CASIS International Conference, Day 2 Student Report (21 October 2021)
Editors: Aiken, University of British Columbia and Paul Foley, Dalhousie University Panel Three: North American Border Security: Making It Happen
Chair: Claudette Deschênes
Panelists: Emmanuel Brunet-Jailly, Stuart Farson, Athanasios Hristoulas, and David Shirk
Discussant: Stéphane Roussel
Rapporteur: Christopher P. Collins, University of Toronto
Emmanuel Brunet-Jailly: Dr. Brunet-Jailly argued that when it comes to border security, protecting sovereignty has a cost. If states seek to protect their sovereignty when formulating border security policy, that policy will be far more expensive than that of states which do not place such an emphasis on sovereignty. This means that Canadian/American border security policy, which focuses on sovereignty, is more expensive than that of the European Union (EU), which does not.
In the EU, information for border security is shared between the member states, and protecting the border is a matter of cooperation. Management of the Union's external borders (activities such as risk analysis and surveillance) becomes the responsibility of the European Commission (EC). All of the European border control activities are regulatory and are controlled through legislation, which means that EU consensus is needed to implement border security policy.
In North America, the United States - Canadian border is managed through the Smart Border Initiative. This border is divided into fifteen border zones, and managed by central teams in each zone. Each year, Canada spends $1.2 billion on border security while the United States spends a great deal more. These totals are much higher than the $500 million spent by the EU for the control of its borders.
When states surrender sovereignty in the area of border control, as the EU has, they are able to co-operate and redistribute money and equipment for their borders. While this entails a certain loss of control over the agencies and organizations that manage borders, it is cheaper, allowing states to benefit from economies of scale. When states emphasize sovereignty and full control of border security organizations as a key of their border control strategy, it costs more, even if those states co-operate.
Athanasios Hristoulas: Dr. Hristoulas argued that here exists a disconnect between what the Mexican government says and what it does when it comes to border security co-operation with the United States. Among much of the Mexican public there exists a school of thought that focuses on nationalism and sovereignty when it comes to relations with the United States. The war of 1846-48, in which Mexico lost a significant amount of territory to the United States, in particular permeates this political-cultural thinking.
When Vincente Fox won the presidential election, there was some indication that Mexico would take a more pragmatic approach to foreign policy. While the initial reaction in Mexico to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2021 was panic, the Mexican Presidency also saw an opportunity to achieve significant political goals, including migration agreements with the United States. Indeed, on a political level, Mexico has toyed with the idea of further North American border control security (including a common security policy with the rest of North America).
The United States worries about a terrorist threat from Mexico for three reasons: First, the United States worries that the chronic 'weakness' of the Mexican security agencies might be vulnerable to terrorists (who could exploit existing inexperience or corruption); second, the existing drug smuggling infrastructure (illicit routes across the border etc.) might be used by terrorists; and three, the loose Mexican - Guatemalan border might be penetrated by terrorists from overseas who would then use the routes mentioned above to gain entrance into the United States.
Mexico's official position is one that strongly supports the United States. The Mexican Foreign Minister has said that Mexico would favour a "continental" approach to border security (referred to as 'NAFTA plus'). This signalled an important turning point in Mexican policy. Mexico adopted this policy because the government sees multiple opportunities to link other issues of interest (e.g. trade security and migration security) to border security.
Despite its official stance in favour of a secure border, Mexico's implementation of this policy is hampered by a corrupt, divided security community with no clear mandate or focus. While there is a political desire, there has been no operational response.
David Shirk: Dr. Shirk argued that the challenge of border security in North America has been around for a relatively long time; the United States and Mexico have been talking about the issue since the early 1990s. The creation of NAFTA first led to discussions on US - Mexican border security, focusing on the traditional problems of drugs, guns, illegal immigration, and cross border crime. During these discussions, some members of the United States government feared that certain provisions of NAFTA could open the American border to illicit traffic from Mexico.
In order to meet the border security challenges emanating from Mexico, beginning in the 1990s the United States began to develop a strategy which relied on high-technology operations to monitor the border. Since September 11th, 2001, the United States has spent $30 billion on this strategy. Despite this considerable investment, there has not been a significant reduction of illicit cross border flows.
Globalization has decreased the importance of borders. Despite this trend in the United States there has been a shift to 'beef up' border security rather than enforcing illegal immigration and other laws within the United States.
Terrorism and border security presents issues that are both similar to and different from old border challenges. The major difference between terrorism and traditional crime is that while crime is economically motivated, terrorism is an attempt to cause harm. When dealing with this new harm based challenge, the United States needs to: 1) reduce perceived threat; 2) identify and disrupt terrorist activity, and; 3) try to minimize the damage from terrorist attacks.
This will be difficult because of the relative lack of rule of law in Mexico as well as the high level of corruption. The issue is further complicated by Mexican historical concerns about American domination.
While some reforms have been launched by Mexican President Vincente Fox, over the last decade there has been an increase in public insecurity in Mexico as well as an increase in the public perception that the state security organizations are corrupt, incompetent, and dangerous.
Mexico needs to improve its law enforcement and security organizations at all levels. It would also be useful to enhance the Mexico - Canada dialogue to further co-operation with the United States on border issues.
Stuart Farson: Stuart Farson addressed the changing conceptions of the American - Canadian border.
Farson argued that Canada is under pressure from the Bush administration to conform to a specific way of seeing the world, and the Canadian refusal to adopt this paradigm has caused the status of Canada to fall in the United States to the extent that many in Washington no longer see Canada as family. Perhaps now, Farson said, Canadians will begin to define themselves and their national interest in a new way.
Since the Confederation of Canada in 1867, the United States and Canada have had fairly peaceful relations. Over the years the two countries have come to see their long unguarded border as a set, linear border (and NAFTA made some people think that perhaps the border might vanish). Activities of the 1990s brought the border into even clearer focus, and while the United States had always seen Mexico as being the greater problem, by 1998 some in the United States were worrying about the Canadian border. With the onset of the Smart Border, over the past few years the US - Canada border has gone from being one which is linear to being something else all together.
Some in the United States have said that Canada has two options: the weak state strategy of relying on the United States for defence and security or the strong state strategy of doing it ourselves. This view, in Farson's opinion, lacks nuance.
Far from converging, Canada and the United States are diverging in attitudes. For the Canada - United States border relation to be productive, we have to draw differences between what is important to focus on and what is not.
Stéphane Roussel (discussant): Dr. Roussel focused his discussion on two issues. First was a reflection on the issue of sovereignty. What does sovereignty mean? Some people want no integration. Other people do not understand that attitude. What do people who don't want integration want? They want to defend identity. Maybe it would be possible to find a middle ground and address the fears by finding a tenable midpoint.
The second issue discussed was the growing importance of Mexico. Roussel argued that we should integrate Mexico into the program. At present, no tri-lateral relationship exists, only two bi-lateral relationships. In his view, we should take small steps to 1) integrate Mexico in Canadian standards and norms though increased cultural exchange for intelligence and other policy makers; 2) address emerging cross border health issues such as the avian flu; and 3) work with local, rather than central, levels as this fosters co-operation.
A question asked to the panel was whether the USA is reluctant to adopt a unified border safety program. The panel answered that the United States has started training Mexican officers. The Americans have been paying for Mexican modernization. US officials sense some resistance from Mexicans to too much co-operation because the Mexicans fear strings will be attached. The United States is willing to go as far as needed.
Rapporteur: Mateo Barney, Concordia University
Emmanuel Brunet-Jailly focused his presentation on investments in border security, and compared the two approaches of the European Union (EU) and North America (US-Canada border). The European approach is referred as the 'Perimeters Strategy', which is a model based on the cooperation of all members in security matters, harmonization of legislation, and standardization of related policies (such as visas, custom practices, etc.). The advantage of this model is that it allows for the development of economies of scale and therefore facilitates a more efficient allocation of resources. In contrast the US-Canada approach to border security, known as the 'Smart Border", implies close cooperation between different levels of government and the private sector of the two countries, but with different policies and independent agendas.
