The head of Canada’s spy agency and other senior intelligence officials are set to testify today as the inquiry probing allegations of foreign election interference continues to wrestle with the question of how much sensitive information — if any — it can share with the public.
Commissioner Marie-Josée Hogue is investigating whether China, Russia, India and other nations interfered in the past two elections, and how information about foreign interference flowed within the federal government. The inquiry was announced after media reports accused Beijing of meddling in the 2019 and 2021 federal elections.
But before the inquiry can delve into questions about who knew what and when, it first needs to work out how it can discuss the issues in public while also protecting intelligence sources and methods.
Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) Director David Vigneault is set to appear before the inquiry this morning. He’s expected to be questioned about discussing secret intelligence in public.
On Wednesday, one of his predecessors, former CSIS chief Richard Fadden, said Canada should be more transparent about national security intelligence.
“Things are classified more than they need to be,” he said. “The culture, the workload and the tradition in agencies, I think, is to tend towards overprotection.”
The commission will also hear today from two other senior officials who handle intelligence: Alia Tayyeb, deputy chief of signals intelligence at the Communications Security Establishment, and Dan Rogers, the deputy national security and intelligence adviser based out of the Privy Council Office.
Hogue said at the outset of the hearings that she’s on a mission to uncover the truth and share as much as possible with Canadians.
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