History and Famous Cases

This section is dedicated to the history of the Canadian intelligence community as a whole or to the history of specific agencies. It also presents the story of well-known Canadian "spies", or the story of foreign "spies" whose activites were related to Canada. In addition, this section includes stories about Canadian intelligence operations and about controversial activities that became famous cases.


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Air India report due in early 2010, lawyer for victims' families hopes for tough measures
RCMP Commissioner expects the Mounties will come under harsh criticism in the report for their handling of the case. He also said that would be "fair and reasonable" given the problems plaguing the Canadian intelligence community at the time.
HTML | Published: 2009-12-16 | Added: 2010-01-09

Canadian Intelligence during the Cold War
I have just returned from Warsaw, where, among other things, I was conducting archival research at the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN). I now have a number of files relating to Canada's so-called intelligence community during the Cold War.
HTML | Published: 2007-12-11 | Added: 2008-01-26

Re: Canadian Intelligence during the Cold War
Canadian intelligence in the early Cold War years was compromised by the likes of Mackenzie King [Canadian PM] who wanted to turn Gouzenko back to the Russian Embassy the moment RCMP gave him sanctuary. King apologized to the Russians.
HTML | Published: 2007-12-12 | Added: 2008-01-26

Terrorist rhetoric is hate speech, Major says
Rudner also recommended the restructuring of Canada's intelligence-sharing agencies to ensure that critical information is appropriately circulated.
HTML | Published: 2007-12-11 | Added: 2008-01-26

Canadian wars over Air India inquiry
The inquiry into the widely criticised investigation of the 1985 Air India bombing is further souring ties between the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIF) and the Royal Canadian Mounting Police (RCMP).
HTML | Published: 2007-12-05 | Added: 2008-01-19

CSIS-RCMP links need new law, inquiry told
While witnesses from both agencies have testified that there is now greater understanding between CSIS and the RCMP, Mr. Major said changing the law could ensure better co-operation.
HTML | Published: 2007-12-05 | Added: 2008-01-19

Former intelligence chief disputes RCMP testimony
Former CSIS director Reid Morden rejected claims of an almost unworkable relationship between the spy agency and the RCMP, urging the Air India inquiry not to mess with a system that is working well.
HTML | Published: 2007-12-05 | Added: 2008-01-19

RCMP-CSIS feuding ‘almost unworkable,' ex-Mountie Zaccardelli tells Air India probe
Police and spies should be put back on the same team, former RCMP commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli told the Air India inquiry, as he called for a major shakeup of Canada's approach to national security.
HTML | Published: 2007-12-01 | Added: 2008-01-19

RCMP wanted to retain power to probe terrorist threats, inquiry told
The head of the RCMP at the time of the creation of Canada's spy agency wanted the police force to retain some capacity to gather intelligence on terrorists, the Air India inquiry heard.
HTML | Published: 2007-11-08 | Added: 2007-11-25

Lévesque tracked by RCMP spies
RCMP spies eyed René Lévesque from his days as a globetrotting broadcaster in the1940s through his turbulent career as a pillar of the sovereignty movement and his ascension to Quebec premier in the 1970s.
HTML | Published: 2007-11-07 | Added: 2007-11-09

The spies who went out in the cold
Once Canada established weather and signal intelligence stations in the North, our government discovered that there was a great deal of Soviet radio traffic originating from the drift stations.
HTML | Published: 2007-10-28 | Added: 2007-11-03

CSIS slammed for destruction of crucial evidence in Air India bombing
The erasure of key wiretap tapes by Canada's spy agency punched a hole in the evidence later needed to prosecute the Sikh extremists responsible for the Air India bombing.
HTML | Published: 2007-09-18 | Added: 2007-10-05

Mountie spies monitored John Lennon's peace festival plans: new documents
Spies from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police kept close watch on Beatle John Lennon's ill -starred plans for a massive peace festival near Toronto, newly declassified records show.
HTML | Published: 2007-07-22 | Added: 2007-08-02

Air India head says reforms may ease CSIS-RCMP relations
The head of the Air India inquiry is suggesting legislative reforms may be needed to promote better co-operation between Canada's national police force and its civilian intelligence agency.
HTML | Published: 2007-06-18 | Added: 2007-06-18

