The government believes that Jaballah, detained without charge for five years in Canada under a national security certificate, was the communications relay in the 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.
Known only in court as J.P. to protect his identity, the intelligence officer told Federal Court that Jaballah is a threat to national security even if he is forced to wear an electronic monitoring device and receives only approved visitors and is constantly supervised.
The agent told Jaballah’s bail hearing that Al Qaeda has put Canada on its list of targeted countries, and he feels that Jaballah would use bail to reconnect with those terrorist cells.
The agent told court Jaballah believes he is on a "God-ordained mission" to commit terrorist acts and "there is no reason to believe he would abandon the cause."
Although a dozen sureties, including Jaballah’s family and former hostage James Loney, have pledged $124,000 to support Jaballah’s release, the agent for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service said that wouldn’t negate the risk to national security.
Spending these years in jail for the Islamic extremist cause is like "earning his stripes in a way," J.P. testified.
"It’s my experience that the cause (of terrorism) comes before family," the agent told court. "They are convinced they are doing God’s will. It seems to bring honour in the family. It’s my belief that money would come second to the cause."
Another proposed condition is that Jaballah not use a computer with Internet connections, but that would have little impact, the agent said.
The fact that Jaballah’s 20-year-old son, Ahmad, has a computer in his bedroom to conduct university studies won’t stop his father from using it, the agent contends.
“Jaballah is the head of the household” and would hold sway over his wife and six children, the agent said.
In addition, Jaballah is a flight risk because he has in the past used false passports, the CSIS agent said.
On day five of Jaballah’s bail hearing, the defence tried to poke holes in the testimony of the 16-year veteran CSIS agent. Under cross-examination, the agent admitted that his knowledge of Islamic fundamentalist terrorism has come mostly from “on the job” training and the reading of popular magazines such as the Economist and the New Yorker.
Several times, he was asked if he had taken any supplemental training on Islamic fundamental terrorism and in each case the answer was no.
Defence counsel Paul Copeland also attacked J.P. for his lack of knowledge on the 9/11 Commission Report, even though some of it pertained to Canada.
The agent admitted he hasn’t fully read the full report on the failings of government prior to the terrorist attack in 2001. "I’m a busy guy," the agent said, sparking an angry retort from Copeland.
"Isn’t that a fundamental piece to know?”
The agent replied, “I read excerpts. I didn’t feel the need to read the whole report,” adding that other areas of CSIS would have studied the part of the report that dealt with the Canadian connection.
Copeland was incredulous that the agent wasn’t fully apprised of the report, even though convicted terrorist Ahmed Ressam was in Canada for years prior to being caught at the Canadian-U.S. border with a carload of explosives for the purpose of blowing up Los Angeles International Airport in 2000.
Copeland kept up the pressure, rebuking CSIS because "you had him and you lost him (Ressam)" until it was almost too late.
The Canadian intelligence officer replied that he didn’t believe that letting Ressam get as far as he did “was an outright failure" of the Canadian government.
"I’m not in a position to say whether they were mistakes ... negligence ... or outright failure," he added.
Earlier, the cross-examination dealt with the agent’s knowledge of torture practised in countries such as Syria. The agent told court that he suspects that Syria does commit torture but he isn’t certain because he hasn’t seen it for himself.
Part of the defence strategy is to introduce a secret tape recording by Jaballah’s eldest son which is believed to describe how a CSIS agent tried to coerce Jaballah into co-operating, or he would "make his life hell," according to Copeland.
The hearing wasn’t without its humour today in reference to that tape, which has been located but is not audible enough to be presented in court.
Copeland said he is scouring Toronto for an expert who can enhance the tape, and then produced a few stifled laughs when he looked over at the CSIS agent, and quipped, "Does your office have the capability (to help us out)?"
The hearing continues Tuesday.