Exclusive: Canada spy agency must improve information sharing - watchdog

Thu Oct 30, 2014 12:50pm EDT
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By Mike De Souza

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada's spy agency must have national standards to improve how its regional surveillance teams share information, the chairwoman of the agency's civilian watchdog said in the wake of the killings of two Canadian soldiers last week.

The comments by Deborah Grey, chairwoman of the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC), come after a report from her committee last week said the Canadian Security Intelligence Service's (CSIS) regional teams "operate in total isolation from one another and communicate only sporadically with their HQ counterparts."

"We need to make sure that each region knows exactly what the other regions are doing, under the umbrella of the headquarters, of course," Grey told Reuters on Thursday.

"You need national standards right across the country because (criminals) are pretty mobile."

The performance of Canadian police and security services is under scrutiny after a gunman last week killed a soldier in Ottawa, then stormed the country's Parliament building. Two days earlier another man, described by police as having been radicalized, rammed two soldiers in Quebec with his car, killing one.

Both assailants were subsequently shot dead by security officers.

The Canadian government introduced legislation on Monday that would give CSIS more powers to investigate potential threats.

Grey, a former federal Conservative politician, said that her committee, SIRC, was still examining the new legislation.   Continued...

The day's first posting of the sentries, framed by flowers and wreaths left in tribute to Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, arrive at the National War Memorial in Ottawa October 30, 2014.   REUTERS/Chris Wattie