Canada security questioned after FBI tip thwarts attack

Fri Aug 12, 2016 3:21pm EDT
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By Andrea Hopkins

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Aaron Driver first came to the attention of Canadian officials in late 2014 after he voiced support for Islamic State on social media. In 2015, the Muslim convert was arrested for communicating with militants involved with attack plots in Texas and Australia. Early this year, he agreed to a court order known as a peace bond that restricted his online and cell phone use.

Yet it took a tip from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation to alert Canadian intelligence officials to what police say was an imminent attack Driver was planning on a major Canadian city.

Driver, 24, died after he detonated an explosive device in the backseat of a taxi as police closed in and opened fire, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said in Ottawa.

The RCMP said Driver, one of only two Canadians currently subject to a peace bond, was not under constant surveillance before the tip from the FBI came on Wednesday morning.

Driver's father, Wayne Driver, was among those left with questions about why authorities did not intervene more decisively earlier. He said he wished his son had been forced into a de-radicalization program.

"I don't think [the peace bond] was very effective at all. I mean, look at the outcome," Driver's father told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

"Why wasn't he on some kind of parole where he had to report a couple times a month instead of never?"

RCMP Deputy Commissioner Mike Cabana said law enforcement has difficulties both in Canada and abroad in collecting admissible evidence in anti-terrorism investigations. Even when, as in Driver's case, there is enough evidence for a court-ordered terror-related peace bond, he said the tool can not really prevent an attack.   Continued...

A video of Aaron Driver, a Canadian man killed by police on Wednesday who had indicated he planned to carry out an imminent rush-hour attack on a major Canadian city, is projected on a screen during a news conference at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) headquarters in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, August 11, 2016. REUTERS/Chris Wattie