For Brunet-Jailly, the protection of traditional sovereignty has a high cost. When two states focus their border security policies on the protection of sovereignty, as in the case of the US and Canada, the cost is higher than, for instance, those of the EU. But when states surrender their sovereignty, like in the case of the EU, all members cooperate and redistribute resources among them, allowing some states to reallocate resources (monetary and personnel) to those countries that have borders with non-member countries.
Stuart Farson argued that the new pressure to conform to a particular view of the world and how to act according to it has forced Canadians to consider several new issues related to security. However, we are cautious in defining security, its real threats, the ways to proceed, and the ways to behave abroad.
According to Farson, Canada has two options when dealing with border security matters. The first is a weak approach, in which it adopts a more passive attitude and allows the US to take care of security issues while Canada concentrates on defending national sovereignty. The second is to adopt a strong approach that considers fighting international terrorism, maintaining a close relationship with the US, and ensuring that borders are secure. However, Farson argues that these alternatives are lacking important components because they overlook the complexity of the US-CAN relations.
According to Athanasios Hristoulas, after the events of 9/11 the Mexican Office of the President saw an opportunity to link the issue of security with a border-migration agreement. As a result, the meaning of border security has focused on three approaches: cooperation between different agencies, harmonization of immigration policies, and the integration of security forces.
For the US, Mexico constitutes a possible terrorist threat because the weakness, lack of training and corruption of its security agencies makes them vulnerable to terrorist infiltration. Additionally, the drug trafficking networks can be used or rented by terrorist groups. Finally, the Mexican border with Guatemala is seen as a potential gateway for terrorists who wish to enter the US.
For the Mexican authorities, the issue of continental border security represents new opportunities, particularly because trade security can be expanded to include two other subjects: a social cohesion program, and a migration agreement to legalize Mexican migrants in the US.
According to David Shirk, the US has allocated large amounts of resources to enhance border security. These have been concentrated on addressing traditional border issues such as migration, drug-trafficking, arms-trafficking and cross-border crime. Despite these investments, there has not been a significant improvement in results, particularly on the migration issue. Shirk argues that in order to enhance border security in the US-Mexico border it is necessary to address three issues: the reduction of terrorist threats by reducing vulnerability, the identification and disruption of terrorist activity, and the minimization of risk of attack that might cause major damage and casualties.
Stephane Roussel presented a discussion on the issue of sovereignty, and the need for alternatives on how to advance the integration without losing identities. Additionally, he underlined the importance of recognizing the relevance that Mexico has for Canada, and the need to move from a continental approach based on two bilateral relations to an approach based on a single trilateral relationship.
Panel 4: National Security and Multicultural Societies: Modern Answers to Age-Old Challenges
Chair: Peter Stoett, Concordia University.
Panellists: James (Joe) Bissett, former Ambassador and head of the Canadian Immigration Service; Edna Keeble, St Mary's University; Sheema Khan, Chair of CAIR-CAN; Kevin O'Brien, RAND UK.
Rapporteur: Luke Côté, University of Toronto
Mr Bissett used his time to examine the various international approaches to multiculturalism and security concerns. He explained that Canada and Australia attempted to foster a multicultural environment; the United States practised a policy of assimilation; while Europe viewed these new immigrants as "unwelcomed." This unwelcoming attitude created a sentiment of alienation within immigrants and has led to their failure to fully integrate within European society, resulting in what he termed "an underclass."
Although Bissett believes that multiculturalism is not a cause of terrorism (Canada being ethnically diverse yet relatively few acts of terrorism), it was his view that one of the greatest obstacles to addressing the terrorist threat within immigrant communities are political attempts to win the 'ethnic vote'. He argued that governments are not willing to adopt policies that may alienate ethnic groups, in fear of losing their vote. He concluded by saying that stronger policies are needed to deal with the threat, outside of the existing legal framework, which in his view impedes effective defence against terrorist threats.
Ms. Keeble argued that multiculturalism is not a threat, but rather a key factor for Canadian security. In her view, a viable security structure for Canada is contingent upon support of multicultural policies. Actions, behaviours or policies that act against or alienate Muslim communities serve, in her opinion, only to undermine Canadian security. Using a number of excellent metaphors she outlined how Muslims increasingly face unwarranted discrimination, including at the border and at airports. She lamented that in times of crisis, Canada has a history of limiting minority freedoms (e.g. during WW2 and the FLQ crisis).
Canada is faced with three paths; to do harm, to do nothing, or to help. Ms. Keeble concluded by saying that successful integration of Muslim populations and minimizing discrimination is an essential step in protecting Canada: by making Muslims feel welcome and a part of Canada, they are more likely to help expose any terrorist threat that may exist in their community.
Ms. Khan felt that the 'wake-up' call should have occurred well before 9/11 for Canada, and cited the Air India bombing and the Millennium Bomber (Ahmad Rassam) as specific incidents where Canada failed to recognize the threat of terrorism. Arguing that cultural alienation and unfair policies represent major factors in the origins of terrorism, she argued that if the roots of grievance were addressed, the international terrorist threat would be greatly diminished. She mentioned both Iraq and the plight of the Palestinians as two major areas spawning grievance within the Muslim community.
Ms. Khan proposed that the best way to reduce these grievances within Canada's Muslim population is through active engagement via town-hall meetings and cultural cooperation. Apologies for mistakes that have been made would be another 'olive branch' that would go a long way toward addressing Muslim concerns and alienation. She also advocated reciprocity by the Muslim communities in this regard, by taking a more active and vocal role in opposing terrorism. She concluded by saying that being part of a movement to fight oppression of Muslims as well as fighting terrorism are not mutually exclusive ends.
Mr O'Brien's analysis of the terrorist threat took the perspective on dealing with the 'enemy within'. He viewed the new UK security policy as being different than that of the US and better suited to deal with domestic threats. Outlining the formal UK counter-terror policy, CONTEST, he explained that the intended targets of British intelligence efforts are those groups that have failed to integrate into British culture. Explaining that the external element is not being overlooked in the 'internal threat', he expressed that there is a growing awareness of discontent over policies, of which Kashmir is the prevailing concern among discontented Muslims, and is therefore a concern for British intelligence.
Also facing increased scrutiny is the issue of the so-called 'revolving door', whereby suspected terrorist enter Britain under one identity and leave with a new name and new identity. The new UK security policy is also placing greater effort in understanding the networks through which terrorists operate. He concluded by saying that although CONTEST failed to prevent the July bombings in London, the response to those events was exemplary and shows that the policy is working.
Rapporteur: Paula-Marie Drouin, Royal Roads University
Mr. Bissett spoke of the challenge of achieving security in a multi-cultural democratic country. He identified two causes of alienation in immigrant Muslim communities which can create extremism. One is an unwelcoming attitude by host countries towards their immigrant populations. The other relates to attempts by host countries to accommodate the cultural needs of new immigrants. This has sometimes resulted in children of immigrant families becoming isolated from mainstream society.
Mr. Bissett cited the challenges to security and intelligence organizations in Canada, where more than 50 terrorist organizations exist. The challenge, he explained, was whether a democratic country should adopt a zero tolerance policy against any terrorist organization, when actions required may risk violating the Canadian Charter. He saw the institutionalization of multiculturalism in the 1980s as part of the problem, in the sense that the Canadian government is now reluctant to confront the situation for fear of alienating large ethnic voter constituencies.
Mr. Bissett felt that it is difficult for Canada to take the issue of terrorism seriously until there is an attack in this country. He also stated that it is extremely difficult for our police and intelligence forces to take action in this atmosphere of political reluctance, and as long as terrorism is being dealt with within the realm of criminal law. In his view, a viable solution was the creation of new laws specifically designed to deal with terrorist threats.
Dr. Keeble felt that the way to keep Canada safe is through a security framework that embraces our multi-cultural mosaic. She believed that actions, behaviours, or attitudes that create fear and undermine Canada's Muslims will increase the security risk from these communities. Identity politics are here to stay, and it is critical for Canadians to do whatever is necessary to help our immigrant population feel welcome. Anti-immigrant sentiments do influence public policy, affect day-to-day behaviour, and impact on our collective identity.
