A Podcast Called INTREPID

Discussing and debating Canadian national security law and politics

Ep 45 Show Me The Money

Stephanie and Craig are joined by Jessica Davis (@JessMarinDavis), former FINTRAC and CSIS analyst, and author of "Women in Modern Terrorism" and a forthcoming book on threat financing. Lots discussed here, including: "why is combating threat financing important"; the issue of prosecutions (or lack of them) in Canada for terrorism financing; the concept of "financial intelligence" or FININT; the skill set of a good FININT analyst; and terrorism financing and ISIS.

Ep 44 War of the Words

Stephanie and Craig welcome two terrific guests back to the show: Major-General (ret) Blaise Cathcart (Canada's former JAG) and Leah West (in her pre-law days, an ops officer with the Canadian Armed Forces). Today, we circle back to a topic we addressed in Ep 11: "targeted killing". Our return to this topic is sparked by Stewart Bell's reporting at Global on a 2015 Canadian government memo discussing the "the strategic issues associated with the targeting of enemy combatants who are also Canadian citizens in Op IMPACT, the CAF contribution to Coalition Operation INHERENT RESOLVE efforts against" ISIS. Stephanie and Craig begin with a typology of how the term "targeted killing" has been used in the literature and a description of the 2015 memo. They then bring in the guests to discuss the overall tactical targeting process for the CAF, its policy origins, and how targeting packages are determined and vetted. They focus on the concept of "armed conflict", and the applicable law of armed conflict (LOAC) (otherwise known as international humanitarian law or IHL). They address: the distinction between killing in an armed conflict and outside an armed conflict; the meaning of armed conflict and the thresholds for it and its geography, who you can kill in an armed conflict and whether there are constraints on that; how one distinguishes between a combatant (who can be targeted) and a non-combatant (who cannot); and the challenges of figuring out who is directly participating in hostilities in a hot conflict. They end with a discussion on the extent to which the Charter of Rights and Freedoms would apply in an armed conflict situation; and a brief discussion of intelligence sharing and targeting. This is our longest ever podcast, and violates our "no longer than 45-50 minutes" standard. But there is so much rich discussion in here with our terrific guests that we did not have the heart to cut. Hope you feel the same.

Ep 43 An INTREPID Podsight: Scott Jones, Head (designate), Canadian Centre for Cyber Security, CSE

Stephanie and Craig welcome Scott Jones, Deputy Chief of IT Security at the Communications Security Establishment and now the incoming Head of the new Canadian Centre for Cyber Security, based at CSE. We talk about Scott's background and his roles in government and at the CSE, before launching into a review of the new Centre, its mandate and functions. Our focus is on cyber security and defensive cyber, and Scott walks us through how the new Centre will work in that space, not just with government but also the private sector. Scott discusses the cyber security challenges, especially for small and medium enterprises and in the critical infrastructure sector. Then we talk about "artificial intelligence" -- what is, is it here, and what does it mean in the cyber security area? And we end by shifting states (sorry) and talking about quantum computing and its implications for cryptographic security. This is a romp through what was once science fiction, and now just plain science. Another jammed-pack session, and Scott is the person you want to hear from on all these matters. Our thanks to Scott for becoming an Intrepid alum.

Ep 42 Chasing Down the News Cycle

Lots happening in the national security law and policy world. Stephanie and Craig try to keep up with developments.  After a brief update on earlier matters discussed in prior podcasts, they walk through things that caught their eyes in the new report by the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC), CSIS's review body. Things like datasets, for example. ("That old chestnut!" -- sorry National Security Law Podcast). They then talk two trials that should be in trial court, but aren't yet, really: Peshdary (a terrorism case, started but now adjourned) and Huang (an espionage case, not even started). Feel free to stare into the middle distance as Craig waxes on about the intel to evidence issues in these two cases, based on recent superior court and Federal Court of Appeal decisions. They end with a few words on a new civil lawsuit launched against Canada and alleging negligence in relation to the 2016 death in a terror bombing in Afghanistan of Nepalese Ghurka security forces retained to provide security at the Canadian embassy.