No lessons learned
Pressured by victims' families, Harper's minority government launched the inquiry last year to find out what had gone wrong. During the trial it emerged that both the RCMP and CSIS had been aware of threats to attack Air India.
HTML | Published: 2007-06-14 | Added: 2007-06-17

Sikh issue flared quickly, former CSIS agent testifies
The 1984 storming of a Sikh temple by the Indian army forced Canada's spy agency to recognize the extent of Sikh extremism in the country, a former CSIS agent told the Air India inquiry.
HTML | Published: 2007-05-22 | Added: 2007-06-03

CSIS knew of looming Air India attack: witnesses
Former justice department lawyer Graham Pinos says he was told by a senior intelligence officer that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) feared that Sikh extremists would likely blow up a plane at some point.
HTML | Published: 2007-05-17 | Added: 2007-05-20

No 'specific' threat before bombing
Canada's spy agency hardly ever collected enough details to categorize any terrorist threat as a specific one in the months leading up to the 1985 Air India bombing, says a former security officer.
HTML | Published: 2007-05-09 | Added: 2007-05-13

Creation of CSIS made Canada less safe: ex-Mountie
Stripping the RCMP of responsibility for intelligence-gathering and handing the job over to CSIS made Canada a more dangerous place, not a safer one, a former senior Mountie says.
HTML | Published: 2007-03-07 | Added: 2007-03-13

National security 'failed Air India'
The newly minted Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), created a year earlier and made up mostly of former RCMP intelligence officers, had been tracking and wiretapping alleged Air India terrorist mastermind Talwinder Singh Parmar.
HTML | Published: 2007-03-06 | Added: 2007-03-10

Harper moves to resolve dispute threatening Air India probe
The question of national security has been raised by government agencies - CSIS, the RCMP, Foreign Affairs and others - that the public interest would be jeopardized in this era of violent world-wide terrorism if many of these documents were made  [...]
HTML | Published: 2007-02-20 | Added: 2007-02-22

The hottest postsecondary field? Intelligence
Academic specialists in security and intelligence studies say their courses have never been so popular, but Canada's universities have been unable to get the faculty and other resources to meet the demand.
HTML | Published: 2007-01-01 | Added: 2007-01-05

Mending the Mounties
Thirty years after the McDonald Commission, the RCMP finds itself at another crossroads. O'Connor points to a need for a more coherent connection between Canadian agencies when dealing with terrorism investigations.
HTML | Published: 2006-12-08 | Added: 2006-12-10

Intelligence in Canada: A look under the hood
1984: Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) is created to guard against activities that constitute threats to the security of Canada.
HTML | Published: 2006-11-17 | Added: 2006-11-19

Diplomat's wife gathered intelligence for Canada in Soviet Union
Janice Cowan spent several years in the Soviet Union as a Canadian spy while the Cold War peaked and the superpower splintered into different nations.
HTML | Published: 2006-11-13 | Added: 2006-11-13

Air India inquiry gets under way
Families of the victims were furious when they saw the alleged B.C. plotters walk last year. It didn't help to hear the investigation had been compromised by bungling, the destruction of wiretaps and rivalry between the RCMP and CSIS.
HTML | Published: 2006-06-21 | Added: 2006-07-06

In book, Morin defends his role as informant
Claude Morin defends his honour and describes why he collaborated with Canadian secret service agents in the 1970s, attacking those he said "falsely" extrapolated from his encounters an attempt to sabotage the Parti Québécois.
HTML | Published: 2006-04-03 | Added: 2006-04-20

At last, an inquiry
Given the serious issues raised by former Ontario premier Bob Rae in his report on the 1985 terrorist bombing of an Air India jetliner, the federal government is wisely, though belatedly, calling for an inquiry.
HTML | Published: 2005-12-01 | Added: 2005-12-03

Canada bomb inquiry to go ahead
Canada's government has ordered a public inquiry into how the 1985 bombing of an Air India jet with the loss of 329 lives was investigated. The case was mired in controversy after it transpired evidence was destroyed by Canada's spy agency.
HTML | Published: 2005-11-23 | Added: 2005-11-24

