06.23.2010 07:58 AM

Loose lips on steroids

Pardon me, but is the head of CSIS insane?

Here’s what Richard Fadden told CBC TV in an on-the-record, on-the-air interview:

“There are several municipal politicians in British Columbia and in at least two provinces there are ministers of the Crown who we think are under at least the general influence of a foreign government.”

I see.

A number of countries are involved, he said, but then went on to identify China as the prime culprit.  As Chinese President Hu Jintao is about to make an important visit to Canada, this does not seem like the most adroit of foreign policy moves.

But that’s not all, of course.  What about the “several municipal politicians in British Columbia” whom Fadden has now identified as spies, or traitors, or some combination of both?  Would not one or some of them now want to sue, to have their names cleared?  The effect of Fadden’s words have been to smear all Chinese-Canadian municipal politicians in B.C.   There is now a cloud over the reputations of all of them – until such time as we know who Fadden was talking about, and who he wasn’t, all are suspect.

This is a pretty extraordinary mistake for our supposed top spy to make. He should be dismissed.

UPDATE: The reaction begins:

Harper had ‘no knowledge’ of claim politicians under foreign influence (CSIS-Politicians-Recr)

OTTAWA – A spokesman in the Prime Minister’s Office says Stephen Harper was caught unaware by stunning allegations that several Canadian politicians are under the control of foreign governments.

The revelations from Richard Fadden, the director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, point to foreign infiltration of municipal and provincial political ranks, including cabinet-level politicians.

Harper spokesman Dimitri Soudas says the PMO has “no knowledge of these matters” and is directing all inquiries to CSIS.

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty says the spy agency owes Canadians more information.

McGuinty says Fadden promised to alert the federal government so it could tell the relevant provincial governments about ministers being controlled by foreign governments.

Fadden declined to name the two cabinet ministers or their provinces, but he said a number of public servants in British Columbia are also under suspicion.

McGuinty says the province hasn’t been contacted so, from Ontario’s perspective, “no news is good news.”

He says the CSIS chief needs to elaborate and provide more details so any concerns can be addressed.


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    Jason Cherniak says:

    Agreed! I also noticed that he says the problem is open, long-standing “connections”. It’s almost like CSIS thinks that any Canadian with some connection to a foreign country is at risk of “selling out” just because they have connections to the old country.

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    Bill King says:

    This would be the same guy who words the Iggy Liberals are relying on to attack Harper over G8/G20 security costs.

    Warren’s call for the resignation of Iggy’s go to man on terrorism is duly noted, I’m sure.

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      Warren says:

      I’m not!

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      Namesake says:

      Actually, it’s those ‘incompetents’ Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page (whose new report on this is due today! stay tuned) & A-G Sheila Fraser the Opp. will be turning to most eagerly on the inefficiencies & bad planning & ballooned costs. But, yes, now you mention it, CSIS’s Fadden was useful, too, for being frank about the fact that from both Canada & its allies’ hyper-vigilant intel on this, there’s pretty much a _zero_ chance of an actual terrorist attack at the summits, but I really don’t think WK wants to unseat him on account of that.

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    Ronald O'Dowd says:


    My impression is that they deliberately did this publicly to make some people sweat — so they can make mistakes which CSIS can profit from further down the road. A good plant is not necessarily the useful and unknowing dupe that intelligence services would like us to believe. Just ask Kim Philby.

    Of far more concern to me is to see what I’ll call Department Heads publicly videotaped. Words fail me. That is incredibly troubling, IMHO.

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    Joseph says:

    Maybe Harper wanted to embarrass the Chinese President as payback for dressing him down during his visit there. Nobody in this government freelances.

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      Michael Watkins says:

      Nobody in this government freelances.

      True, well, save for the complete idiots. Assuming Fadden isn’t one of those, he really should be falling on the sword to protect his dark lord hunkered down in the Langevin block.

      Meanwhile, my curiosity is piqued but I’ve got nowhere to direct it until we learn more about his allegations against B.C. politicians. It’s Committee Time!

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      Namesake says:

      I agree w. these two & other commentators who say it’s far more likely that Fadden is doing this on Harper’s orders rather than ‘going rogue’ on his own…

      Time will tell whether this is just to ‘pay back’ China for embarassing Harper when he finally got around to visiting them on the eve of his Summit, or possibly to pave the way for some drastic trade barriers he’s about to spring on them; or maybe just to try to destroy some ‘clueless & compromised’ Lib. brand provincial gov’ts (that’s likely your guy, too, WK!) in advance of the next election.

