A former official said Canada should review the fight against espionage

(Ottawa) A former FBI intelligence official said Canada must rethink the way it handles counterintelligence investigations.


Jim Brunskill
The Canadian Press

According to Frank Vigliosi, the Delisle case showed systemic malfunctions as two national services deal with espionage cases.

Delisle, a former second lieutenant stationed at the Trinity Intelligence Center in Halifax, was arrested in January 2012 by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for violating the Information Security Act. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment. He sold classified data to Russia for more than $ 110,000 for more than four years.

“I thought about it from the first day of the Delale case. My position on this has not changed. We can achieve this without harming the civil liberties that remain necessary,” he said in an interview with the Canadian press.

Mr. Figlizzi believes the authorities do not have the luxury to allow time for different agencies to independently consider the same information, because protocols and regulations do not allow them to share it.

“The bad guys don’t respect our rules and protocols. In fact, they learn to exploit them quite skillfully. Our times require a quick response to threats.”

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) did not respond to an interview request.

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) cannot discuss the Delisle case other than it has been brought in court, says a John Townsend spokesperson.

Delisle Case, Figliuzzi Edition

Mr. Vigliosi says it was his responsibility to inform the Canadian Mounted Police of the presence of a spy in the Canadian Navy, even though CSIS was well aware that Geoffrey Delaale was selling secrets to the Russians.

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In a recently published book (The FBI Method: Inside the Bureau of Excellence Act), Frank Vigliosi took a critical look at the Delale case, stating that the episode well illustrated the systemic problems associated with the way counter-espionage operations were conducted in Canada.

Court documents indicate that it was the FBI that informed Canadian authorities in December 2011 of the non-commissioned officer’s relationship with the Russians, but as the Canadian Press Agency reported in May 2013, the story began much earlier. that.

Senior CIA officers were summoned to Washington where they were told that a Marine in Halifax was receiving cash transfers from Russian agents. The Canadian agency quickly obtained court approval to begin electronic monitoring of Delisle.

The United States and its allies have suffered from a five-year Russian intelligence hemorrhage. Once we found out about Delisle, we knew we had to tell the Canadians about it and stop this guy. Easy, isn’t it? Mr. Figlizzi writes. not exactly. Not when it comes to a system completely different from ours. ”

It was a problem, he says, to find out who should stop Delail.

Watch CSIS Delisle pass top-secret information to Russia for months without notifying RCMP. And he chose, according to a legal opinion, to keep his investigation under a seal of secrecy in order to preserve his sources and methods.

“Someone must have called the Canadian Police. Strangely enough, this task is up to me. I wrote a simple letter on the FBI stationery to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police explaining that Geoffrey Delaille was a spy. I flew to Ottawa and sat in a conference room with officers. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police report verbally. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police were able to initiate their own investigation so that this evidence could be used in court. ”

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While the RCMP was starting from scratch, Delaille continued to divulge secrets to Russians.

“It took so long that we thought about luring Delail into the United States so that we could arrest him and charge him,” recalls the former FBI deputy director for counterintelligence.

According to him, FBI Director Bob Muller called on his Canadian counterparts to “increase the pressure until someone ends this madness.”

CSIS was created in 1984 after a series of scandals that led to the dissolution of the RCMP Security Service. The new civilian agency was supposed to gather information and report the threats to the federal government, but it did not have the authority to arrest.

Must hand over the case of espionage or terrorism to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, or work in parallel with it.

“The next time you hear someone suggest dividing the FBI, you have my permission to tell them the Delale story,” wrote Figliosi, who retired from the FBI in 2012.

The worst violation

So far, the Delisle case represents Canada’s worst espionage story in the post-Cold War world, says Wesley Wark, a visiting professor at the University of Ottawa and a senior fellow at the Center for International Governance Innovation. .

“The Canadian authorities have not publicly reported their handling of the counterintelligence investigation,” he also lamented.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police began their investigation during the end of the year 2011 holiday. “How much time and secrets were lost before Delail was handcuffed,” adds Wark.

Mr. Townsend says revealing sensitive information could limit CSIS’s ability to protect and recruit human resources. In addition, it can significantly affect the service relationship with partners and reveal its secretive tactics.

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He said: “Protecting CSIS information from disclosure means that it cannot be relied upon to support any specific evidence, decision, or action.” In some cases, this may lead to suspension of criminal procedures, settlement of civil cases, and annulment of administrative decisions. ”

CSIS works with RCMP on “One Vision,” which directs how agencies work together on security issues.

Over the past decade, CSIS and RCMP have worked to improve this framework, Townsend says. This allowed each agency to maintain an appropriate separation between their respective investigations “while ensuring a functional operating relationship”.

Federal agencies face challenges when trying to use intelligence in an acceptable form as evidence, admits Mary Lise Bauer, a spokeswoman for Public Safety Secretary Bill Blair.

This is a long-standing problem as the accused cannot be tried on the basis of evidence that cannot be revealed to him in one way or the other. ”

CSIS, RCMP, and the Department of Justice are constantly working together to improve intelligence gathering and to counter threats to national security, says El Sayed.I am Energy.

“By reducing the silos that develop over time, the government is confident that it will avoid future obstacles and better manage litigation.”

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