Ep 41: An INTREPID Podsight: Bob Paulson, former Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Stephanie and Craig are very excited to welcome Bob Paulson, RCMP Commissioner between 2011-2017 to the podcast. This is a rich discussion: anyone with an interest in national security policing will want to listen -- but not just the national security side of things. We start by covering Bob's career and experience in the RCMP; what it's like to run the RCMP; the structural challenges the force faces; how policing has changed (and especially the disclosure requirements); and the skill sets for a modern RCMP. We then dive into the national security side of things. Yes, of course we cover intelligence-to-evidence, this time from the perspective of a police officer. We talk about RCMP/CSIS cooperation and how it has improved and where the challenges still lie. And we get into the weeds on the challenges of terrorism investigations, and especially investigating foreign terrorist fighter returnees. We also talk about the "going dark" issue -- encryption and its effects on investigations. And we address: what it's like to do anti-terrorism in a zero tolerance environment, where public perception of the relative risk from crimes tends to emphasize terrorism over other pressing issues; cyber crime and policing; and the importance of the independence of police from political intervention. Did we cover enough? If we did, give us a shout-out on iTunes reviews and tell others about Intrepid! And thank you to former Commissioner Paulson for becoming an Intrepid alum.

Ep 40 Broken News: Catching Up to the Headlines at Least to Late May

Stephanie and Craig sat down in late May (before Stephanie disappeared on a well-deserved holiday) to catch up on some issues in the news. We talked about: Vice News and journalist privileges and source material, a case before the Supreme Court; the case that the Supreme Court has now agreed to hear on whether the children born to Russian "illegal" intelligence agents can retain their Canadian citizenship; Aecon and the investment blocking order on the Chinese takeover that Canada has issued on national security grounds; a fuller discussion of the Ayanle Hassan Ali terrorism case; and, for those who stick around, a brief chat on upcoming projects.

Ep 39 Keeping the Ghost out of Canada's Electoral Machine

Craig voted in the Ontario election today, and joked with the scrutineer that he hoped the Russians weren't hacking the Ontario electoral officer's counting machines.  Because if they were, that would be a cyber security integrity threat. (He was assured the machines were safe from the internet).  In this podcast, Craig and Stephanie discuss the various dimensions of cyber security -- confidentiality, integrity and availability -- using an escalating 2019 federal election hypothetical to examine the policy and legal issues.  They end by discussing what, if any, fixes are found in the new Canada Elections Act amendments offered in the new bill C-76.  Their bottom line: We Need A Plan So That We Aren't Making It Up As We Go.

Ep 38 An INTREPID Podsight: Ritu Banerjee, Canada Centre for Community Engagement and Prevention of Violence

Stephanie and Craig are pleased to welcome Ritu Banerjee, Senior Director, Canada Centre for Community Engagement and Prevention of Violence, Public Safety Canada. Ritu discusses the work of the Canada Centre in relation to radicalization of violence, and Canada's various programs designed to offer "off-ramps" for those radicalizing to violence. These are the tools used for "non-criminal" space, prior to criminal thresholds (eg to terrorism offences) being crossed. Other topics discussed include the challenge of terrorist disengagement among offenders incarcerated for terrorism offences, peace bonds and foreign fighter returnees. The focus of this podsight is the preventive side of the anti-terrorism spectrum. Lots in here to ponder.

Ep 37 Fifty Shades of Terrorist Ideology

In the wake of the Quebec City shootings, the Toronto van murders and other recent tragedies in the news, Stephanie and Craig decided the time has come to try a walk-through how the Canadian Criminal Code defines terrorism.  And so we talk "terrorism offences", "terrorist activity", "terrorist groups" and other concepts in criminal law, and debate (endlessly it might seem) whether these concepts could reach, for example, the Toronto van murders. Along the way we manage to work in foreign fighter returnees, the recent court decision in the Canadian Armed Forces recruitment centre attack and how the CSIS Act concept of terrorism is a bit different from that in the Criminal Code, in manners that might matter for CSIS investigations. Lots in here. Sorry.

