I had the pleasure of joining Andrew Lawton and the True North Podcast network to talk about the leaks of classified Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) information and China’s reported interference in Canadian elections.
I know many are applauding the leaker for shining a bigger spotlight on election interference and more broadly China’s foreign influence activity in Canada. Let me state categorically – this is a problem. Collecting information and advising government on the threat of foreign influence activities is a core part of CSIS mandate. The organization has been investigating this threat since it’s inception and the recent leaks confirm it still is a robust file. CSIS knew and did their job reporting to the government.
I would be more sympathetic to the argument that ‘leaker’ was a whistleblower if there wasn’t a pile of publicly available information about China’s foreign interference.
See the CSIS 2020 Public report highlighting espionage and foreign interference
Here is the spy agency review body calling on the Government to respond to FIVE YEARS worth of recommendations to combat this threat.
There are legitimate questions to ask about what the government knew and what they did or didn’t do with the information – especially since they appear to have benefited from the influence campaign. We can all believe that and that the leaking of documents hurt CSIS ability to do it’s job in the future.