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

  • Death toll in Egypt attack on Christians rises to 29

    World News CTV News
    CAIRO -- The death toll in the attack by gunmen on a bus transporting Christians to a monastery south of Cairo rose to 29, Egyptian authorities said Saturday. The Egyptian Cabinet said in a news release that 13 victims of Friday's attack remained hospitalized in Cairo and the southern province of Minya where the attack took place. Source
  • U.K. lowers terror threat level to 'severe' as more arrested

    World News CTV News
    MANCHESTER, England -- Britain reduced its terrorism threat level a notch, from "critical" to "severe," as authorities said major progress has been made in unravelling the plot behind the Manchester bombing. Prime Minister Theresa May said "a significant amount of police activity" and several arrests had led to the level being lowered. Source
  • ISIS claims responsibility for deadly shooting on Coptic Christians in Egypt

    World News CBC News
    The group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) said on Saturday that its fighters were responsible for a shooting that killed dozens of Egyptian Christians on Friday, according to a statement from the group. Source
  • U.S. backs call for fight against protectionism in G7 communique

    World News CBC News
    U.S. President Donald Trump has agreed to include a pledge to fight trade protectionism in a final communique due to be released later on Saturday at the end of a summit of Group of Seven leaders, a G7 source said. Source
  • N.S. party leaders stick to familiar scripts in campaign's final days

    Canada News CBC News
    The final Friday of this provincial election campaign was as illustrative as any of what each party leader wants voters thinking about as they prepare to cast their ballots. Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil started his morning at the office of a company that specializes in virtual reality flight simulation. Source
  • 11 arrests total in Manchester bomb investigation

    World News CBC News
    Police arrested two more suspects Saturday over the deadly Manchester concert bombing, as Britons began a sunny holiday long weekend under heightened security. Greater Manchester Police said two men, aged 20 and 22, were detained early Saturday in the northwest England city on suspicion of terrorism offences. Source
  • 5 things to watch for in today's Conservative leadership result

    Canada News CBC News
    After a year of campaigning, it's mostly over but the counting for the 13 candidates in the Conservative leadership race.Listen to CBC Radio's The House: Conservatives make their choiceFollow CBC's live coverage of the Conservative leadership conventionConservative leadership candidates lay out vision for party in final speechesAs the final few votes are cast in person and the tabulation machines set to work Saturday, here's what to watch for when the results are revealed at 5 p.m. Source
  • Mosul siege extends ISIS fight in Iraq, puts civilians at risk

    World News CTV News
    MOSUL, Iraq -- Iraqi forces are steadily closing in on the remaining pockets of territory held by the Islamic State group in Mosul, inching toward a victory that U.S.-led coalition officials say is "only a matter of time. Source
  • Carter national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski dies

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- Zbigniew Brzezinski, who helped topple economic barriers between the Soviet Union, China and the West as President Jimmy Carter's national security adviser, died Friday. He was 89. His death was announced on social media Friday night by his daughter, MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski. Source
  • Man hurling racial slurs kills 2, injures 1 on Portland train: police

    World News CTV News
    PORTLAND, Ore. -- Two people died Friday and another was hurt in a stabbing on a Portland light-rail train after a man yelled racial slurs at two young women who appeared to be Muslim, one of whom was wearing a hijab, police said. Source