PARLIAMENT of CANADA
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The Report of the Special Senate Committee on

Security and Intelligence

   Chairman : The Honourable William M. Kelly

Deputy Chairman : The Honourable John G. Bryden

January 1999


Membership of the Committee

The Honourable William M. Kelly, Chairman

The Honourable John G. Bryden, Deputy Chairman

and

The Honourable Senators:

ANDREYCHUK, Raynell
* CARSTAIRS, Sharon
CORBIN, Eymard G.
LEBRETON, Marjory
* LYNCH-STAUNTON, John
PÉPIN, Lucie
STOLLERY, Peter

*Ex Officio Members

 

 Original members agreed to by Motion of the Senate:

 

The Honourable Senators:
Andreychuk, Bryden, Corbin, Fitzpatrick, *Graham (or Carstairs), Kelleher, Kelly, *Lynch-Staunton (or Kinsella, acting) and Stollery.

 

Other Senators who participated in the work of the Committee:

The Honourable Senator:
Prud'homme.


 Orders of Reference

Extract from the Journals of the Senate dated Thursday, March 26, 1998:

Resuming debate on the motion, as modified, of the Honourable Senator Kelly, seconded by the Honourable Senator Prud’homme, P.C.:

That, a special committee of the Senate be appointed to hear evidence on and consider matters relating to the threat posed to Canada by terrorism and the counter-terrorism activities of the Government of Canada;

That the Committee examine and report on the current international threat environment with particular reference to terrorism as it relates to Canada;

That the Committee examine and report on the extent to which the recommendations of the Report of the Special Committee on Terrorism and Public Safety (June 1987) and the Report of the Special Committee on Terrorism and Public Safety (June 1989) have been addressed by the Government of Canada;

That the Committee examine and make recommendations with respect to the threat assessment capability of the Government of Canada relative to the threat of terrorism;

That the Committee examine and make recommendations with respect to the leadership role, preparedness and review of those departments and agencies of the Government of Canada with counter-terrorism responsibilities;

That the Committee examine and assess the level of international cooperation between Canada and its allies with respect to the evolving nature of the terrorist threat;

That seven Senators, to be designated at a later date, act as members of the Committee;

That the Committee have power to report from time to time, to send for persons, papers and records, and to print such papers and evidence from day to day as may be ordered by the Committee; and;

That the Committee presents its final report no later than September 29, 1998.

After debate,

The question being put on the motion, as modified, it was adopted.

………………………………….

Extract from the Journals of the Senate dated Tuesday, September 29, 1998:

 

With leave of the Senate,

The Honourable Senator Kelly moved, seconded by the Honourable Senator Carney, P.C.:

That notwithstanding the Order of the Senate adopted on March 26, 1998, the Special Committee of the Senate on Security and Intelligence which was authorised to hear evidence on and consider matters relating to the threat posed to Canada by terrorism and the counter-terrorism activities of the Government of Canada; examine and report on the current international threat environment with particular reference to terrorism as it relates to Canada; examine and report on the extent to which the recommendations of the Report of the Special Committee on terrorism and Public Safety (June 1987) and the Report of the Special Committee on Terrorism and Public Safety (June 1989) have been addressed by the Government of Canada; examine and make recommendations with respect to the threat assessment capacity of the Government of Canada relative to the threats of terrorism; and examine and make recommendations with respect to the leadership role, preparedness and review of those departments and agencies of the Government of Canada with counter-terrorism responsibilities; be empowered to present its final report no later than November 30, 1998; and

That the Committee be permitted, notwithstanding usual practices, to deposit its report with the Clerk of the Senate, if the Senate is not then sitting; and that the report be deemed to have been tabled in the Chamber.

The question being put on the motion, it was adopted.

………………………………….

Extract from the Journals of the Senate dated Thursday, November 19, 1998:

With leave of the Senate,

The Honourable Senator Kelly moved, seconded by the Honourable Senator Kinsella:

That notwithstanding the Order of the Senate adopted on September 29, 1998, the Special Committee of the Senate on Security and Intelligence be empowered to present its final report no later than December 17, 1998.

The question being put on the motion, it was adopted.

………………………………….

Extract from the Journals of the Senate dated Tuesday, December 1, 1998:

With leave of the Senate,

The Honourable Senator Kelly moved, seconded by the Honourable Senator Kinsella:

That notwithstanding the Order of the Senae adopted on November 19, 1998, the Special Committee of the Senate on Security andn Intelligence be empowered to present its final report no later than Friday, January 15, 1999.

After debate,

The question being put on the motion, it was adopted.

………………………………….

Extract from the Journals of the Senate dated Tuesday, December 8, 1998:

With leave of the Senate,

The Honourable Senator Kelly moved, seconded by the Honourable Senator Rivest:

That the Special Senate Committee on Security and Intelligence be permitted, notwithstanding usual practices, to deposit its Report on the examination of the current international threat environment with particular reference to terrorism as it relates to Canada with the Clerk of the Senate if the Senate is not sitting; and that the Report be deemed to have been tabled in the Chamber; and

That, if before the prorogation of the present session of Parliament, the Special Senate Committee on Security and Intelligence has adopted but not tabled its Report, the Honourable Senators authorized to act for and on behalf of the Senate in all matters relating to internal economy of the Senate during any period between sessions of Parliament, be authorized to publish and distribute the Report of the Committee

The question being put on the motion, it was adopted.

