CSIS Says Courts Hampering its Ability to Track Suspects

Canada’s well-known spy agency, Canadian Security Intelligence Service, has highlighted that judicial rulings are hampering its effectiveness and making it lose track of terrorism suspects and so new surveillance powers are urgently needed. Public Safety Minister, Steven Blaney, mentioned in an announcement on Thursday that the federal government will amend the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act to restore surveillance powers to the agency and broaden its ability to share information with allies.

The planned changes will be the first substantial legislative changes to the Act since Parliament created the spy agency in 1984. It was explained that these changes are primarily going to address the issues that arrive when our security forces, formed as a domestic-intelligence agency, adjust to the borderless threat of home-grown terrorist-suspects who travel abroad to fight with extremists and return to Canada. According to the officials, part of the problem is that judges have constrained the agency’s powers in the name of preserving civil liberties.

Joining Mr. Blaney in the press conference, CSIS’s assistant director of operations, Andy Ellis, mentioned that “courts in Canada had some findings recently … that forced us to reconsider the way we undertook some of our operations.” Ellis highlighted a ruling from last year when CSIS was stopped from using a method of intercept some Canadian suspects’ telecommunications while they are abroad He stressed that “we had a black hole” and so “we were unable to track where these people were, where they were moving, how they were moving …”

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