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The Canadian Security Intelligence Service is a Canadian government agency responsible for protecting the national security interests of Canada as well as safeguarding its citizens. The agency's main objective is to investigate and report on threats to the security of Canada. CSIS is the Government of Canada's principal advisor on national security. The Intelligence Officer (IO) category is the core group that is responsible for the collection, analysis and production of intelligence. All CSIS employees must be Canadian citizens.

Creation and Role

Before CSIS, security intelligence was handled by the Security Service of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The Government of Canada concluded that security intelligence investigations would be more appropriately handled by a civilian agency thus CSIS does not have any police powers nor can it conduct criminal investigations. CSIS was created by the passage of an Act of Parliament (Bill C-9) on June 21, 1984 and the agency began its formal existence on July 16, 1984. The agency's mandate is to collect, analyze and retain information/intelligence on activities that may be suspected of threatening the security of Canada. The two major threats that the service investigates are terrorism and espionage. CSIS also provides security assessments to all federal departments and agencies except for the RCMP.

Security Intelligence

The term 'security intelligence' designates information which assists government decision makers in developing policy. Intelligence may be gathered by covert or intrusive methods which include electronic surveillance and recruitment of human sources. Intrusive methods of investigation are subject to levels of approval. Electronic surveillance, covert searches and mail opening require a warrant issued by a judge of the Federal Court of Canada. Security intelligence is shared with federal government departments and agencies as well as certain countries. The 'Security Intelligence Cycle' is a five phase process which produces reliable security intelligence to policy-makers. The phases are: Government Direction, Planning, Collection, Analysis, and Dissemination.

The current state of terrorism in Canada can be divided into four categories:

CSIS Counter-Terrorism Operational Programs

Threat Assessment
The Service prepares and analyzes reports of terrorist threats posed by individuals and groups in Canada and abroad. Assessments are made of threats against Canadian and foreign V.I.P.s, foreign missions and personnel in Canada, Canadian interests abroad, public and transportation security, and special events (Pan American Games in Winnipeg, G-8 Summit in Alberta). In 2001, the Threat Assessment Unit in the Counter-terrorism Branch produced 544 threat assessments.

Community Interviews
In response to international political developments, criminal activity may take place within communities. On March 23, 2004, 27 headstones were overturned at a Jewish cemetery and the previous week saw synagogue vandalism. The anti-Semitic incidents are thought to be in response to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. CSIS conducts interviews within communities in order to allow community members to voice their opinions and concerns. The interviews also aid the Service in threat assessment against domestic extremist groups.

Security Screening
The Service provides a security screening service to government institutions in accordance with guidelines established by the government's Security Policy. Private sector contractors and public sector employees may require clearance and CSIS performs security screening for all federal departments except for the RCMP.

In response to the September 11, 2001 attacks, Bill C-11, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, contains legislation which allocates more powers and resources to the CSIS Security Screening process. The Service also assists Citizenship and Immigration Canada by being a part of the screening of Canadian visitor visa applications and prospective immigrants. In 2001, CSIS reviewed 233,206 applications: 69,448 immigration cases and 163,858 citizenship applications.

Assistance to Enforcement
The Service provides input to the Enforcement Information Index, an automated system that acts to alert immigration and customs officers of suspected or known terrorists seeking admission to Canada. CSIS also launches judicial proceedings to have persons deemed a risk to national security deported from Canada. Security certificates are issued jointly by the Solicitor General and the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, and reviewed by the Federal Court of Canada. Since 1992, 18 security certificates have been upheld by the courts resulting in the deportation of 14 people.

Liaison and Cooperation
In the course of its investigations, CSIS may obtain information regarding criminal matters which it turns over to law enforcement agencies such as the RCMP. The Service also works with all levels of government and maintains relationships with allies and many other countries. CSIS has roughly 250 cooperative relationships with more than 125 countries.