 

Paul Bélisle
Clerk of the Senate


TABLE OF CONTENTS

 FOREWORD

PREFACE

Structure of Hearings
Orientation of the Report
Structure of Report

CHAPTER I: THE CURRENT SECURITY AND INTELLIGENCE ENVIRONMENT AND A CURRENT ASSESSMENT OF RISKS TO CANADA'S SECURITY

Overview
Definitions and the Scope of the Committee's Review
Keeping Track of Terrorism
The Current Environment
The Tactics of Terrorism
Committee Observations and Recommendations

CHAPTER II: RESPONSE TO RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE SENATE SPECIAL COMMITTEES ON TERRORISM AND PUBLIC SAFETY

Overview
International Arrangements
Committee Observations and Recommendations
The National Counter-Terrorism Plan (NCTP)
Committee Observations and Recommendations
Illegal Migration
Committee Observations and Recommendations
Fundraising
Committee Observations and Recommendations
Airport Security
Committee Observations and Recommendations

CHAPTER III: EMERGING ISSUES

Overview
Protection of Critical Infrastructures
Committee Observations and Recommendations
Encryption
Committee Observations and Recommendations
Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Weapons Attacks
Committee Observations and Recommendations
The Government's Threat Analysis Capability
Committee Observations and Recommendations
Parliament's Role and Responsibility
Committee Observations and Recommendations

CHAPTER IV: LEADERSHIP, COORDINATION, REVIEW AND OVERSIGHT OF CANADA'S SECURITY AND INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY

Overview
A Word on Terminology
Leadership and Coordination
On-Going Leadership and Coordination
Coordination During A Security Offences Incident
Committee Observations and Recommendations
Oversight and Review of the Security and Intelligence Sector
Committee Observations and Recommendations
Parliamentary Review and Oversight
Committee Observations and Recommendations

CHAPTER V: SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS

APPENDIX A: LIST OF WITNESSES

APPENDIX B: LIST OF PEOPLE INTERVIEWED FOR BACKGROUND PURPOSES

GLOSSARY OF ACRONYMS AND TERMS


FOREWORD 

Over the past 15 years, three Special Committees of the Senate have been convened to examine aspects of the federal government's security and intelligence community. The first Senate Special Committee on Terrorism and Public Safety was reported in June of 1987, and the second Senate Special Committee on Terrorism and Public Safety was reported in July of 1989.

The first two Committees convened after the occurrence of terrorist incidents in Canada. Although no actual incident acted as a catalyst for this Committee, the objective of all three Commitees was the same – namely, to ensure that our security and intelligence organizations are staying ahead of events, and not simply reacting to them. With changes in the geopolitical environment and advances in technology, this challenge has become increasingly daunting.

It is fair to say that the undercurrent of the previous Commitees' reports was one of concern that we were perhaps overly complacent, and hence were not effectively grappling with the terrorist threat, and we were not as prepared as we should have been to respond to an actual incident.

The theme of this Report is very different. There has been a positive change in the level of preparedness and professionalism in the security and intelligence community. Issues and concern identified by the previous Committees have been, in the main, addressed. However, the threat environment has changed considerably over the past decade and new challenges now face our security and intelligence community. As discussed in this Report, technological advances pose the most serious challenge, and may place our security and intelligence organizations on a "technological treadmill" in order to maintain our preparedness.

There have been comments in the media and elsewhere about this Committee and the previous Committees' decision to hold hearings in camera. On one hand, public hearings would probably have contributed to public understanding and transparency of security and intelligence matters and would also contribute to public confidence in our security and intelligence institutions. On the other hand, the Committees concluded that in camera sessions would encourage witness candour. In fact, a few witnesses insisted on giving their evidence in camera. Furthermore, the Committees were concerned that public hearings might result in the sensationalizing of particular testimony.

It has been my honour to chair this Committee and the previous two. I have been privileged to witness the very substantial progress of our security and intelligence community. I wish to recognize the many men and women in that community for their professionalism, and for their dedication and work for the security of Canada. I should like, in particular, to recognize several officials who gave unstintingly of their time to this Committee: John Tait, the Coordinator, Security and Intelligence, in the Privy Council Office; Ward Elcock, Director, Canadian Security Intelligence Service; Jean Fournier, Deputy Solicitor General, and Commissioner Philip Murray of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Of particular concern is the current extent of personnel turnover at senior levels in the community. Several officials who appeared before this Committee whom I would number among the 'best and brightest' have, within a very short time, left the community.

