OTTAWA—Why do we have intelligence agencies? Have you ever asked yourself that? The agencies, which work in this world, do so secretly for reasons I would hope we understand, if not totally accept. They gather information from human sources, some of whom are placed in very dangerous situations such as requiring them to infiltrate terrorist cells. Outing these brave people could get them killed. They also intercept communications, either domestically under a court-granted warrant—what we at CSIS call a “Section 21 warrant” and the RCMP calls a “Part VI” warrant—or without (what CSE does, provided the information it collects does not belong to Canadians). Disclosing how we collect data leads to data sources drying up: trust me, I saw this happen while at CSE. In sum, all this cannot be done openly, hence the insistence that “sources and methods” remain secret/classified.
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