December 3, 2011
Canada's spy agency relied so heavily on information gleaned from torture that is ability to protect Canadian would be harmed if it weren't allowed to do so, a letter from a CSIS head indicated.
The letter, obtained by the Montreal Gazette, was sent from then- CSIS Director Jim Judd to then-Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day, in January of 2008, as the government was preparing new legislation on national security certificates (NSLs).
Judd warned that an amendment to the new law, which would prevent the use of torture to issue NSLs, could "render unsustainable the current security certificate proceedings."
NSLs allow Canadian authorities to detain non-citizens indefinitely without trial, where evidence exists that they are a national security risk. A cabinet minister must sign off on any use of an NSL.
If the NSL amendment were interpreted to mean that Canada could not rely on evidence initially obtained from governments that may have tortured, and then independently corroborated, "the Government's ability to act in the interest of public safety on threat-related information or advice provided by CSIS could be significantly and negatively affected," the letter stated,
CSIS memo shows Canada's reliance on torture