I wish to record the Committee's appreciation to all witnesses who appeared before the Committee, some of whom appeared on multiple occasions. We are also grateful to our Clerks: Nadine S. Huggins and Barbara Reynolds; our Legislative Clerk, Till Heyde; as well as Don Gracey, Adele Pellegrino and the rest of the CG Management and Communications team. Thank you to CG Management and Communications for identifying witnesses, resource persons and preparing multiple drafts of the Committee Report. The contribution of our French editor, Louis Majeau, and our translators are also reflected in the text. Grateful mention must also be made of the hardworking interpreters, console operators, transcribers and staff of the publications service who provided service to the Committee.

In preparing this Report, the Committee gave particular attention to the question of threat assessment and analysis, in order to satisfy itself that mechanisms are in place to identify situations which put Canada and Canadians at risk.

This brings me to my final point. Advances in technology give us increasingly effective tools to monitor terrorists and interdict their criminal actions. Those same advances in technology give our security and intelligence organizations unprecedented ability to interfere with the personal rights and freedoms of Canadians. The Committee received no evidence that our security and intelligence community acts illegally or unconstitutionally. However, the presence of those abilities will always be a temptation, or create public unease or suspicion. One of the objectives of this Committee, therefore, was to consider the need for enhanced review mechanisms to guard against the abuse or excessive use of power and to give the public as much confidence as possible in this regard.

I wish to thank my fellow Committee members. Committee reports by their nature reflect a consensus of views. It will come as no surprise to anyone that this Committee had a divergence of views on several matters, and those divergences were subordinated to the need to achieve a consensus. I look forward to the debate in the Senate Chamber on this Report where, I trust, Committee members will bring their individual perspectives to the very important, complicated and sensitive matters canvassed in this Report.

 

William M. Kelly
Chairman


 PREFACE 

On March 26, 1998, the Senate approved an Order of Reference to constitute a Special Committee on Security and Intelligence. In essence, the Committee's mandate was to pick up from where the previous Senate Special Committees on Terrorism and Public Safety had left off. Those Committees reported in June 1987 and in May 1989.

The Special Committee on Security and Intelligence conducted hearings from May 26, through to November 5, 1998.

Prior to the commencement of formal hearings, the Chairman and Committee staff made contact with a wide range of experts and commentators on the subject of terrorism, security and intelligence in order to identify the issues and refine the Committee's approach to its examination. These contacts included foreign and Canadian government officials, Canadian and foreign security intelligence officials, federal, provincial and municipal law enforcement officials, academics, representatives of ethno-cultural groups and research organizations.

 

Structure of Hearings

Before hearings began the Committee made the decision that all hearings would be in camera. This decision was made in order to encourage the maximum possible candour from witnesses to avoid the possibility that a particular statement by a witness might be sensationalized and to ensure security is not compromised in any way. A few private witnesses either stated their clear preference for in camera hearings, or agreed to appear only in camera.

Hearings were attended only by Senators and staff of the Committee, Senate staff and staff of individual Senators. Transcripts of hearings were made, but were not released to the public.

Witnesses appeared before the Committee by invitation only. An invitation to appear before the Committee was, however, extended to any individual, group or organization who requested to appear. Invitations to appear before or make submissions to the Committee were sent to all non-government groups, organizations or individuals who appeared before either of the previous Senate Special Committees on Terrorism and Public Safety.

Listed at Appendix A are the witnesses who appeared before the Committee and their affiliations. A total of 97 witnesses appeared. Committee staff interviewed an additional 42 persons. A list of those persons is included in this Report as Appendix B.

 The Committee is grateful to all those witnesses who took time to appear before the Committee in some cases appearing multiple times and to those who made written submissions to the Committee.

The Committee's hearings were divided into four groups or modules addressing the following topics:

• The current risk assessment and changes in the security and intelligence environment since the last Special Committee on Terrorism and Public Safety.

• Responses to the recommendations and observations of the two previous Special Committees on Terrorism and Public Safety.

• Emerging Issues.

• A review of leadership, coordination, review and oversight of the security and intelligence  community.

 

Orientation of the Report

The reports of the two previous Special Committees on Terrorism and Public Safety were well-received and reviewed by authorities, because they went to unprecedented lengths to identify the government organizations that played a role in counter-terrorism and to describe their functions and inter-relationships. The reports also tried to be as candid as possible in describing the issues the Committees came upon. The Committees did so in order to help demystify such organizations, to contribute to public awareness about their existence and also to contribute to a public discussion of the issues surrounding Canada's counter-terrorism initiatives.

This Report endeavours to continue that tradition in order to bring more information to the public. The Committee hopes to encourage a better understanding and public discussion of the issues involved, many of which are highly complex with no simple or readily-apparent solutions.

Obviously, some information disclosed to the Committee during in camera hearings is not revealed in this Report. Information was not included in this Report if the Committee concluded that its release could reasonably be expected to undermine Canada's security. There are certain matters that the Committee has decided should be kept confidential. Such matters have been addressed in a letter to the Prime Minister, with copies to the individual ministers concerned.

 

Structure of Report

Each chapter of the Report begins with a summary of the major observations and recommendations of the Committee pertaining to the subject-matter of that chapter. A more detailed discussion and analysis follows in each chapter.


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