all islamic terrorists are arabs. And much of what gets classified as terrorism globally targets property, nominally when its propriety is contested (I say nominally because groups like FARC in Columbia might have started out that way, but have morhped into something quite different).

    Not to mention we still haven't managed to nail down a good enough definition of "terrorist" vs. "rebel" or "freedom fighter" to get a fair count in, say, central america in the 80's or the heroin-smuggling-terrorists-turned-liberation-army from just a few years back, or the ones who are back running the country in Haiti right now. Not to mention the slight misclassification of domestic militas attacking an occupying army as "terror"--note that I'm not excusing these barbaric acts, just pointing out what you can and can't reasonably call them.

  10. Thu Sep 15, 2005 7:14 pm
    Ahh, he plays the race card.

    IIRC, the first airline hijacking ever was done by a Croation. The majority religion in Croatia is Roman Catholic. Minority religions are Muslim and Orthodox Christian.

    The IRA is responsible for 180 car bombs in England. Mostly white christians too.

    So, what is the relationship between terrorism and skin colour/religion again? Oh, yes, the bigot who linked them.


    ---
    "If you must kill a man, it costs you nothing to be polite about it." Winston Churchill



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