Ep 36 An INTREPID Podsight: CSIS Director David Vigneault

Stephanie and Craig were very pleased and honoured to welcome David Vigneault, the director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, as our guest in this latest "podsight". Over the course of nearly 50 minutes, Director Vigneault talked about his background in the security and intelligence community, his current position and its demands, the role of an intelligence service in a democratic society governed by the rule of law, the evolving composition of CSIS, the functions of intelligence in national security in the complex security environment, and contemporary challenges (including intelligence-to-evidence and the "going dark" issue).  These were important observations -- not to be missed by anyone trying to understand national security and intelligence in Canada.  Many thanks to the Director for carving out this time in his demanding schedule and for joining us at Intrepid Studios.

 The Director faces forward. Stephanie is on the left. The bald head is Craig, who doesn't want to blow his cover by revealing his face. Photo used with permission.

The Director faces forward. Stephanie is on the left. The bald head is Craig, who doesn't want to blow his cover by revealing his face. Photo used with permission.

Ep 35 Zzzzzz-59: The Carvin & Forcese Clause-by-Clause of C-59 Amendments

Ok, dear listeners, someone needed to do it: Stephanie and Craig march through the amendments to bill C-59, the massive national security law overhaul that we spent many of our earlier podcasts dissecting. These amendments are hot off the press, having been passed by the Commons Standing Committee on National Security and Public Safety, and the bill is now back in front of the full Commons (after which it needs to go to the senate). So miles yet to go, but the amendments do clean up quite a bit that caught our eye in our earlier discussions. So, we need to do a reprise. Now, admittedly, it's hard to make this scintillating. But its the cod-liver oil of podcasting. Enjoy! (Stephanie is responsible for this week's title.)

Ep 34 An INTREPID Podsight: Mylène Bouzigon & Jennifer Poirier from the National Security Litigation & Advisory Group, Justice Canada

Stephanie and Craig welcome to our latest "podsight" Mylène Bouzigon & Jennifer Poirier from the National Security Litigation & Advisory Group, Justice Canada. Mylène and Jennifer discuss the important role of legal advisors in the practice of national security in Canada, focusing particular attention on the process of obtaining CSIS search and seizure warrants in threat investigations. They talk in particular about the special expectations on lawyers and CSIS in terms of candour to the court. They also share thoughts on the evolution of national security law and emerging concepts of privacy in the new information-rich, technological age. This podsight is full of fascinating detail rarely discussed outside of specialized circles -- and highlights the centrality of law in a national security system based on the "rule of law". Thanks to Mylène & Jennifer for joining us and becoming Intrepid podcast alum!

Ep 33 An INTREPID Podsight: Blaise Cathcart, QC, Major-General (Retired), former Judge Advocate General of the Canadian Armed Forces

Late last week, Stephanie and Craig were very pleased to invite to the podcast Blaise Cathcart, QC, Major-General (Retired), Judge Advocate General of the Canadian Armed Forces (2010–2017). This is a jam-packed discussion. If you're interested in knowing more about how law and policy interact in Canada's national defence space, it is not to be missed. Among other things, Blaise provides a thorough & fascinating overview of: the role of the JAG; the manner in which legal advice is organized in government; law and inter-operability with Canada's allies; the new review and accountability framework for the Canadian Armed Forces, given the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians and the proposed C-59 review agency; the CSE's proposed offensive cyber capacity and international law; and the place of law in the use of force (including a small debate at the end with Craig on the Syria missile strikes discussed in Ep 32 -- please listen to that first to understand the context. This final topic focuses on whether humanitarian intervention has "crystallized" as customary international law.)  Thanks to Blaise for becoming an Intrepid Podcast alum!

Ep 32 Scaring Assad Straight...Or Shooting Missiles At Our Own Feet?

Stephanie and Craig invite Jeremy (Jez) Littlewood, from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton and Bessma Momani from the University of Waterloo & the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) to talk about Syria, chemical weapons and missile strikes. Jez walks us through the facts on the ground, based on what is known about chemical weapons use in Syria, and the Chemical Weapons Convention, and Bessma considers the political implications of the US, UK and French missile strike this past weekend. Craig and Stephanie then pick up the thread and talk about the international law issues on use of force. This is a jam-packed podcast -- thanks to Jez and Bessma for taking time away from grading and other things to lend their expertise.