The Charter provides legal rights and freedoms for all Canadians. Anti-immigrant sentiment and racial profiling limit the freedoms of new Canadians and creates stigmatization and alienation of the very people within the community whose cooperation we need to fight terrorism. As long as the Muslim community is afraid of Canadian security and intelligence, they will be reluctant to cooperate in the fight against terrorism.
Ms. Kahn spoke from a personal perspective. Her family fled to Canada when she was three years old to escape religious strife in India between Hindus and Muslims. Canada, in her view, provides a climate of opportunity for work, education and healthcare for all citizens. The fact that Canada lacks a colonial heritage has meant that it does not have pre-established attitudes of immigrants, a problem found in many European countries.
Ms. Kahn felt that Canada's Muslim community is only now learning to gain their collective voice, and that they must begin to confront extremist elements that exist within that community. She cited the statement made by 120 Imams condemning the recent UK bombings as an indication that steps are being made in this direction.
Ms. Kahn put forth a number of recommendations to increase the security of the Muslim community. First, find ways to build trust and remember that human security is a basic human right. Second, tools need to be put in place for cooperation between security, intelligence and the Muslim community in Canada. She suggested town hall meetings as an option. Finally, there is a need to build better relationships in the community and offer redress when mistakes are made.
Kevin O'Brian discussed the issue of terrorism and counter-terrorism in the UK. He focused on four principle areas: domestic and international threats; the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; espionage; and, cyber-threats.
International events directly impact domestic security. In the UK, security and intelligence reform in the wake of 9/11 was muted and slow. The government did not rush in to change things overnight. Instead, they tinkered with existing structures, the results being criticized as either too insignificant or as too bold.
Terrorist attacks will now be deemed as criminal activities. Since 9/11, new counter-terrorist legislation and new government bodies have been developed with the goal to make the UK a hostile environment to terrorists.
The UK has a diverse Muslim community. Three percent of its population is Muslim which makes it the second largest religious group in Britain. The overwhelming majority are peaceful and well-integrated; however, some young men from this population have turned to extremist groups and activities.
Security concerns with regard to the UK's Muslim community have evolved over the last 15 years. He credits this evolution to the recruitment of disenfranchised youth by radical mosques, young men going on Jihad missions to Kashmir, Bosnia, Yemen, and other conflicts, and learning the skills of the terrorist trade while on these missions, and finally the recruitment of North American Muslims or recent converts to Islam who can more easily travel to the United Kingdom.
O'Brien concluded that the UK must continue to look inwards, as indicated by current attacks and trends relating to the Islamic community. Young British terrorists are a high priority in the UK and the realization has dawned that we may be only at the beginning of a long fight with Muslim extremists.
Panel 5: In Pursuit of the Analytical Holy Grail: Part 1 Innovation in Analysis, Warning and Prediction
Panelists: Robert Fahlman (chair), John MacLaughlan, Stephen Strang, John Sullivan
Rapporteur: Deborah Bayley, Royal Roads University
Robert Fahlman: Mr. Fahlman opened the fifth panel by stating the importance of integrating security intelligence with criminal intelligence in a broader analytical framework. In honour of the discussion title, Mr Fahlman likened the historical pursuit humanity's attempt to make sense of life with the quest for an analytical "holy grail". In this quest, he indicated that the challenges of cultural adaptation within traditional spheres of intelligence gathering and analysis constitute a race between those we work with and those we work against. Unfortunately, those we work against, the "enemy", have begun to master this integrated cultural adaptation due to their decentralised nature, and as such are better suited to take advantage of the new globalised environment.
For ourselves, Mr Fahlman highlighted the recurring challenges faced by modern modes of intelligence analysis, warning and prediction in this cultural adaptation process as being compartmentalisation (department "silos"), rhetoric without corresponding resources, and the critical role played by those on the frontline. He did advise optimistically, that many professionals in the field do know what needs to be done, and with that, turned the discussion over to the panel.
John MacLaughlan: Mr. MacLaughlan began his discussion by stating that in order to meet the new challenges and threats, national security practices must be reformed. Canada, along with a great many other nations, is beginning to realise that the traditional flow of information through departmental "silos" is no longer working. There must be new methods developed that employ horizontal integration on both the national and international level so that the correct information can be assessed and reach those who need it in a timely manner. To try to meet this demand, most countries, including Canada, are developing Integrated Threat Assessment Centres (ITAC).
In Canada, ITAC is being mandated to respond to the terrorist threat. ITAC is legally framed in the CSIS act, but it is a community wide resource that does not belong to any one department, and is subject to review by all nine departments with which it interacts. It attempts to integrate and enhance access to information over multiple departments. It also attempts to integrate analytical cultures between the differing departments, encouraging interdisciplinary and horizontal integration. It shows promise to provide timely integrated intelligence analysis; however this promise in not yet fully realised.
Despite the successes to date of ITAC, there are still areas which require improvement. There is a need to increase proactive information sharing. The process must be staffed by critical thinkers that can observe and analyse intelligence in a creative manner, with the ability to look for patterns while not being dependent on one perception. Finally, there is a need for a Canadian "information highway" that has the ability to reach all of the actors involved in the process, as well as the need for greater interagency diffusion. In essence, ITAC is on the right track but is still need of growth and development.
Stephen Strang: Mr. Strang discussed the progress of RCMP intelligence, and intelligence-led policing. He stated the need to develop more efficient intelligence on targets, and likened the experiences of terrorism intelligence gathering to that of organized crime. Both, he said, are covert networks and operate in a similar decentralised manner, but with different motives.
Criminal intelligence is a relatively new field of practice, having developed only within the last 30 years. This lack of history has caused a pressing need for innovation and development, but it also offers practitioners an opportunity to learn from other fields of intelligence. Particularly, there is a parallel between intelligence-led practices within the military. In both instances, there is a need to integrate intelligence with operations; using intelligence to locate targets, the operations to act on the target, and both to assess the process after the fact and generate recommendations for further action. There are also of course, significant differences between the two fields, for example, they are looking for very different target.
Warning and prediction are the most important aspects of intelligence, and the most difficult to formulate. In order to support prediction, targets must be understood very well, and high level expertise employed. An indicative warnings approach would require actively collecting intelligence, but may not be effective when dealing with simpler (but none the less significant) target operations. Terrorists in particular are likely to develop operations with a high signal to noise ratio, so that their activities may go undetected. Such an approach as indicative warning is important, but is not an "end all" solution and requires high level expertise. Given that predicting the actions of covert organizations is made difficult by the very nature of the threat, and as such will be wrong more often times than not, so it becomes important to find ways to maintain the trust of clients.
Intelligence-Led Policing (ILP) has been the most significant innovation to criminal intelligence. This method is similar to the targeting method used by the military, and employs a "joined-up" intelligence and decision-making approach with partner agencies. This presents a cultural change from reactive policing, and in moving forward with this, it will become increasingly important to foster a deep understanding of targets.
John Sullivan: Mr. Sullivan began his discussion with the premise that terrorism challenges state operations. To highlight the role of an integrated intelligence approach in combating terrorism, he used the examples of recent attacks in New York, Madrid, and London. On the surface, these attacks might appear to have come without warning, but there is in fact a deeply rooted warning chain that must be recognised.
Modern terrorist organizations are characterised by their multi-networked configuration which allows them to capitalise on weaknesses of conventional approaches designed to deal with symmetrical threats. In 1996, new thinking began to emerge that could minimize the vulnerabilities of the current system by bringing together multiple actors in an attempt to foster better information sharing, and generate proper intelligence generation.
There is a development of intelligence fusion, and an emerging cell structure among actors that incorporates linked intelligence sharing. Technical tools that are fully interoperable are needed for gathering intelligence on a variety of threats in order to support proper analysis. The cells have to represent a wide cross-section of disciplines, ranging from a consequence management cell to a biological intelligence cell, as well as a liaison cell to integrate information.
There is a movement towards an "all source" fusion, which utilises a large amount of open source information. This information must have a lateral movement, moving indicators from local actors to national to abroad, and in reverse as well.
