Monday, November 29, 2010
Here's the first leaked cable concerning Canada. It details a July 2, 2008 meeting between CSIS director Jim Judd and US State Counselor Eliot Cohen. Analysis to follow.
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 OTTAWA 000918
C O R R E C T E D COPY//SUBJECT LINE//////////////////////////////////
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/09/2018
TAGS: PREL PTER MOPS IR PK AF CA
SUBJECT: COUNSELOR, CSIS DIRECTOR DISCUSS CT THREATS,
PAKISTAN, AFGHANISTAN, IRAN
REF: A. OTTAWA 360
¶B. OTTAWA 808
¶C. OTTAWA 850
¶D. OTTAWA 878
OTTAWA 00000918 001.2 OF 003
Classified By: PolMinCouns Scott Bellard, reasons, 1.4 (b) and (d).
¶1. (S/NF) Summary. Canadian Security Intelligence Service
(CSIS) Director Judd discussed domestic and foreign terror
threats with Counselor of the State Department Cohen in
Ottawa on July 2. Judd admitted that CSIS was increasingly
distracted from its mission by legal challenges that could
endanger foreign intelligence-sharing with Canadian agencies.
He predicted that the upcoming release of a DVD of
Guantanamo detainee and Canadian citizen Omar Khadr's
interrogation by Canadian officials would lead to heightened
pressure on the government to press for his return to Canada,
which the government would continue to resist. Judd shared
Dr. Cohen's negative assessment of current political,
economic, and security trends in Pakistan, and was worried
about what it would mean for the ISAF mission in Afghanistan.
Canada has begun formulating an inter-agency Pakistan
strategy, and CSIS had agreed to open a channel to Iran's
intelligence service which Judd has not yet "figured out."
(Septel will cover Dr. Cohen's discussions regarding Pakistan
and the OEF and ISAF missions in Afghanistan.) End summary.
¶2. (S/NF) Counselor of the Department of State Eliot Cohen
and CSIS Director Jim Judd in Ottawa on July 2 discussed
threats posed by violent Islamist groups in Canada, and
recent developments in Pakistan and Afghanistan. (CSIS is
Canada's lead agency for national security intelligence.)
Director Judd ascribed an "Alice in Wonderland" worldview to
Canadians and their courts, whose judges have tied CSIS "in
knots," making it ever more difficult to detect and prevent
terror attacks in Canada and abroad. The situation, he
commented, left government security agencies on the defensive
and losing public support for their effort to protect Canada
and its allies.
Legal Wrangling Risks Chill Effect
¶3. (S/NF) Responding to Dr. Cohen's query, Judd said CSIS
had responded to recent, non-specific intelligence on
possible terror operations by "vigorously harassing" known
Hezbollah members in Canada. According to Judd, CSIS'
current assessment is that no attack is "in the offing" in
Canada. He noted, however, that Hezbollah members, and their
lawyers, were considering new avenues of litigation resulting
from recent court rulings that, Judd complained, had
inappropriately treated intelligence agencies like law
enforcement bodies (refs A and C). The Director observed
that CSIS was "sinking deeper and deeper into judicial
processes," making Legal Affairs the fastest growing division
of his organization. Indeed, he added, legal challenges were
becoming a "distraction" that could have a major "chill
effect" on intelligence officials.
¶4. (S/NF) Judd derided recent judgments in Canada's courts
that threaten to undermine foreign government intelligence-
Qthat threaten to undermine foreign government intelligence-
and information-sharing with Canada. These judgments posit
that Canadian authorities cannot use information that "may
have been" derived from torture, and that any Canadian public
official who conveys such information may be subject to
criminal prosecution. This, he commented, put the government
in a reverse-onus situation whereby it would have to "prove"
the innocence of partner nations in the face of assumed
¶5. (S/NF) Judd credited Prime Minister Stephen Harper's
minority Conservative government for "taking it on the chin
and pressing ahead" with common sense measures despite court
challenges and political knocks from the opposition and
interest groups. When asked to look to the future, Judd
predicted that Canada would soon implement UK-like legal
procedures that make intelligence available to "vetted
defense lawyers who see everything the judge sees."
