OTTAWA, Jan. 27 /CNW Telbec/ - The Annual Report of the Security
Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) was tabled in Parliament today by the
Honourable Peter Van Loan, Minister of Public Safety. The Report summarizes -
to the extent privacy and national security permit - eight reviews completed
by SIRC in 2007-2008, as well as six decisions rendered in complaints cases.
Established in 1984, SIRC's role is to reassure Parliament and Canadians
that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) performs its duties and
functions appropriately, effectively and in accordance with the law. SIRC is
the only independent, external body with the statutory mandate and expertise
to review CSIS's activities, thereby contributing to the accountability of one
of the Government's most powerful organizations.
The Chair of SIRC, the Honourable Gary Filmon, noted that, in recent
years, amidst significant changes in the security intelligence landscape,
SIRC's accountability function has taken on increasing importance. "In
response to the increasingly diffuse and complex threat environment, CSIS has
introduced significant adjustments to its intelligence collection methods and
priorities," he noted. "SIRC has worked diligently to understand and evaluate
these transformations," he added, "while providing assurances to Canadians
that CSIS continues to investigate new and evolving threats to national
security in a manner that respects Canada's core democratic values."
The eight reviews summarized in the Annual Report cover a range of CSIS
activities. These include an examination of CSIS's support for Canadian
operations abroad, as well as SIRC's review of CSIS's human source operations
outside Canada. SIRC also examined CSIS's Intelligence Assessments Branch to
enhance the Committee's understanding of the scope and effectiveness of this
important aspect of the Service's work.
SIRC is also responsible for investigating complaints against CSIS. In
2007-2008, SIRC dealt with 52 complaints. Not all complaints resulted in an
investigation: some were either redirected to another government institution,
deemed to be outside SIRC's jurisdiction or withdrawn by the complainant. SIRC
issued six written reports during the past year.
By examining past CSIS activities and investigating complaints, SIRC
makes findings and recommendations designed to improve the Service's
performance. To the best of its ability and within legal constraints, every
review undertaken and every complaint acted upon, is reflected in SIRC's
Annual Report to Parliament.
<a href="http://www.sirc-csars.gc.ca/nwsspr/bkgdci/rolres-eng.html">SIRC's Roles and Responsibilities</a>
For further information:
For further information: Susan Pollak, Executive Director, (613)