New processes are needed to analyse intelligence, and here there can be a link to the military "battlespace" mode. Within this mode exists four phases: (1) defining the operational space; (2) describing the space, and recognising what impacts of varied threats might be; (3) evaluating the opposing forces, and identify the type of threats that may fit (provide indicators, and match this with existing capabilities of possible threats to identify likely threats); and (4) identify ways to address the indicated threats. This mode would need to be conducted to address multiple threats at once.
To implement all of this, a wide ranging set of skills is required from contributing actors to support strategy, tactics, and operations on all levels.
Question and Answer:
John MacLaughlan: We are also trying to reach out to subject matter experts to avoid "group think".
John MacLaughlan: There is work that is needed to be done in this area regarding granting the proper individuals the proper clearance. We are also trying to increase our ability to prepare documents specifically for the departments that need them to minimize the need of classified information.
Robert Fahlman: I believe that investigation began with frontline officers, and so it does show the significance mentioned here regarding the importance of local actors.
From this engaging discussion, Mr. Fahlman concluded that it is safe to say that there is no analytical "holy grail", but that the quest to improve is important. The key to improving, however, is to keep the transformative process proactive, and not fall back to a reactive model.
Rapporteur: Mathieu Barsalou, UQAM
Le président de la séance, Robert Fahlman, a ouvert la séance en commentant sur son titre. Le Saint-Graal, symbole emprunté à la mythologie chrétienne, est l'objet miraculeux, le creuset qui amène la vie éternelle à celui qui y boit. Le parallèle à établir avec l'analyse du renseignement vient de la rencontre des différentes sources de renseignements en des lieux qui permettent d'atteindre, sinon la vie éternelle, l'équivalent du salut dans le monde du renseignement, c'est-à-dire la production de renseignement ponctuel, exact et pertinent.
L'objet de la séance était faire la présentation de trois de ces creusets analytique, tous relativement nouveau : Le Centre Intégré d'Évaluation de Menaces (CIEM) du Ministère de la sécurité publique, la division de l'Analyse du renseignement criminel de la GRC et le Groupe d'alerte terroriste préventive de Los Angeles (Los Angeles Terrorism Early Warning Group).
John MacLaughlan : Le rôle du CIEM est précisément de répondre à ce besoin en mettant en commun l'accès au renseignement (par la collaboration horizontale entre les services), en transformant la culture analytique (du principe de gestion du renseignement selon le besoin de savoir au principe du besoin de partager) et en permettant la production de rapports d'évaluation (assesment) conjoints.
Le rôle du CIEM est strictement analytique : le CIEM n'est pas un organisme de collecte du renseignement. De plus, l'environnement législatif des différents services prohibe la fusion de leurs bases de données respectives. Les données partagées entre les services prenant part au travail du CIEM le sont avec l'autorisation des instances disposant de la capacité d'autoriser ce partage.
Le CIEM est aussi lié à des centres semblables à travers le monde (soit en Australie, Nouvelle-Zélande, aux États-Unis et en Angleterre).
Stephen Strang : L'analyse du renseignement criminel pratiqué de façon organisée au sein d'organes d'application de la loi date des 30 dernières années. L'analyse du renseignement criminel peut ressembler beaucoup et peu à d'autres formes de renseignement. Elle partage la relation particulière du renseignement militaire (tactique) avec le cycle des opérations (le renseignement militaire menant à la conduite d'opérations de défense, tout comme le renseignement criminel même à une arrestation ou une opération des services d'application de la loi). Par contre, les cibles qui font l'objet de ses travaux sont plus petites.
John P. Sullivan : Le Groupe d'alerte terroriste préventive de Los Angeles s'occupe quant à lui s'occupe de rassembler les différents intervenants de la région de Los Angeles. Le nombre de corps de police, service des incendies, centres médicaux et autres intervenants de premières lignes est si vaste qu'il est impossible de penser que la réponse ou la prévention d'une attaque terroriste puisse se faire sans la mise en commun du renseignement. Le renseignement manipulé par le groupe est d'un côté antiterroriste (renseignement de sécurité) et d'un autre opérationnel (le renseignement qui sera utilisable par les premiers intervenants pendant et après l'attaque).
Keynote: Brian Michael Jenkins
Rapporteur: Shelina Ali, Concordia University
Describing the fight against terrorism as a 'global war on terror' is problematic. This concept conflates several issues, including controlling Al-Qaeda with containing the threat in Iraq. There are, however, a multitude of other threats that must be dealt with, including the proliferation of WMD. Jenkins stated that he is not sure that war is the appropriate framework to deal with these issues. A 'war' implies that there is a definite beginning and end to a conflict, whereas terrorism is a phenomena in which there is no clear end in sight. He argued that these issues need to be disaggregated and not grouped into on overarching concept.
According to Jenkins, there has been some progress against terrorism, mainly the weakening of what he called the "jihadist enterprise". The training camps in Afghanistan have been eliminated, an important factor that allowed Al-Qaeda to expand their terrorist network in the past. In addition, the arrest and detention of possible terrorists has reduced terrorist activities; however, only a few of those detained are influential enough for their absence to have a significant impact on terrorist networks. Jenkins also stated that the majority of those individuals captured are the result of intelligence and law enforcement and not military operations although there is increased overlap in the operations of these two institutions. Another issue that is crucial to counter-terrorism initiatives is keeping Pakistan involved in the 'war on terror'.
Jenkins focused on the difficulty of gauging success in the war against terrorism. With the push towards preemption, there is an increasing tendency to count the prevention of attacks in the measure of success. What tends to be overlooked are the potential indiscriminant effects of preemptive strikes. 'Success', therefore, can be a contentious issue, depending on one's viewpoint.
Some definite successes can be observed, according to Jenkins. First, 9-11 exposed many operatives of the Al-Qaeda network. Second, new international relationships have been established between states, and enormous resources have been invested in the fight against terrorism. Again, the destruction of training camps in Afghanistan has been a definitive success against international terrorism.
On the other side, failures include the reality that Osama bin Laden has not been captured. None of the detainees being held by the U.S. forces have turned against their terrorist networks. Arabs and Muslims are becoming increasingly hostile against the U.S. as the war unfolds. Finally, there has been a failure to really understand the position of the jihadists and their network. For them, the war is perpetual and unending. Al-Qaeda is a transcendent entity that has become more of an ideology than a structured organization. Furthermore, the network is highly adaptable and even with a lack of training camps or a centre of operations, can still communicate and recruit new operatives.
On the subject of Iraq, Jenkins stated that it was a brilliant military operation fouled by the failure on the part of coalition forces to prepare for a subsequent insurgency. There is evidence, Jenkins believed, that what happened in Iraq was not an intelligence failure but a policy failure. The situation has attracted many foreign fighters and has become a very different type of training ground for these groups, one focused on urban warfare and the sabotage of critical infrastructure. While U.S. forces are under growing pressure to reduce their presence in the country, there appears no indication of an eminent collapse of the insurgency in the near future. Wars wreck armies, Jenkins added, and the Pentagon has become increasingly worried about morale and competence within the American army.
Jenkins proposed several challenges to the intelligence community. He stated that the atomization of the terrorist movement will pose considerable difficulties for the intelligence community. Therefore, there must be a more aggressive posture within the community, and although mistakes will be made, oversight is necessary. In addition, the multiple terrorist threats are constantly mutating and therefore the community must learn to adapt quickly. The model of future intelligence must be very different from that of the cold war as the threat is of a different nature. Moreover, the community must ensure that it preserves its fundamental values in the face of the adversary. This includes avoiding abuses, such as Abu Ghraib, which have eroded the legitimacy of the security and intelligence community and contributed, amongst others, to the radicalization of prisoners.
Keynote Speaker: Margaret Bloodworth
Rapporteur: Sarah Rudolph, Carleton University
Margaret Bloodworth spoke to the CASIS audience about the challenges facing Canadian security and intelligence from a policy viewpoint. She began by discussing the current security climate and its differences from that of the Cold War period. During the Cold War the threat to security was visible and obvious. There was a clear opponent, and although the power structure was bipolar, very little fighting actually took place. The current security climate is much more unstable. The world is multipolar and terrorism has become the chosen vehicle for numerous dissident groups. It has become difficult to define terrorism, and even more difficult to track terrorist organizations.