Who is Abdullah Almalki?
Syrian-born Canadian Abdullah Almalki, of Ottawa, was at the centre of an RCMP national security investigation that cast suspicion on Maher Arar. Like Mr. Arar, Mr. Almalki was tortured in a Syrian jail. He believes Canadian officials were  [...]
HTML | Published: 2005-10-30 | Added: 2005-11-01

Canadian spies secretly studied Soviet movies
Canadian spies secretly analyzed Soviet movies during the Cold War in the hope of gleaning useful intelligence. A little-known Ottawa agency played the role of film critic in what may have been a unique intelligence-gathering project among its  [...]
HTML | Published: 2005-08-14 | Added: 2005-08-17

Camp X Historical Society
The Society's primary mandate is conducting research for the purpose of documenting the Camp's history, the conservation of artifacts, and community education.
LINK | Published: 2002-01-01 | Added: 2005-05-21

CSIS mole defends work with white supremacists
Mr. Bristow's comments mark the first time he has publicly discussed his controversial role as an undercover operative for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service since being exposed in the press 10 years ago.
HTML | Published: 2004-08-11 | Added: 2004-08-16

CSIS mole breaks silence
Grant Bristow, who infiltrated the white supremacist movement as a paid informant for Canada's spy service, has broken his long silence, saying he took on the unsavoury task because it was
HTML | Published: 2004-08-11 | Added: 2004-08-13

Operations Abroad
CSIS will continue to consider the use of covert intelligence operations outside of Canada if it will assist in investigating and better informing the government about the threats that we face to our national security.
LINK | Published: 2004-05-27 | Added: 2004-05-31

Assessing Canadian Intelligence Literature: 1980-2000
For a relatively small country that does not have a very large intelligence establishment, Canada has produced quite a sizeable literature on such matters.
PDF | Published: 2001-03-20 | Added: 2004-04-13

Canada's Mounties: Myth and Reality
R.C. Macleod traces the strange story of the force that began by policing the Klondlike gold rush and ended by spying on separatists and subversives.
HTML | Published: 2000-02-01 | Added: 2004-02-20

A Short History of Canadian Military Intelligence
The Canadian Intelligence Community traces its origins to those British and French officers who were employed at various times in the early history of the country as scouts, guides, agents, liaison officers and on other duties.
LINK | Published: 1998-01-01 | Added: 2004-02-07

Ironside's Intelligence Centre
Reference library on military intelligence.
LINK | Published: 2001-01-01 | Added: 2004-02-07

CASIS International Conference Student Reports
This year's conference marked many milestones, not the least of which was the participation of forty students from across Canada. They would be providing reports of conference proceedings, to be posted on the CASIS website.
LINK | Published: 2003-12-01 | Added: 2004-01-12

Spies, not Soothsayers: Canadian Intelligence After 9/11
Within Canada, intelligence is usually taken to mean security intelligence, which is designed to be preventive. Whether it is countering espionage, subversion, or terrorism, the structures, equipment and activities of intelligence organizations should  [...]
LINK | Published: 2003-11-26 | Added: 2003-11-27

Unofficially known as Camp X, the paramilitary training installation was officially known by various names: as S25-1-1 by the RCMP (the Royal Canadian Mounted Police file name), as Project-J by the Canadian military, and as STS-103 (Special Training  [...]
LINK | Published: 1901-01-01 | Added: 2003-09-09

What History Teaches: The Case of David Lewis
This paper will explore the activities of the RCMP Security Service with regard to David Lewis, a prominent, non-communist, Canadian politician, who died in 1981.
PDF | Published: 2002-09-27 | Added: 2002-11-17

Our Men in Havana: Washington and Canadian Intelligence on Castro's Cuba, 1959-1963
The present paper documents, for the first time, how the Canadian government provided intelligence on Cuba on a regular basis to the United States and other allies during the years following the Castro revolution.
PDF | Published: 2002-09-28 | Added: 2002-11-13

L'évolution du renseignement de sécurité au Canada
La présente recherche ne se veut pas une enquête exhaustive sur les actions des services de renseignement canadiens ni une critique sur leurs agissements. Il s'agit essentiellement d'une recherche historique ayant pour but de relever les principales  [...]
PDF | Published: 1999-04-12 | Added: 1999-04-12