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

  • Colombian rebels release kidnapped Dutch journalists

    World News CTV News
    THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- Two Dutch journalists who were kidnapped earlier this week by leftist rebels in Colombia have been released unharmed, Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister Bert Koenders said early Saturday. Koenders said in a statement that Derk Bolt and Eugenio Follender "are doing relatively well under the circumstances. Source
  • Turkish authorities ban Istanbul Pride march

    World News CTV News
    ISTANBUL - Turkish authorities have announced they will not allow a march for gay, lesbian and trans rights to take place Sunday. The Istanbul governor's office said Saturday that the LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex) Pride would be banned for the safety of participants and tourists, and public order. Source
  • Landslide in China buries at least 120 people

    World News CTV News
    BEIJING -- More than 120 people were buried by a landslide that caused huge rocks and a mass of earth to come crashing into their homes in a mountain village in southwestern China early Saturday, officials said. Source
  • Suicide bomber blows himself up as Saudis foil Mecca plot

    World News CBC News
    A suicide bomber blew himself up near the Grand Mosque in Mecca as police disrupted a plot to target the holiest site in Islam just as the fasting month of Ramadan ends, Saudi security forces said Saturday. Source
  • Several hospitalized after chemical exposure at Ottawa-area golf club

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA -- Several people were taken to hospital after officials say they were apparently exposed to a toxic mix of chlorine and an unknown acid at an Ottawa-area golf and country club. The incident occurred Friday evening at the Amberwood Village club in Stittsville. Source
  • No winning ticket for Friday night's $10M Lotto Max jackpot

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO - No winning ticket was sold for the $10 million jackpot in Friday night's Lotto Max draw. That means the jackpot for the next draw on June 30 will grow to approximately $15 million. Source
  • Death toll in Pakistan attacks climbs to 73

    World News CTV News
    PESHAWAR, Pakistan -- The death toll from twin blasts in the northwestern town of Parachinar climbed to 55 overnight, bringing the overall death toll from three separate attacks in Pakistan on Friday to 73, with several others in critical condition, officials said. Source
  • Sand sculpture festival brings movie characters to Belgian beach

    World News CBC News
    A beach in Belgium is featuring larger-than-life super heroes, cartoon characters and Cinderella's castle. It's part of the Ostend Sand Sculpture Festival. A team of 32 artists worked with 7,000 tonnes of sand for more than five weeks to create the sculptures. Source
  • Death toll from Pakistan attacks climbs to 73

    World News CBC News
    The death toll from twin blasts in the northwestern town of Parachinar climbed to 55 overnight, bringing the overall death toll from three separate attacks in Pakistan on Friday to 73, with several others in critical condition, officials said. Source
  • The most popular political Facebook group in Ontario targets Kathleen Wynne

    Canada News CBC News
    A new political force in Ontario is exploding on social media, with defeating Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals in the 2018 election as its key goal. It's called Ontario Proud, and its Facebook page has amassed nearly 145,000 followers — more than the provincial Liberals, PCs and NDP combined. Source