Foreigners Likely Tried to Influence Canada’s Election: Ex-CSIS Head

 

The former head of Canada’s spy agency says he would be “very surprised” if foreign countries hadn’t attempted to influence the outcome of Canada’s federal election, as he believes Russia tried to do to the U.S.

Richard Fadden, who directed CSIS from 2009 to 2013 and served as National Security Advisor to Stephen Harper and Justin Trudeau until last March, told CTV’s Question Period host Evan Solomon that although “he doesn’t know” it happened, he “would be very surprised if some attempt hadn’t been made, either through a cyberattack or through some other means.”

Had he learned of actionable information, Fadden said he would have called the RCMP.

Fadden said that he believes U.S. intelligence agencies’ assertions that Russia tried to influence November’s U.S. presidential race, because the agencies “would never say something like that unless they were virtually certain.”

Fadden expressed worry about the fact that U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has demonstrated an “extraordinarily negative understanding of the intelligence community,” adding: “He cannot function as president unless he develops a working relationship with (them).”

Fadden said he cannot understand why Trump has said he will not accept daily intelligence briefings. Harper and Trudeau were given daily intelligence reports and the U.S. faces “far greater threats” than Canada, according to Fadden.

Trump allegations ‘hard to believe’

The former spy chief also commented on an unconfirmed intelligence briefing that suggested Russians had collected compromising material on U.S. President-elect Donald Trump.

“I don’t agree with a lot of his policies but the man is not stupid,” Fadden said of Trump. “Anybody who goes to Russia who would subject themselves to that kind of compromise — I just find unbelievable.”

In light of the cyberattack on the U.S. election, Fadden said Canada should co-operate more with the private sector on information sharing and continue investing in cyber defences, even though it is expensive.

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