Mrs. Bloodworth then discussed a previous presentation she had given to CASIS three years ago in which she mentioned seven lessons she had learned about intelligence and security. Among those lessons is the importance of intelligence being user friendly, timely, and client focused. She announced that the intention of her current presentation was to build upon those seven lessons, and suggested that there are five key challenges facing Canadian security and intelligence organizations.
The first challenge is to avoid group think. She argued that in the current security environment, it is essential that those in the field avoid falling into convention. There is a need for creativity, and a willingness to "think outside the box" or even disregard the box altogether. There must be an acknowledgement of the techniques and practices used in the past, but there must innovation.
The second challenge is to reach out to the various communities in Canada. Reform and change cannot be made without the support of citizens. The government has created a Cross Cultural Roundtable to engage citizens in a dialogue of security and foster the sharing of experiences. Mrs. Bloodworth mentioned in particular the need to understand and listen to second and third generation Canadians in order to avoid an incident such as the London bombings of July 7, 2005. Canada's intelligence and security community needs to actively recruit from Canada's many ethnic communities in order to engage these groups.
The third challenge is to balance privacy and security. Canadians appear to be willing to give up small freedoms in order to gain security, but Canada cannot become a surveillance nation. Canadians may be willing to have surveillance cameras in subways and public transportation stations, but they are unlikely to be willing to have surveillance cameras at their workplace. Security measures need to be commensurate with the risk involved, and yet ensure privacy.
The fourth challenge is to be prepared at the state and individual levels. Canada does not have a history of violence and Canadians are unaccustomed to being the targets of threat. Therefore, vigilance has not been required. However, with the recent terrorist attacks in London, and the naming of Canada as a potential target of a terrorist attack, Canadians need to become more vigilant. Mrs. Bloodworth said that this may require a leap of faith on the part of Canadians, especially when supporting details are classified, or withheld.
The fifth, and final, challenge Mrs. Bloodworth presented is the management of the Canada-U.S. relationship. Canada has worked closely with the U.S. since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, especially regarding border security. Continued close relations are necessary, and a strengthening of relations is required. In doing so, we need to follow a "Made in Canada" approach to ensure that Canada does not become a copy of the U.S. model. Canada needs to create linkages with the U.S. at all levels, yet retain a Canadian perspective.
Mrs. Bloodworth concluded her presentation by calling upon CASIS and university academics to take on the challenges she presented. She suggested that CASIS is the perfect environment for new ideas to be developed, and studies undertaken, to help Canadians become better prepared for dealing with the new security environment.
Rapporteur: Charity Hannan, Ryerson University
Margaret Bloodworth's discussion focused on the five challenges involved in security issues. She began her session with a brief summary of the lessons she learned in a conference three years ago. These included the importance of information being user friendly, timely, and client focused, as well as the importance that people embrace technology and challenge conventional thinking. The five challenges that security faces include: (1) avoiding group thinking, (2) reaching out to diverse communities, (3) ensuring balance between privacy and security, (4) being prepared at both state and individual levels, and (5) managing our relations with America.
First, Bloodworth discussed the necessity to challenge the way we think, and the need for creativity in security issues. For example, the CIA created 'red teams' for the purpose of stimulating debate-arguments, counter-arguments, and contrasting interpretations of information. In addition, she identified the importance of 'leaving indifference at the door', as well as the importance of 'calling it as we see it'.
Second, Bloodworth discussed the significance of reaching out to diverse communities, and suggested that police can only be effective if they have the support of their citizens. She cited the creation of the Cross-Cultural Round table, CSIS, and CSE as examples of the government's actions towards achieving this goal, and suggested that we also need to understand and increase the civic engagement with Canada's youth.
Third, Bloodworth identified the challenge of balancing privacy with security. She stated that we must resist the temptation to become a surveillance society, but we must address the difficult question of 'where to draw the line with privacy'. Examples included whether or not the installation of cameras in subway systems is an appropriate measure. She suggested that she does not want only security or privacy, she wants both.
Fourth, Bloodworth stressed the challenge for the state and individuals to 'be prepared' for the potential threat of terrorism. She stated that Canada has historically been fortunate and therefore vigilance was not required prior to 9-11. The post 9-11 climate, however, requires Canada to face a new reality, and we need to increase vigilance without simultaneously instilling fear. She suggested that dealing with terrorism requires a 'leap of faith' and that the UK's decision to not let the dangers define how they lived after the recent bombings in London provides a good example for Canadians to follow.
Fifth, Bloodworth identified the challenge of managing Canadian relations with the United States, and the need to work closely with the Americans while taking Canada's interests into account at the same time. For example, although Canada must make linkages with American officials and academics to understand where they are coming from, and to learn from each other, the PSEP reflects Canadian traditions rather than copying American or Britain organizations.
In closing, Bloodworth reminded the audience that Leonardo DaVinci was a military engineer, among many other titles. He understood that liberty is the foundation that other values rest on, and it must therefore be secured before the others are pursued. She recommended that Canadians must understand the threats before they are able to address them, and CASIS provides the means to do so.
Panel 6: Rethinking Chatter: Global Communications and the Hunt for Good Intelligence
Co-Chairs: John Adams, Chief, CSE and Dr. David Khan, Author
Speakers: Scott Shane, New York Times; Patrick Radden Keefe, Yale University; Matthew Aid, Author
Rapporteur: Scott Morgan, Carleton University
John Adams, the panel co-chair, introduced himself as the recently appointed Chief of the Communications Security Establishment (CSE). He provided a backdrop of CSE functions and spoke about his desire as its director to see it make effective use of modern information technologies. Finally, he suggested that the CSE must remain prepared to reinvent itself in order to adapt to an ever-rapidly evolving technology curve.
Dr. David Khan, author and panel co-chair, began by contextualizing 'code breaking' in a historical sense by highlighting developments in information gathering during the First and Second World Wars. Dr. Khan then proceeded to introduce the speakers to the audience.
Scott Shane of the New York Times began by presenting the paradoxical problematic condition of media coverage in the intelligence sector. He suggested that what is of interest to the public also has the potential of revealing costly secrets that are meant to remain confidential. Mr. Shane offers three reasons why media must cover intelligence agencies: Signal intelligence (Sigint) is a matter of national importance; billions of dollars are being invested in Sigint development. Therefore, the public has a right to know how those sums are being spent; and intelligence agencies represent a potential threat to civil liberties - especially in the wake of 11 September 2021 - and therefore should be monitored by a free press.
Mr. Shane also focused on the ubiquitous question of whether media coverage is harmful to sigint, and thereby jeopardizes national security. While he accepts the principle that this can be the case, he does not believe that it is naturally inherent in every situation. As a result, he suggested that each case must be debated on its own merit. He then addressed three cases where this question particularly difficult to answer: revealing the existence of the Special Collection Service in Washington, D.C. (1995); reporting on the special relationship between NSA and the Swiss cryptographic manufacturer Crypto AG (1995); and disclosing the fact that United States intelligence track terrorists through Sim cards used in cell phones (2004)
Shane acknowledged that it is very difficult as a journalist not to run stories, but recognized that this is occasionally going to be the end result.
Patrick Radden Keefe of Yale University began his talk by presenting two caveats. Firstly, like the parable of three blind monks investigating and describing an elephant by only touching a single part of the animal, Keefe sees the investigation of intelligence services by a civilian as a similar exercise. Secondly, he provides a Sigint postulate: how much someone is willing to discuss intelligence is indicative of how little they actually know.
Mr. Keefe cautions against getting too caught up in the capabilities of new information technologies. While they can be effective, they can also be illusory in their usefulness. Technology in and of itself is not an end, but, instead, a tool that must be effectively utilized. However, it is extremely difficult for the public, or government officials, to evaluate their effectiveness if a shroud of secrecies conceals their use and results. Also he insists that proper evaluations require a measure of transparency.
