Sunday, January 05, 2014

Watching the watchdogs

The transcript of the Senate testimony of SIRC Chair Chuck Strahl, CSE Commissioner Jean-Pierre Plouffe, and Acting Privacy Commissioner Chantal Bernier that took place back in December is now available online:

Evidence, Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence, 9 December 2013.

The testimony contains some interesting discussion of the issues surrounding the existing review mechanisms for CSIS, CSEC, and other parts of the intelligence committee, including the possibility of greater parliamentary monitoring.

(Earlier news coverage here.)

Meanwhile, yesterday's Vancouver Observer revealed some pretty disturbing information about SIRC Chair Chuck Strahl's competing interests:

Matthew Millar, "Canada’s top spy watchdog lobbying for Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline," Vancouver Observer, 4 January 2014.

[Update 9 January 2014: Tom Parry, "SIRC chair's pipeline lobbying seen as symptom of larger problem," CBC News, 9 January 2014.]

[Further update 9 January 2014: Creekside blog gives us the goods on the rest of the Cirque de Surveillance.]

[Update 10 January 2014: CBC follows in Creekside's footsteps:

Greg Weston, "Other spy watchdogs have ties to oil business," CBC News, 10 January 2014.

Further coverage:

- Stephen Maher, "Keeping an eye on Canadian spies a part-time job for pipeline lobbyist," Postmedia News, 10 January 2014
- "Ex-MP Chuck Strahl shouldn’t mix spy committee and pipeline lobbying: Editorial," Toronto Star, 10 January 2014]

[Update 25 January 2014: Max Paris, "Chuck Strahl steps down as spy watchdog amid lobbying questions," CBC News, 24 January 2014.]

Also relevant to the question of keeping intelligence agencies in line:

David Fraser, "Special prosecutor required to investigate spies and their lawyers lying to the Federal Court," Canadian Privacy Law Blog, 23 December 2013.

Michael Geist, "CSIS should be subject of independent investigation: Geist," Toronto Star, 3 January 2014.

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