Thursday, June 24, 2010

Bartleman vindicated by Air India Inquiry

The Final Report of the Air India Inquiry, released on June 17th, has vindicated former Ontario Lieutenant Governor James Bartleman.

Bartleman, who was Director General of the Intelligence Analysis and Security Bureau at the Department of External Affairs at the time of the attack, told the Inquiry that he had seen a CSE communications intercept during the week before the Air India flight indicating that it was to be targeted that weekend. CSE and other government witnesses subsequently denied that such an intercept had ever existed, however, and the government sought to discredit Bartleman's testimony. (Background here.)

In his report (specific part here), Inquiry Commissioner Mr. Justice John Major stated that
On balance, the evidence cited by the Attorney General of Canada to discredit James Bartleman was not persuasive. Bartleman was a unique consumer of intelligence who had exceptional access to CSE materials. It was a well-accepted fact that there were many threats to Air India flights from Canada and these threats were generally discounted. In light of these surrounding circumstances, it is reasonable to conclude that James Bartleman saw a document with a direct threat to Air India Flight 182 on June 22, 1985 that other witnesses do not recollect seeing.

The Commission accepts the evidence of Bartleman, and finds that he delivered a message to the RCMP identifying a direct threat to Air India 182 the weekend of the June 22, 1985 flight. In accepting Bartleman’s testimony, it is significant to note that he had nothing to gain by coming forward with his testimony, and stood only to suffer a loss to his reputation in facing government-wide efforts to impugn his credibility.
Further coverage:

Bill Curry, "Inquiry vindicates former security minister [sic] whose Air India warnings went ignored," Globe and Mail, 17 June 2010

Richard J. Brennan, "Former Ontario lieutenant governor praised for recalling terror warning," Toronto Star, 18 June 2010

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