CSIS asked suspects' parents for help: reports

The family of one of the suspects navigates the media gauntlet during outside the Brampton, Ontario courthouse on Monday.

The family of one of the suspects navigates the media gauntlet outside the Brampton, Ontario courthouse on Monday.

CTV.ca News Staff
Updated: Thu. Jun. 15 2006 9:53 AM ET

Months before police moved in to arrest 17 terror suspects alleged to have planned bombings against targets in Southern Ontario, Canadian spies asked some of the suspects' parents to keep an eye on their children.

The spies told the suspects' mothers and fathers their sons were embracing "extremist ideology," according to a report in Thursday's The Globe and Mail.

"CSIS officers had approached some parents to let them know that CSIS suspected their children were becoming adherents to an extremist ideology," Canadian Security Intelligence Service spokeswoman Barb Campion told the newspaper on Wednesday.

And on Sunday during a closed-door, community meeting with representatives of the Muslim community, CSIS deputy director-general Andy Ellis said his spies have been monitoring the suspects for some time. 

Ellis also confirmed investigators had spoken to some of the suspects' parents, according to representatives of the Muslim community who were at the meeting, which was closed to reporters. 

The sources told The Globe that officials confirmed they had been in touch with both the suspects and the parents on several occasions in an attempt to intervene.

Twelve adult males and five youths have been arrested in the massive police operation.

The youths stand accused of training with a terrorist organization, while the 20 and 21-year-old suspects are accused of planning a truck bomb conspiracy against a number of targets, including CSIS headquarters in downtown Toronto.

Investigators said the men were in possession of three tonnes of ammonium nitrate -- fertilizer that can be used to build bombs -- when they were arrested, in addition to explosive devices, weapons and army fatigues.

Police and CSIS have revealed few details about their methods, though the spy agency has acknowledged using so-called "disruption" tactics to stymie potential terror-related activity before a crime is committed.

When that fails, CSIS can call in the RCMP to lay charges.

The spy agency has long held that Muslim parents hold powerful influence over their children.

© Copyright 2002-2006 Bell Globemedia Inc.