CSIS obtained taxpayer info from CRA without warrant

OTTAWA -- The Canadian Security Intelligence Service repeatedly obtained taxpayer information from the Canada Revenue Agency without presenting a court-approved warrant for the data.

See Full Article

That revelation was among several concerns raised in the latest annual report of the Security Intelligence Review Committee, which monitors CSIS compliance with law and policy.

The report tabled Thursday said the spy service must do more to ensure insiders don't pilfer secret material. It also urged CSIS to inform the Federal Court how it uses metadata -- the telltale digital trails that accompany messages and phone calls -- collected from cyberspace.

The findings came the same day the watchdog over the Communications Security Establishment, Canada's electronic spy agency, found the CSE had improperly shared metadata about Canadians with key foreign allies.

The reports prompted the NDP to express concern about erosion of civil liberties.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale stressed the Liberal government was embarking on a comprehensive review of Canada's national security and intelligence framework with the twin aims of effective security and respect for rights.

Far from being an isolated incident, there were "multiple instances" of a CSIS regional office getting warrantless access to taxpayer data from the federal revenue agency, the review committee said in its report for 2014-15.

Questions about the practice were first raised by the Federal Court, prompting CSIS to ask the review committee to look into the matter.

Following the incident, there were assurances the sensitive revenue agency information had been purged from a CSIS database when, in fact, it was still there, the review committee's report says.

Spy service management issued a "stern reminder" to employees of the need for a warrant to collect taxpayer information, but the review committee says that may not be sufficient.

The committee made several recommendations, calling on CSIS to assess its own handling of the incident after it became clear information had been improperly collected. The spy service complied with that request.

Review committee chairman Pierre Blais said CSIS had made "a mistake" but he expressed confidence the committee would not "see that in the future."

The Canada Revenue Agency had no immediate explanation as to why it gave CSIS the data.

The review committee says it also found shortcomings in the spy service's training, investigation and record-keeping practices intended to manage so-called insider threats.

Concern about such threats has grown due to recent breaches by intelligence employees in the United States and Canada, the committee noted.

Former U.S. spy contractor Edward Snowden leaked a trove of files revealing widespread surveillance by the U.S. National Security Agency, while Jeffrey Paul Delisle, a Canadian naval intelligence officer, sold sensitive secrets to the Russians.

The review committee found insufficient training, gaps in policy and procedures, and a lack of managerial feedback for those at CSIS working on internal security investigations.

It also concluded procedures governing internal probes were unclear. In addition, the committee found CSIS did not properly document decision-making about investigations.

The review committee singled out one particular internal investigation, finding CSIS "had failed to give the case the appropriate level of attention and scrutiny, and to take followup action."

The committee recommended CSIS re-examine the case due to concerns about internal policy violations and "possible information breaches."

Though CSIS agreed with some aspects of the committee's recommendations, it refused to reopen the case in question, saying it was satisfied there were no lingering security concerns.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Military funeral planned for Air Force pilot killed in training exercise

    Canada News CTV News
    A military funeral for an Air Force pilot killed during a training exercise near the Alberta-Saskatchewan boundary is set to take place in Ontario on Wednesday. Capt. Thomas McQueen, 29, was a member of 401 squadron at 4 Wing Cold Lake in northeastern Alberta. Source
  • Libyan officials say last buildings seized from ISIS in Sirte

    World News CTV News
    BENGHAZI, Libya -- Libyan officials say that the last buildings occupied by the Islamic State fighters in the group's onetime stronghold of Sirte have fallen. Ahmed Hadiya, the head of the media centre for the anti-IS operation, told The Associated Press: "This is the last major battle, but it is not the end of military operations nor the declaration of liberation. Source
  • Pence to talk to conservative group at Trump's new DC hotel

    World News CTV News
    Vice President-elect Mike Pence speaks to members of the media as he leaves Trump Tower, Monday, Dec. 5, 2016, in New York. (Andrew Harnik/AP) Source
  • 'The old model is exhausted': Populism's effect on French politics

    World News CBC News
    If common wisdom about current fury is right, and people across the West want change, they're getting a bellyful of it in France. The last few weeks here have seen dramatic upheaval in the country's political class that, however willed, remains unexpected. Source
  • Man dies after drunk pals toss him outside for snoring

    World News Toronto Sun
    Evidently, snoring can be fatal. A pair of drunken buffoons, ages 28 and 35, in a Paris suburb stripped down another boozing buddy and left him outside their apartment building because his loud snoring was keeping them awake. Source
  • Canadian students among world's most educated in science

    Canada News CTV News
    Canadian students are among the world's most educated when it comes to science, according to an annual survey measuring education levels in 72 different countries. Canada tied Finland for fourth overall in the 2015 ranking compiled by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, which measured math, science and reading levels in 540,000 randomly-selected 15-year-olds. Source
  • Residents pay tribute to those killed in 1917 Halifax explosion

    Canada News CTV News
    Halifax is marking the 99th anniversary of an event that devastated a large sweep of the coastal city. People gathered at various sites today to pay tribute to thousands of residents who were killed or injured in the Halifax Explosion on Dec. Source
  • Guilty: Father murdered infant son while driving on highway

    World News Toronto Sun
    ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. — A man spotted fatally beating his 4-month-old son while driving down a highway has been convicted of murder. The sentencing of 35-year-old Daniel A. Cox of Radcliff is scheduled for Jan. 24. The News-Enterprise reports a Hardin County jury recommended Monday that Cox get life with parole eligibility after 20 years. Source
  • It's not over yet: More snow in the forecast for B.C.'s South Coast

    Canada News CTV News
    Phrases such as freezing temperatures, snowy roads and ice bombs aren’t usually synonymous with B.C.’s South Coast, but they aptly described the wintry blast of weather the region experienced throughout the day on Monday. And it’s not over yet. Source
  • Warrant issued for mother of Ont. girl who was subject Amber Alert

    Canada News CTV News
    Layla Sabry, 9, is described as white, about four-foot-two, with a thin build, brown hair, and brown eyes. Source