More foreign spies targeting Canada: report

Tue Apr 14, 2009 1:12pm EDT
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By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Foreign nations have stepped up their efforts to infiltrate Canada and steal valuable industrial, military and commercial secrets, the Canadian spy agency says in its latest annual report.

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) also expressed concern about foreign interference in the country's domestic affairs, given Canada's multicultural makeup and large immigrant communities.

The report for the year 2007-2008 was quietly posted on the agency's website earlier this month with no publicity. No one at the agency was immediately available for comment.

"Foreign espionage -- the primary preoccupation of intelligence agencies right up until the 1990s -- continued unabated after (the) 9/11 (attacks on the United States). It is in fact growing and becoming even more sophisticated and aggressive through the application of new technologies," the report said.

Foreign spies are interested in sectors such as agriculture, biotechnology, communications, oil exploitation, mining, aerospace and control systems engineering, it said.

CSIS also noted that Canada -- as a member of NATO and the signatory to numerous defense agreements -- had access to military technologies through its allies.

"The advantages found in our open and prosperous industrial and private sectors that attract business and investment opportunities are also the same attractive attributes sought by foreign intelligence agencies, international criminal gangs and global terrorist organizations," it said.

Although the CSIS report did not name any countries trying to steal secrets, officials at the agency have said in the past that China is a prime suspect.   Continued...