Advice to Government
CSIS prepares reports, studies, and briefs on various issues for policy-makers. Analysis occurs at the operational and strategic levels. Operational analysis combines intelligence gathered by the Service with information from other sources. The final product leads context to or further explains the significance of the original information. Strategic analysis aims to create in-depth and policy-relevant intelligence assessments.

Accountability and Review

Due to the methods that CSIS uses, the CSIS Act contains legislation which allows other government committees or members to be informed of problems and to review the Service's direction and annual progress.

The Director of CSIS is responsible to the Solicitor General for the control and management of CSIS. The Director consults with the Deputy Solicitor General regarding operational policy, applications for warrants, and other matters needing discussion. The Director chairs a number of internal committees which manage CSIS and also submits periodic reports on CSIS activities to the Solicitor General.
The Deputy Solicitor General consults on general operational policies and advises the Solicitor General on the Service's direction and how it should be implemented. The Deputy Solicitor General is also involved in the warrant application process.
The Solicitor General is responsible to Parliament for CSIS as a whole and also issues policy guidelines concerning basic operational procedures and is informed of security operations and problems by the Deputy Solicitor General, Director of CSIS, and the Inspector General.
The Inspector General reports through the Deputy Solicitor General to the Solicitor General. Responsibilities include monitoring the Service's compliance with its operational policies, reviewing operational activities, and submitting a certificate setting out the degree of satisfaction with the Director's annual operational report. The certificate and report are sent by the Solicitor General to the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC). The Inspector General is allowed to conduct research and enquiries at the request of the Solicitor General or the Security Intelligence Review Committee.
The Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) is an independent review agency which guards against infringement upon human rights and freedoms by CSIS. SIRC is composed of 3-5 Privy Councillors who are not members of the House of Commons or the Senate. Members are appointed by the Governor in Council. SIRC responsibilities include reviewing CSIS performance of duties and functions and investigating the complaint of any person with respect to any act performed by CSIS. The Committee has access to all information under CSIS control (except Cabinet confidences) and has the authority to inspect any CSIS activities. SIRC produces an annual report which is presented to the Solicitor General for tabling in Parliament.

The CSIS Crest

The CSIS crest rests on a background of pale silver surrounded by a blue palisade that is edged with gold. A red maple leaf is centered in the palisade and The Royal Crown sits atop the crest.

Organizational Structure

The organizational structure of CSIS begins with the Director of CSIS who has a Deputy Director of Operations, Assistant Director of Human Resources, Assistant Director Secretariat, Assistant Director of Administration and Finance, and Assistant Director of Legal Services as subordinates.

The Deputy Director of Operations has an Assistant Director of Operations, Assistant Director of Intelligence, Assistant Director of Corporate Affairs, and Director Generals responsible for certain regions as subordinates.
       The Assistant Director of Operations has four Director Generals as subordinates:
  • Counter-Terrorism
  • Counter-Intelligence
  • Counter-Proliferation
  • Human Sources

       The Assistant Director of Intelligence has four Director Generals as subordinates:
  • Security Screening
  • Operations Support
  • Foreign Liaison and Visits
  • Research, Analysis and Production

       The Assistant Director of Corporate Affairs has three Director Generals as subordinates:
  • Information Management
  • Scientific and Technical Services
  • Internal Security

       A Director General is responsible for the following regions:

The Assistant Director of Human Resources has the following subordinates:
  • Director General of Personnel Services
  • Director General of Training and Development
  • Deputy Director General of Health Services
  • Chief of Career Management

The Assistant Director Secretariat has the following subordinates:
  • Director General of Communications
  • Director General of Legislative Affairs
  • Director General of Review
  • Deputy Director General of External Review & Liaison
  • Deputy Director General of Access to Information & Privacy

The Assistant Director of Administration and Finance has the following subordinates:
  • Chief of Facilities Management
  • Chief of Materiel Management
  • Comptroller

http://www.csis-scrs.gc.ca (Official CSIS website)
http://www.cbc.ca (Anti-Semitic activities - CSIS Programs, Community Interviews)

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