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

  • Duterte threatens to arrest Filipinos who refuse vaccination

    World News CTV News
    MANILA, PHILIPPINES -- The Philippine president has threatened to order the arrest of Filipinos who refuse COVID-19 vaccination and told them to leave the country if they would not cooperate with the efforts to contain the pandemic. Source
  • Vaccinated Brits could be back on Europe's beaches soon: minister

    World News CTV News
    LONDON -- Britain is working on easing travel restrictions for the fully vaccinated to allow people to enjoy a summer holiday on Europe's beaches but the plans are not finalized yet, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Tuesday. Source
  • U.S. watchdog: Nursing home deaths up 32 per cent in 2020 amid pandemic

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- Deaths among Medicare patients in nursing homes soared by 32% last year, with two devastating spikes eight months apart, a government watchdog reported Tuesday in the most comprehensive look yet at the ravages of COVID-19 among its most vulnerable victims. Source
  • U.S. official to address legacy of Indigenous boarding schools

    World News CTV News
    U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and other federal officials are expected Tuesday to announce steps the federal government plans to take to reconcile the troubled legacy of boarding school policies on Indigenous families and communities. Source
  • Kim sister derides U.S. official, dismisses chances for talks

    World News CTV News
    SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA -- The powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un dismissed prospects for an early resumption of diplomacy with the United States, saying Tuesday that U.S. expectations of talks would "plunge them into a greater disappointment. Source
  • Trump Organization sues NYC after golf course contract canceled in wake of U.S. Capitol attack

    World News CTV News
    The Trump Organization on Monday sued the city of New York after it ended its contract for a golf course at Ferry Point Park in the wake of the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. Source
  • This year's National Indigenous Peoples Day one of reflection and change

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Twenty five years ago, Indigenous groups and Canada set aside June 21 to recognize and celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day, but the painful revelation that the remains of 215 children were buried in unmarked graves at a residential school in Kamloops, B.C. Source
  • Children by the thousands forced to act as soldiers, victimized by war in 2020

    World News CBC News
    More than 8,500 children were used as soldiers last year in various conflicts across the world and nearly 2,700 others were killed, the United Nations said on Monday. UN chief Antonio Guterres's annual report to the Security Council on children and armed conflict covers the killing, maiming and sexual abuse of children, abduction or recruitment, denial of aid access and targeting of schools and hospitals. Source
  • N.B. premier says provinces discussing July for border reopening

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA -- New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs says the provinces are talking about July for the Canada-U.S. border to reopen. Higgs told CTV News Channel’s Power Play on Monday that July 21 is “in the realm” of that timeframe. Source
  • Driver says he is devastated by fatal Pride parade crash

    World News CTV News
    FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. -- The 77-year-old driver who accidentally slammed his truck into fellow members of a gay chorus group, killing one and injuring two others, said Monday that he was devastated by the crash at the start of a Pride parade in South Florida. Source