      I’m actually feeling sorry for the bookish Fadden, whose career is probably about to tank cuz he got tasked with fronting some really suspect intel to try to justify a ideologically driven destructive agenda that was about to be unleashed: like poor Colin Powell flushing his lifetime of hard-fought credibility down the toilet when he gamely pointed at the smudgy UFO / Sasquatch photos of the shadowy WMD’s to sell the war on Iraq to the world.

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        Namesake says:

        On the other hand (Mulligan?), maybe, incredibly, Soudras speaks the truth, and this really is news to Harper (in which case, er, sorry about the above, sir; it’s just that many of your other actions have made people rather cynical and distrustful of your modus operandi & motives).

        If that’s the case, then Fadden probably will be fired / fall on his sword PDQ, since in this first, you-heard-it-on-Fox News North-first inerview scoop, Harper’s actually got a lot of positive things to say about building better rel’ns with China, which Fadden’s little bombshell will seriously set back.


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    William M says:

    This kind of McCarthyism fits well with the government du jour.

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    Emily says:

    This is the most extraordinary story…….!

    Bad enough to sound like possible early-onset dementia to me, and yet no one beyond you is covering it.

    Where the hell are we going as a country??

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    Brian says:


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    Jimminy Crickets says:

    You heard him refer to “Central” in the interview, which he explained was the PCO. This interview and the content revealed therein was both tactical and strategic. We will have to wait for more pieces of the puzzle to fall into place to find out to what end. This was done with the full knowledge and support of the PCO. Nobody with any power will be asking for his resignation. …PS Cherniak you are one naive guy.

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      Scott Tribe says:

      So the PCO know about all, this according to our CSIS director, who had briefed them on it…but the PMO didn’t?

      Colour me sceptical.

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    Winnipegger says:

    This was a very rare move by CSIS…and obviously it would have been an extremely calculated one. This is the intelligence service, after all. We can’t even imagine why they may go about such tactics (including the CBC interview) – we’re in the dark on it, and rightfully so.

    However, I’ll guess that it is like a warning shot across the bow of foreign country’s intelligence services, that CSIS knows are operating in such ways in Canada, as well as a warning to politicians and bureaucrats who may be on the take. A way to tell them to cease and desist immediately, or be exposed. This is likely the more diplomatic approach in such cases.

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    James Smith says:

    Speaking of folks who are fluent in Chinese, wonder if this fella will be coming to visit our fake lake?


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    Namesake says:

    Bingo! …you’re probably right; and so now we know which sinister country will be revealed: Albania!

    or maybe Kazakhstan

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    Cath says:

    Nope Paul change of topic for today – EARTHQUAKE!!!! – not a fake one either. Felt it strongly here on the shores of Lake Huron. My couch shook – thought I was having heart racing episode.

    Holy Batman….what a weird feeling!! No amount of security can fight the power of mother nature.

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    James Curran says:

    I’m baffled by the filming of new CSIS spies in a classroom. I guess their cover is pretty blown.

    But! I’m thinking CSIS is about to get more money and more new recruits very shortly.

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    JH says:

    I wonder if anyone on here is a tad upset that the CBC would hold back this story until the eve of the Summits in an attempt to embarass the government, our country and China. They’ve had it for sometime. Does anyone see this as very counterproductive to establishing that improved trading relationship that all agree is so necessary – hence Michael Ignatieff’s trip to China this summer? I for one am not impressed, considering that they live on the taxpayers of this country’s dole to the tune of over a billion dollars annually. This has nothing to do with partisan politics but rather the actions of an irresponsible media.

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    J. Coates says:

    Everything the CSIS boss said makes a lot of sense, i.e. it’s very logical that foreign governments would reach out to their ex-patriots.

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    JB says:

    I say just ask all elected officials to state any travel or other expenses have been paid by foreign governments and the purpose.

    Seems simple enough.

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    Lipman says:

    This is a bit like the 1950s when candy manufacturer Robert Welch of the John Birch Society, alleged that Dwight Eisenhower (former Supreme Allied Commander and then-U.S. President) was an agent of the international communist conspiracy.

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