More specifically, Mr. Keefe treated the challenge of tracking terrorist organizations. The problem, he suggests, is that "they know we are listening," and terrorists are adept at using new technologies. As such, these organizations employ technologies to cloak their activities, and to purposely generate false alarms to instil a climate of fear and to gauge government reactions. Moreover, terrorist can simply stop using certain forms of communication as soon as they are clear that someone is listening - thus ending the vital source for intelligence. On this last point, however, Keefe recognizes that the loss of intelligence can also mean the loss of communicative means for a terrorist organization, which when constructed as atomized cells, can be a costly loss.
Keefe concluded by reminding the audience that while information technology is extremely important in Sigint, putting too much stock in its abilities can be dangerous.
Author Mattew Aid argued that while a seismic sea change has occurred in the intelligence sector since 11 September 2001, dramatic changes in the NSA actually began years earlier. In 1999, Seymour Hersh suggested the NSA was "deaf, dumb, and blind" because it had not kept up with the revolution in new communication technologies. General Michael Haden, who was in charge of the agency, acknowledged that Hersh was correct. This began a huge reinvestment in the NSA and significant change in its strategy.
The NSA, according to Aid, spent billions of dollars acquiring the tools needed for Sigint in the Twenty-first century. The problem, however, was that many terrorist cells and organizations were still relying on lo-tech communications due to geographical constraints. As a result, the NSA now requires the means to gather both lo- and hi-tech information. This caused information analysis to become very complex and costly. For instance, two-tiered collection meant more material requiring more processing.
Aid concluded by questioning these new developments. He contends that hi-tech gathering only created a second-tier, and could not be the only means to find intelligence success. Moreover, Sigint was still reliant on targets to communicate. In other words, technical means cannot find intelligence where it does not exist.
Questions and Answers
Dr. Khan: Staff members at NSA are obviously intelligent, how did they miss the revolution in telecommunications?
Mr. Aid: The NSA is huge and therefore is slow to evolve. Additionally, senior officials were not seized with the necessity to change, and as such, did not take the necessary changes to adapt.
Jorgensen: If press coverage of intelligence agencies is so important, as laid out by Shane's three stated reasons, then why is there a debate over publishing stories?
Mr. Shane: The stories in question were certainly important, but it is hard to gauge all costs. One simply cannot publish information just because it is a good story; national security is still an extremely relevant consideration.
Mr. Aid: White House and government leaks, rather than stories in the press, causes the worst damage to security in his estimation.
Rapporteur: Karen Everett, Ryerson University
John Adams, Chief, Communications Security Establishment, co-chaired this panel. After 9/11 the CSE is now focusing on national security issues, something that has not been done since the collapse of the Berlin Wall. However, Canada's international partners have not changed since World War Two. The CSE is also in partnership with Canadian agencies that include Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada, the RCMP, CSIS, Foreign Affairs, DND and the Canadian Forces. One of the main focuses of CSE is staying one step ahead of technology while remaining innovative and flexible.
Author David Kahn also co-chaired this panel. Throughout the history of warfare, people have always been gathering intelligence, but there were never any designated agencies or groups to gather intelligence until World War One, when radios were used for intelligence purposes. There were four important areas in which intelligence played a key factor in World War One: the battle of Tannenburg; the British capturing a German code book; the Austrians defeating the Italians in 1918; and the Zimmerman Telegram. Code breaking changed globally after the war, as countries that never broke codes began to do so and countries that did break codes created intelligence sectors.
Scott Shane of the New York Times spoke about media and intelligence. He said there is little coverage in the media about signal intelligence. When there is coverage, newspapers and reporters are often urged not to run the stories. One of the most commonly used reasons for newspapers not to cover signal intelligence goes back to 1998, when there was a report about Osama Bin Laden using satellite phones. Shortly after the story, the National Security Agency (NSA) was no longer able to find Bin Laden using his phone. However, Mr. Shane suggests that this story does not hold true because it had been mentioned in many different news sources before 1998 that Bin Laden was using satellite phones. Despite being encouraged not to cover stories regarding signal intelligence, there are three good reasons that it should be covered. Firstly, history shows that signal intelligence plays key roles in security. The second reason concerns secrecy. Thirdly, the public has the right to know about personnel decisions and budgetary issues. Finally, there is a potential threat to civil liberties if there is no oversight of signal intelligence agencies.
Patrick Radden Keefe, Yale University Law School, was the second panellist. He argued that the prevailing culture of secrecy around these issues has prevented an honest assessment of whether this technology is actually worth it. This is partly a result of the fact that people know there are being listened to. According to Mr. Keefe, there are three main problems for signal intelligence agencies when they know they are being heard: new technology is employed to evade being listened to; the generation of false alarms, which often creates more terror; and the end of all communication via the airwaves. Currently, billions of dollars are spent in the technology industry in hopes of preventing future attacks, but the signal intelligence agencies are not subject to scrutiny by the press to inform the public of what money is being spent on. In 2005, the NSA spent $9.5 billion on one photo satellite camera. Also, Canada, the United States and Europe are all caught in the bubble of trying to find new technology.
Matthew Aid, author, suggested that 9/11 changed the strategy for the NSA, as signal intelligence has gone through many changes. However, he points out that many of the changes were in fact underway before the attacks. There was a realization that the world was changing and the technology had to change with it. In 1999 the NSA was still using short wave radios when the rest of the world was using cell phones and fibre optics. The NSA is currently undergoing a $15 billion venture to re-engineer the technology that it uses. This is important since there is a new breed of terrorism that does not have a defined group structure. Also, as of late intelligence agencies can use telecommunications to find people and information. However, new technology is harder to use in countries like Afghanistan, which are lacking in technology.
Questions and Answers
David Kahn asked a question about why the NSA did not foresee the gradual evolution of telecommunications.
Matthew Aid answered this question by suggesting that the NSA was aware of the changes, but the problem was that in an organization that is so big, it takes time to implement changes. Also, telecommunications was not given the priority it deserved.
Wesley Wark asked a question about what expectations should we have with signal intelligence. Who is going to tell the truth and to whom should the truth go? To what extent is it in the public's interest to know about signal intelligence?
Patrick Radden Keefe answered by saying there needs to be more discussion and dialogue than there is presently, as there is not enough oversight of these organizations.
Panel 7: Transportation Security: Have the 9/11 Lessons Been Learned
Chair: Jean-Paul Brodeur, Science Politiques, Université de Montréal
Panelists: Jacques Duchesneau, President, Canadian Air Transport Security Authority; John Dalzell, Vice President Risk Management, CN; Margaret Purdy, Special Advisor to the Deputy Minister of Transport, Transport Canada
Rapporteur: Lidia Frech, Simon Fraser University
John Dalzell, Vice President Risk Management CN commenced the discussion with an overview of CN rail operations. He contextualized the discussion in terms of the economic significance that CN rail operations have on the North American economy. CN is the 5th largest rail in North America (in terms of revenue); and seventy five percent of cross border rail traffic flow is U.S. bound.
Rail is traditionally considered a safe and secure method of commercial transport. The industry is regulated; 16-20 percent of goods are classified as hazardous material. As a result, special precautions need to be addressed in their transport.
