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Stories by Phil Gurski

What if Canada stopped preventing violent extremism or countering violent extremism: would it make a difference?

Opinion|By Phil Gurski
I want my government to be involved where it needs to be and not try to be all things to all people. Developing expensive programs for all but non-existent problems makes little sense to me.
We fool only ourselves when we try to say that terrorism is defeated. Yes, groups may surrender or be effectively downgraded to the extent where they are no longer very effective in what they are trying to do.
Opinion|By Phil Gurski
As a retired CSIS analyst, I am trying to do what I can to provide context. It’s nice to see a current government official do the same. More of this please.
Opinion|By Phil Gurski
We need all the candidates to address national security issues, like terrorism, in the campaign, but to do so in a sensible way. Canadians deserve a mature conversation on what is a real, albeit relatively small, threat.
Opinion|By Phil Gurski
CSIS would not interfere in foreign elections or create fake online personas to spread disinformation. I worked there for a decade-and-a-half and, I am pretty sure those are not activities CSIS has engaged in.
Opinion|By Phil Gurski
In the end, we have to decide as a society what is more important: universal privacy or universal safety. The two do not have to be mutually exclusive.
Opinion|By Phil Gurski
We will see more Canadians who think travelling to hook up with terrorist groups is a good idea. We must not allow that to happen as we cannot allow innocent lives to be lost to these extremists.
Opinion|By Phil Gurski
To say that campuses should act as sanctuaries for those who threaten public safety is a daft idea and one that I doubt will gain any traction in Canada. This mode of thinking has no place in our national security realm.
Author
Opinion|By Phil Gurski
CSIS can be our eyes and ears on what Canada’s economic and political rivals are, provided that it collects what it can within national borders.
Opinion|By Phil Gurski
A member has acted egregiously and put both the reputation and mandate of the body at risk. Spies and cops are already loath to talk about their work to outsiders and Tony Clement’s escapades could make them more loath.
Opinion|By Phil Gurski
As Canada struggles with the challenge of collecting enough evidence in a war zone to charge returnees and put them away, perhaps we can learn from our friends Down Under.
Opinion|By Phil Gurski
One of the drivers of terrorism is to terrorize. Our obsession with a truly fringe element of our society tells me that the terrorists are succeeding in their goals. Do we really want to cede victory to a tiny bunch of m
Opinion|By Phil Gurski
There is also no question that when it comes to international terrorism over the past two decades—and beyond—it is Saudi Arabia that is the problem, not Iran.
Opinion|By Phil Gurski
At the same time, by labelling every Uyghur a potential terrorist Xinjiang merely creates the conditions under which more terrorists are created. This does sound like a poor counterterrorism strategy, does it not?
Opinion|By Phil Gurski
The Islamist threat has far outweighed that of the right-wing threat by a long shot; at least in terms of public perception and impact. We are living, after all, in a world defined, in many ways, by 9/11.
Opinion|By Phil Gurski
Our society has to decide what the balance is between giving our security intelligence and law enforcement agencies the tools they need and safeguard the privacy and the immunity from eavesdropping we crave.
Opinion|By Phil Gurski
Increasingly, we are faced with the need to take action against violent material present on an increasingly diverse online environment. Not surprisingly, governments are having a hard time keeping up.
Opinion|By Phil Gurski
What was once termed the 'Global War on Terrorism' has morphed into the 'Long War,' a term that has been changed by some to the 'Eternal/Never-ending War.'
Opinion|By Phil Gurski
Seeing our counter-terrorism efforts through the lens of ‘war’ is misguided and counterproductive.
Opinion|By Phil Gurski
By engaging in discriminatory practices against an entire community for the sins of a tiny part, they force that majority to circle the wagons out of a sense of self protection.
Opinion|By Phil Gurski
Contrary to public wisdom, radicalization to violence is a Canadian problem: it does not appear on our shores via the immigration system.
Opinion|By Phil Gurski
The Communications Security Establishment is already working to prevent Russia and other states from interfering with the next election, but the CSIS Act gives the spy agency plenty of room to lend a hand.
Opinion|By Phil Gurski
Long waits in line are the price we must pay to avoid a disastrous attack.
Opinion|By Phil Gurski
Being a Canadian means being compassionate and doing the right thing. Allowing these Afghan interpreters to come here fits both bills.
Opinion|By Phil Gurski
Weird theories about shootings are both unhelpful and un-Canadian. Yes, we need to address the very real threat of terrorism in this country. It does occur but it does occur rarely. That is a fact.
Opinion|By Phil Gurski
Even though those who engage in violence do not fit any kind of demographic they all tend to engage in behaviour that should tell those closest to them something is amiss.
Opinion|By Phil Gurski
Is Alex Neve seriously of the opinion that Canada has no interest in vetting potential visitors who may in fact be terrorists and who may intend us harm? Really?
Opinion|By Phil Gurski
Ihsaan Gardee paints a picture of CSIS that seems to have it in for Canada’s Muslims and which has undermined attempts by those communities to 'establish robust partnerships.' He's wrong.
Opinion|By Phil Gurski
In the end, the terrorists were successful and the blame for this lies with CSIS, the RCMP, and others. Simply stated, we did not perform our duties well enough and many people died. There is no excuse for this.
Opinion|By Phil Gurski
In the wake of the next successful attack—and yes there will be one notwithstanding the efforts of CSIS—will Canadians be okay if one of the factors in the failure to prevent it was a lack of data? I don’t think so.
Opinion|By Phil Gurski
If there were to be a significant downturn in intelligence sharing, the impact on CSE and CSIS would be very different. 
Opinion|By Phil Gurski
All in all, it was a success story from the viewpoint of those charged with preventing bad things from happening.

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