OTTAWA — The head of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service said he agreed with a court ruling yesterday that the spy agency had held onto sensitive data beyond the time frame allowed by court warrants.
CSIS director Michel Coulombe ordered all access to information dating back as far as 2006 to be denied while the agency assesses the legal impact of the decision and determines how best to move forward.
"I regret that we did not meet our duty of candor to the court and I commit to continuing my efforts with the deputy minister of justice to address this concern," CSIS director Coulombe told a press conference.
"All associated data collected under warrant was done so legally. The court’s key concern related to our retention of non-threat related associated data linked with third party communications, after it was collected," Coulombe said.
The federal court ruled CSIS had no mandate to retain the potentially revealing data as long as it did, since it had no direct link to national security threats.
Justice Simon Noel rebuked the spy agency for failing in its duty to inform the court of its secret data-collection programme.
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, meanwhile, welcomed the ruling, saying in a statement that "the court’s insight and guidance are timely, coming in the midst of the public consultations we now have underway about Canada’s national security framework." — AFP