The pre-September 11th infrastructure dealt with criminal activity, primarily with anti-smuggling. In the wake of September 11th, the rail industry instituted the Rail Industry Terror Risk Analysis and Security Management Plan. Mr. Dalzell emphasized that this plan was part of an industry-wide embrace of the security challenges after September 11th. Of note is that the plan entails the assessment of threats according to a U.S., not a Canadian agenda. The plan addresses five critical issue areas for the railway industry in North America: hazardous materials transport; overall operational security; critical infrastructure; technology and communication; and liason. One of the key elements of the plan is the co-ordination of intelligence and communication activities. The plan has several key elements, including the co-ordination of intelligence and communications activities. Mr. Dalzell also discussed the Railway Alert Network, which provides the railway industry with an analytical capability to gage threats to rail infrastructure, including the implementation of counter-measures to be utilized should potential threats materialize. CN has made investments to improve the operational security of infrastructure, information technology and human resources. One of the major concerns that emerged for the railway industry following September 11th is a regulatory void in the industry. Rather than addressing some of the security challenges through the creation of a regulatory regime, the railway industry has settled on a number of commitments embodied in the Rail Declaration of Principles. Of particular note is the installation of VACIC (non-intrusive scanning devices) at high-volume border locations. These devices alone will screen 99 percent of rail cargo crossing the Canada/U.S. border for radioactive materials. The experience to date with the implementation of post-September 11th security initiatives has yielded mostly positive results. There is now a greater level of collaboration between shipper and carrier and a greater industry focus on enhanced security of cross border traffic. However, a number of challenges remain including limited resources for passenger rail and mass transit. There is also no specific initiative or plan to address recovery from a specific threat. The prevailing security issues for the railway industry include continuing to improve intelligence gathering capability, multi-agency co-ordination, and risk management.
Jacques Duchesneau of the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority affirmed that the lessons of September 11th "have been learned". Air transport security has built several layers of protection, although admittedly more needs to be done. Duchesneau emphasized that people may feel safer but the threat persists. Essentially, the illusion of security entails the danger of complacency and finding a balance between keeping the public aware of the current threats without invoking panic. He also posed the question, why aren't we secure? He points out that the threat remains faceless and ambiguous. To illustrate this, Dushenseau described the metamorphosis of Al Qaida as a specific threat.
Panel 8: The War on Terror: The View From Europe
Chair: Brian Michael Jenkins
Presenters: Mark Phythian, Director, History and Governance Institute, University of Wolverhampton; Magnus Ranstorp, Director, Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence, St. Andrews University; Cees Wiebes, Senior Lecturer in International Relations, Department of Political Science, University of Amsterdam
Rapporteur: Heather Hrychuk, Royal Military College
Brian Jenkins, who stepped in to chair this panel, introduced the speakers and provided some introductory thoughts on the war against terrorism in Europe. He briefly addressed the common pattern of a great resolve on the part of European nations after 9/11 to address terrorist threats, create new institutions and to share information between various intelligence agencies. Jenkins confirmed that these attempts were revitalized and renewed after the attacks in Madrid, Spain, and additionally after the July 7th attacks in London.
Mark Phythian of the University of Wolverhampton presented a speech entitled "British Perspectives on the War on Terror: Myths and Realities." This talk regarded the 7/7 bombings, using them as a focus for drawing observations on the war against terror and its impact on Britain, along with the linkage between the bombings and the failure of intelligence. Phythian observed that intelligence is patchy at best, and that uncertainty is not surprising. He outlined some working assumptions regarding those who carried out the attacks, and the fallacies of these ideas. Additionally, he outlined the intelligence failures during the period. He suggested that the most significant of these was the lack of surveillance regarding the man who became the ringleader of the plot, after his name had appeared on a watch-list. As a picture of the bombers emerged, Phythian looked to some of the larger myths and problems surrounding terrorism in general. He questioned the definition of Al Qaeda, looking at it as an ideology that could be taken up by anyone, rather than by only a group of radicalized individuals. The concept of framing the enemy as evil is confronted throughout the piece. The difficulties with this arise partly because it allows agencies and governments not to focus on, or really confront, the aims of those committing terrorist acts. Phythian was not wholly critical of intelligence in the war against terror. Indeed, he did outline some successes in his paper, but discerned that the Iraq war will further intensify the terrorist problems faced by Britain and that it could lead to explosive consequences.
Dr. Magnus Ranstorp of St. Andrews University began his piece by stating that it would provide a linkage between the other two panellists, as it would focus on where European nations stand on bringing greater cooperation between nations in the war against terror. Successes in cooperation were initially highlighted in the paper, such as the creation of the European Union Situation Center, the European Union Counter Terrorism Czar and the recent improvements made within Europol. This was followed by the thought that Britain has set the pace for the rest of Europe in the development of a counterterrorism strategy, namely through its cohesive offensive, defensive, and communications strategy. Radicalization and recruitment were outlined as the biggest challenges faced by European nations. Also, the point was made that only through cooperation would some level of success be achieved, although the success would not be absolute. Challenges to this cooperation were addressed, namely the impact on diverging views of civil liberties between nations, the reconciliation between intelligence and justice and the expansion of the war against terror. Finally, it was emphasized that only through cooperation could meaningful success and terrorism prevention be realized.
Dr. Cees Wiebes of the University of Amsterdam presented a paper entitled "Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism in the Netherlands." This paper outlined the Dutch perspective on terrorist activity, legislation and counter terrorism measures. Dr. Wiebes deemed it essential to describe the changing political system inherent in the Netherlands, which resulted in a swing to the right in the political sphere. He outlines the tunnel vision of politicians and intelligence officials, along with the resulting neglect of prominent individual targets, such as Theo van Gogh. Throughout the paper, the murder of van Gogh was utilized, not only to demonstrate counterterrorism failures, but also to show the reforms in the intelligence community and judicial reforms that were made in response to the murder. Wiebes also outlined the main threat to the Netherlands as being that of home-grown terror, which accentuated the problem now occurring in Dutch society. Specifically, the problem is a growing fear of radicalization that has prompted more polarization within society. Additionally, intense pressure on the Dutch government to do something legislatively against these radicals is problematic.
Questions and Answers
After the presentation, Jenkins raised the question of the future of European intelligence coordination. All of the presenters came to a consensus that although there is a great deal to be improved upon in the sphere of co-operation, a good start has been made towards this goal and more time is needed to determine the level of success regarding state to state intelligence sharing. Bigger issues were raised such as the concept of legally legitimate intelligence and reduction of state sovereignty over the individual. Two additional questions were raised regarding legislation related to the states that are sharing intelligence. To be sure, the admissibility in court of shared intelligence and the reliability of the intelligence used from other states was highlighted. In the responses to these inquiries, the problems associated with increased terrorism legislation impacting civil rights were touched upon.
Rapporteur: David Janzen, Carleton University
The original chair for this panel, Stephen Rigby, was called away at the last minute to Ottawa and was replaced by Brian Michael Jenkins, the well spoken Senior Advisor to the president of Rand, and a leading authority on international terrorism. In his opening remarks, Mr. Jenkins set the base for the afternoon's discussion. He pointed out that the European Intelligence community, over the course of several years, has repeatedly made commitments to modify and adapt to the changing course of Terrorism. The leading question is however, where is the European community now? In response, each presenter provided an interesting analysis of aspects of the European community's present capabilities.
Mr. Mark Phythian of the University of Wolverhampton remarked on the present position of British intelligence services in the context of the 7-7 London subway bombings. Mr. Pythians suggests that in the wake of consistent promises to reform and learn from previous terrorist activities around the world, the British intelligence community has made some serious errors in the handling of domestic terrorism. For instance, a blinding focus on foreign terrorist involvement led to the ignorance of the existence of home grown terrorist groups, or "volunteerist" terrorism. He sees the root of this volunteerism as the synthesis of Al-Qaeda ideology with a causal event. In this case, frustration over the war in Iraq is the key link. The leader of the attacks was not only known to MI-5, but had been observed leaving for a trip to Pakistan some time before the attacks. This ignorance by British intelligence was added to the continued disbelief of the British government that Iraq has any part to do with the rise of terrorism. According to Mr. Phythian, the continued presence in Iraq and the passing of legislation that would further erode the civil liberties of British Muslims created the seed of future self-radicalization. In addition, the return of British nationals fighting jihad abroad, who have consistently been ignored by MI-5, could also create a real threat of future terrorism in Britain.
