Sunday, September 19, 2010


Created in 1984 on the recommendation of a lengthy royal commission conducted by Justice David McDonald into allegations of abuses committed during a period of political unrest in Quebec, CSIS has acted as a Canadian domestic security apparatus with responsibility for screening employees, conducting investigations, and countering terrorism. The preference for so many émigré extremists to organize in the relatively benign, liberal cosmopolitan environment offered by Toronto and Montreal has led to a significant internal security problem posed by Croatian, Ukrainian, Sikh, and Punjabi extremists who have raised funds and planned atrocities with minimal interference.
The sabotage of an Air India jet over the Atlantic with the loss of 329 lives in June 1985 prompted a lengthy but inconclusive CSIS investigation into a Babbar Khalsa cell, illustrating the challenge presented by émigré terrorist groups.
Although widely regarded as a purely domestic agency, CSIS’s former director Ward Elcock disclosed to the Security and Intelligence Review committee that the organization had posted security liaison officers at diplomatic posts in nine unnamed countries abroad and has also deployed personnel under “non-official  cover.” Jim Judd was named as Elcock’s successor at CSIS in 2004.