SIRC Releases 2006–2007 Annual Report
October 30, 2007 – The Annual Report of the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) was tabled in Parliament today by the Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of Public Safety. The Report summarizes – to the extent privacy and national security permit – nine reviews completed by SIRC in 2006–2007 as well as five decisions rendered in complaints cases.
SIRC was established in 1984 to provide assurance to Parliament that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) is acting appropriately in the performance of its duties and functions. In doing so, SIRC safeguards Canadians’ fundamental rights and freedoms. SIRC is the only independent, external body with the legal mandate and expertise to review CSIS activities, so it is a cornerstone for ensuring the accountability of one of the Government’s most powerful organizations.
The Chair of SIRC, the Honourable Gary Filmon, noted that this year marks the 25th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. “
The bedrock values articulated in that historic document have helped to define what it means to be Canadian,” he said. It is against this backdrop that SIRC’s Annual Report features a summary of a Section 54 Report submitted to the Minister of Public Safety. It concerns Mohammed Mansour Jabarah, a Canadian citizen and an admitted al Qaida member, convicted of terrorist-related offences in the United States. In reviewing CSIS’s role in this case, SIRC found that some of its actions violated certain rights as guaranteed by the Charter. “
No matter how despicable his actions,” Mr. Filmon stated, “
the Service must comply with the Charter in carrying out its investigations.”
The remaining eight reviews summarized in SIRC’s Annual Report cover a range of CSIS activities. Among them are two counter-terrorism investigations; the operations of a security liaison post and a CSIS regional office; collaboration and exchanges of intelligence post-9/11; security screening outside the federal government; and the activities of CSIS’s Counter Espionage Investigations desk. SIRC made a total of eight recommendations, intended to improve the Service’s operational policies and procedures.
SIRC is also responsible for investigating complaints against CSIS. In 2006–2007, SIRC dealt with 61 complaints. Not all complaints resulted in an investigation: some were either redirected to another government institution, deemed to be outside SIRC’s jurisdiction or withdrawn by the complainant. SIRC issued five written reports and made a total of 11 recommendations.
By examining past CSIS operations and investigating complaints, SIRC makes findings and recommendations designed to improve the Service’s performance. To the best of its ability and within legal constraints, every review undertaken and every complaint acted upon, is reflected in SIRC’s Annual Report to Parliament.
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- Summary of Reviews, 2006-2007
- SIRC's Role and Responsibilities
- Section 54 Reports
For more information about SIRC, please contact:
Associate Executive Director
or consult www.sirc-csars.gc.ca
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