Dr. Magnus Ranstorp of St. Andrews University offered a different take on British intelligence.Contrary to Mr. Pythians, Mr. Ranstorp was more positive of the present capabilities and presence of European Intelligence services. In many ways he credits the work already done by the British. Mr. Ranstorp believes that the British creation of JTAC, the British CONTEST counter-terrorism model and the British communication strategy are all excellent innovations that are being followed in the EU. Additionally, he points out that terrorism is not a solvable problem, and that the European community has used the appropriate language to instil that understanding in the European public. Mr. Ranstorp also used an amusing anecdote of a conversation he had with a young Muslim, relating to him the advantages of being a young Muslim in a security society. This was used to provide context to the way that Europe in general is coping with the terrorist threat. Moreover, Europe has and continues to develop a variety of bilateral and multilateral counter-terrorist institutions that are becoming more and more effective. However, there is still some cause for concern. According to Mr. Ranstorp, Europe is lagging behind in dealing with cyber treats, and the passing of new legislation has created a problem of an erosion of civil liberties. Finally, the complexity of developing intelligence into evidence is another rising concern.
Dr. Cees Wiebes of the University of Amsterdam painted a striking picture of the changing political climate in the Netherlands, which was a result of extremism of both Muslims and the far right. This new terrorism focuses on individual targets of important Dutch figures. Starting with the assassination of a right winged, anti-Islamic politician, political tensions came to a head with the assassination of the prominent, eccentric and provocative Dutch artist Theo van Gogh on November 2, 2004. The outright brutality of his murder brought to light the very nature of the rising sentiment of anti-tolerant behaviour in the Netherlands. Intelligence services had severe problems in the past in identifying the exact threat, in terms of capabilities and intentions, and as a result had difficulties arriving to conclusions on how to fight such a treat. However, through effective use of OSINT, HUMINT, SIGINT, international intelligence liaisons, covert operations and the increase presence of an EU counter-terrorism community, the Dutch have been able to deal with the increasing threat of terrorism in the state. Finally, Mr. Wiebes suggests that viewing terrorism as a political problem and having the state on board in the fight against terrorism in the same way that the intelligence services are on the right track will insure that future polarization of the Dutch communities does not continue.
In question period and during Mr. Jenkins closing remarks, several poignant questions were put to the panellists. One of the more poignant questions regarded the possible creation of an EU intelligence service on a much more intergraded level. The universal response was that this was not in the cards, but that the potential of increased bilateral agreements between EU states was quite possible. Additionally, questions and responses were made regarding the rights of individuals in the wake of the 7-7 terrorist attacks. A consensus emerged that increased vigilance on immigration policies and the passing of future anti-terrorist legislation is necessary to ensure that the rights of citizens are not oppressed.
Panel 9: The Best and the Brightest: The CASIS Weller Prize Winners' Panel
Chair: Gerard Hervouet, Laval University
Graduate Winner: Andrea Pasztor, University of Ottawa
Undergraduate Winner: Tim Sayle, University of Toronto
Commentators: Arne Kislenko, Ryerson University and Munk Centre, University of Toronto; Gavin Cameron, University of Calgary; Andrew Preston, University of Victoria, Yale University
Rapporteur: Annik Leblanc, Concordia
This panel was compromised of the two students who were awarded the Weller Prize, and three scholars who provided comments on their papers.
University of Ottawa student Andrea Pasztor, the graduate student award winner, presented her paper entitled "Information Warfare, International Law and National Security: The Relationship and Implications." Pasztor argued that information attacks are a threat to national security. She argued that two domains of international law are applicable to information warfare:protective customary law and humanitarian law. With regards to customary law, she argued that the UN Charter could be used when information attacks inflict sufficient harm. Humanitarian law is also applicable to an information warfare attack. Pasztor concluded her presentation by offering some recommendations. She suggested that a treaty explicitly dealing with information warfare, or the amendment of current treaties relating to information technologies, is required. She also recommended greater interstate cooperation.
University of Toronto student Tim Sayle, the undergraduate winner, presented "A Pattern of Constraint: Canadian-American Relations in the Early Cold War." The paper examines a series of Canadian-American consultations over proposed U.S. Strategic Air Command (USSAC) projects in Canada in 1951. Canada refused to allow USSAC airplanes equipped with atomic weapons to fly over Canadian airspace unrestricted. Sayle argued against the view that Canada was merely asserting its sovereignty. Rather, he argues that Canada was also attempting to constrain the United States on a global strategic level during this cold war period. Sayle argued that Canada wanted to limit America's ability to deploy a nuclear attack.
After the presentations, the scholars provided critiques of the papers. They commended both students on their papers, but also identified areas for further research.
Professor Andrew Preston, University of Victoria, praised Pasztor for recognizing the problems involved in defining national security, for pointing out the weaknesses in the American communication system, and for arguing that information warfare potentially provides an opportunity of equalizing the battle field for those wanting to attack powerful states like the U.S. At the same time, one scholar commented that he would have appreciated an examination of the historical evolution of information warfare.
Professor Gavin Cameron, University of Calgary, commended Sayle for his outstanding use of primary sources, his use of subtle distinctions (and avoidance of sweeping generalizations), and his awareness of the academic debate on his research topic. However, one scholar would have appreciated a closer examination of the differences between American and Canadian estimates of Soviet power and rationality. Sayle was also encouraged to further research the American causes of behaviour, since his paper seeks to examine the bilateral relationship between the two countries.
Rapporteur: Daniel Malone, University of New Brunswick
Ms. Pasztor, a law student at the University of Ottawa, presented a paper entitled "Information Warfare, International Law and National Security: The Relationship and Implications." In this paper, Pasztor suggests that information warfare has become the 5th dimension of modern warfare. Given the potential threat posed by information warfare and its relative infancy as a form of war, Pasztor offers an analysis of key aspects of the international laws related to this threat. The principle source of international law, the United Nations Charter, prevents the use of force or aggression by states against other states. It acknowledges that when confronted by an armed attack states do have the right to respond with force in an act of self defense. The question posed by Pasztor is whether an information systems attack on a state constitutes an armed attacked. According to Pasztor, since the potential aftermath of an information attack could be every bit as disruptive and destructive as the aftermath of armed attack, it must be concluded that information warfare should be treated in a similar manner as traditional forms of armed aggression. Pasztor concludes by insisting that existing bodies of law, be it humanitarian law or existing treaty law, are not sufficient. It is her belief that existing treaties need to be "bolstered" so that they more obviously apply to information warfare. In the end, Pasztor claims, legal measures only serve as a supplement and cannot override state preparedness.
Comments on Pasztor's paper were provided by Professor Andrew Preston, University of Victoria. Professor Preston complimented Pasztor for her excellent use of definitions and the concise manner in which she examined legal treaties. Professor Preston's only suggestion for improvement was the addition of a historical context. More specifically, he suggested that context on information systems and there developing use would be helpful.
Tim Sayle, an undergraduate at the University of Toronto, presented a paper entitled "A Pattern of Constraint: Canadian-American Relations in the Early Cold War." Mr. Sayle's paper specifically examined the atomic weapons dimension of the Canadian-American relations. In this paper, Sayle examines the political discourse between United States Strategic Air Command and the Government of Canada, which began in 1951. The central issue concerns Canada's refusal to allow warplanes carrying atomic payloads to fly unrestricted through Canadian airspace. Although the official reason given for this refusal was protection of Canadian sovereignty, Sayle contends that the actual design was to allow the Canadian government to exercise some control in the potential American decision to employ atomic weapons. Canada, according to Sayle, thought that it should be consulted prior to any comprehensive atomic use. As a result, Sayle describes Canada as engaging in a search for any policy which would furnish them with influence in the decision to use atomic weapons. Mr. Sayle also suggests that Canada's demand for the use of diplomatic channels for communication on this matter was a deliberate attempt to promote more complete disclosure of information between Canada and the Unites States. Sayle concluded his presentation by discussing how advances in bomber technology made Canadian refueling and airbases unnecessary and thus decreased Canadian influence in the atomic question.
Comments on Mr. Sayles paper were provided by Professor Gavin Cameron, University of Calgary. Professor Cameron commented on the quality of the paper and stated that the paper had a great deal of potential to be expanded upon in further study. He also complimented Mr. Sayle on his use of primary source material. Additionally, Professor Cameron noted that there were two areas for potential improvement. The first area focused on an explanation of the Canadian government's conception of justification for the use of atomic weapons. The second area focused on the inclusion of American source material.