OTTAWA 00000918 002.2 OF 003
Terror Cases and Communities Present Mixed Pictures
¶6. (C/NF) Judd commented that cherry-picked sections of the
court-ordered release of a DVD of Guantanamo detainee and
Canadian citizen Omar Khadr (ref D) would likely show three
(Canadian) adults interrogating a kid who breaks down in
tears. He observed that the images would no doubt trigger
"knee-jerk anti-Americanism" and "paroxysms of moral outrage,
a Canadian specialty," as well as lead to a new round of
heightened pressure on the government to press for Khadr's
return to Canada. He predicted that PM Harper's government
would nonetheless continue to resist this pressure.
¶7. (C) The Director mentioned other major cases that also
presented CSIS with major legal headaches due to the use of
intelligence products in their development: Momin Khawaja has
been on trial for his role in an Al Qaeda UK bomb plot since
June 23 in the first major test of Canada's 2001
Anti-Terrorism Act, and Canada's ability to protect
intelligence supplied by foreign government sources (ref D);
the trial of the first of the home-grown Toronto 11 (down
from 18) terror plotters, which is also now underway; and,
the prosecution of Global Islamic Media Front propagandist
Said Namouh, who was arrested in Quebec in 2007 for
conspiring to conduct bombings in Austria and Germany.
¶8. (C) Judd said he viewed Khawaja and his "ilk" as
outliers, due in part to the fact that Canada's ethnic
Pakistani community is unlike its ghettoized and poorly
educated UK counterpart. It is largely made up of traders,
lawyers, doctors, engineers, and others who see promise for
themselves and their children in North America, he observed,
so its members are unlikely to engage in domestic terror
plots. He said that therefore CSIS main domestic focus is
instead on fundraising and procurement, as well as the
recruitment of a small number of Canadian "wannabes" of
Pakistani origin for mostly overseas operations.
Pakistan and Afghanistan
¶9. (C) Turning to Pakistan, Counselor Cohen briefed his
recent trip to Islamabad and Peshawar, noting his alarm at
the degrading economic, political, and security situation
there, and its implications for Pakistan, Afghan, and
regional stability. Judd responded that Dr. Cohen's sober
assessment tracked with CSIS' own view of Pakistan, and that
"it is hard to see a good outcome there" due to that
country's political, economic, and security failures, on top
of fast-rising oil and food prices. Canada does not have an
explicit strategy for Pakistan, Judd said, but Privy Council
Deputy Secretary David Mulroney (who leads the interagency on
Afghanistan) now has the lead on developing one (septel).
Dr. Cohen remarked, and Judd agreed, that it would be
necessary to avoid approaching Pakistan as simply an adjunct
to the ISAF and OEF missions in Afghanistan.
¶10. (S/NF) CSIS is far from being "high-five mode" on
Q10. (S/NF) CSIS is far from being "high-five mode" on
Afghanistan, Judd asserted, due in part to Karzai's weak
leadership, widespread corruption, the lack of will to press
ahead on counter-narcotics, limited Afghan security force
capability (particularly the police) and, most recently, the
Sarpoza prison break. He commented that CSIS had seen
Sarpoza coming, and its link to the Quetta Shura in Pakistan,
but could not get a handle on the timing.
¶11. (S/NF) Judd added that he and his colleagues are "very,
very worried" about Iran. CSIS recently talked to Iran's
Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) after that
agency requested its own channel of communication to Canada,
he said. The Iranians agreed to "help" on Afghan issues,
including sharing information regarding potential attacks.
However, "we have not figured out what they are up to," Judd
confided, since it is clear that the "Iranians want ISAF to
OTTAWA 00000918 003.2 OF 003
¶12. (U) Dr. Cohen has cleared this message.
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