The Liberal government has issued a new directive to restrict Canada’s electronic spy agency, the military and foreign ministry from using — or passing along — information that may have been derived from torture.
The only exception would be when the information is “absolutely necessary to prevent loss of life or significant personal injury” and that the person involved is “someone is about to commit a terrorist act.”
The directive is similar to one issued by Public Safety to the RCMP and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service earlier this year.
Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said in a statement that the decisions about how the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) and the military use, or do not use, the information will be subject to review by existing watchdogs, including the new national security committee of parliamentarians.
The directive covers both ends of the information pipeline.
The Canadian agencies cannot hand over information — or request it — from a foreign agency, such as a military, intelligence service, or police, when there is a serious risk of someone being abused.
There will also be a classified annual report produced.
Significantly, the directive requires the military to advise other government agencies and the defence minister immediately if another country “is engaging in, or contributing to, mistreatment.”
CSE had previous guidance
The new order covers information that is shared among the so-called Five Eyes intelligence agencies, whose other members are the U.S., Britain, Australia and New Zealand.
It is particularly relevant because the directive addresses one of the key features of the controversy over the alleged torture of Afghan detainees.
Human rights groups…