Spies, the erosion of oversight, and their corporate pals

I wanted to highlight a couple of stories that I have had published since I wrote my last blog post a couple month ago. Both are stories that deal with Canada’s Spy agency, CSIS, and the oversight of this agency.

Who’s got their eyes on Canada’s spies? was published in Briarpatch Magazine in March. It examines oversight of the spy agency. It starts looking at Last year’s move by the Harper Government cut one of the two bodies involved in monitoring CSIS’s compliance with the law, the Inspector General. However the article also probes the effectiveness of   the remaining oversight body, the Security Intelligence Review Committee(SIRC).

The other story, Spies that Share was published in the Dominion April.  It shows that CSIS is bending the law in order to share intelligence with private sector companies, despite a law that does not allow this practise.

Although the crux of the story is looking at CSIS’ relationship with the private sector, it also explores the role of oversight bodies. SIRC’s role is make sure CSIS complies with the law, and noted in a report that this sharing is not allowed, it seems none-the-less content to allow this sharing to take place.

A former Chair of SIRC told me that the logic of the body is to “let sleeping dogs lie” and only tackle issues once a controversy arises. To me this seems a strange position for a body that role is probing an organization that works in secrecy, as scandalous behaviour may be going on with out the public being aware.

I was also interviewed about these two articles on Winnipeg community radio station, CKUW. You can listen to the stories here: http://ckuwnews.ca/full_segment/126

That is it for now, but I got some more spiesexciting projects in the works



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