Ep 31: An INTREPID Podsight: Ray Boisvert, Ontario Provincial Security Advisor

In our latest "podsight" episode, Stephanie and Craig are joined online by Ray Boisvert, the Provincial Security Advisor of Ontario. Ray describes his career -- starting at the RCMP through to his senior role at CSIS. He discusses the new Office of Provincial Security Advisor, its mandate and functions.  And at various points in our conversation, Ray addresses cyber security, federal/provincial cooperation on critical infrastructure, and the provincial role in responding to radicalization to violence & terrorism.

Ep 30 Beware State-Owned Enterprises Bearing Easter Eggs

Stephanie and Craig are back for their double-header this week, finally discussing investment, trade and national security. Oh, how obscure you might say! But this is where the bucks are being stopped. So we talk about the implications of foreign direct investment by state-owned enterprises from non-democratic states, and how the Investment Canada Act works in terms of "national security reviews" (to the extent we can peer through that glass, darkly). We then talk tariffs, trade, steel, aluminum, national security and Trump. Yes, he can slap on those tariffs. And yes, it's another nail in the coffin of the open, post-war trading system (or so it risks becoming): it norm-busts on power that has been governed by restraint, not law.  This is our 30th episode and so if this were Logan's Run, we'd have to kill-off this podcast. We still have wind in the sails, but if the pod is useful, don't forget to tell us on iTunes reviews. Our best for the long weekend.

Ep 29 Spring Cleaning for Russian Embassies ... And Our Facebook Pages

Stephanie and Craig focus on this week's developments in the aftermath of the Salisbury chemical weapons attempted murder. They talk about the political and legal dimensions of the coordinated expulsion of Russian "undeclared" intelligence officers in Russian embassies and consulates in a large number of Western nations. Among the issues they discuss: What can a diplomat do in terms of collecting information? When does it cross a line? And how does "persona non grata" work in terms of expelling diplomats.  We then look at the Cambridge Analytica/Facebook scandal and welcome to the podcast Professor Teresa Scassa, Canada Research Chair in Information Law at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law. Teresa discusses her recent blog analysis of this case (http://www.teresascassa.ca/). Stephanie and Craig then discuss how revelations in this matter might feed ongoing debate about whether relatively permissive rules allowing CSIS and CSE access to "publicly available" information proposed in C-59 (still sitting in committee in the Commons! Sigh) should be tightened. Thanks for Teresa for joining us.  And don't forget: if you think what we're doing with this podcast is useful, let us know on iTunes reviews!

Ep 28 Pulling More Threads in the Gordian Knot -- More on Intelligence to Evidence

In Stephanie's absence, Craig is joined by Leah West, a national security law fellow at the University of Ottawa and counsel at Justice Canada, and Kent Roach, professor of law at the University of Toronto, to go deeper on an Intrepid Podcast favourite: intelligence-to-evidence. Kent talks about the Air India commission and its conclusions about the police/CSIS relationship and his views on the importance of reforming section 38 of the Canada Evidence Act, the provision permitting the government to contest disclosure of intelligence in court proceedings. Leah speaks to her research on the United Kingdom system for managing intelligence in criminal proceedings, and lessons-learned from that country. Leah and Kent don't totally agree on the same reforms, but both conclude that Canada's current terrorism trial system is in real need of a fix. (Listeners may wish to listen to Episode 25, our first intelligence-to-evidence overview before diving into this pod.)

Ep 27 A Budget of Issues -- The Intrepid Catching Up With The Headlines Edition

Stephanie and Craig catch up on issues from the last few weeks: a few developments in anti-terrorism trials; the new RCMP commissioner; and IMSI catchers (again).  Then they talk about national security aspects in the federal Budget, with a focus on cyber and the no fly list.  They work in a chat about "going dark" and lawful access. And then they debate whether the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians should review L'Affaire Atwal and the PM's India visit.

Ep 26 The Sum of Many Fears -- Chemical Weapons Use in England

Stephanie and Craig decided to prepare a supplemental podcast today, focusing on fast-moving events in the United Kingdom in the wake of an apparent assassination attempt of a former Russian intelligence officer, using a Russian chemical weapon.  They don't have all the facts, of course, but enough has been said and alleged now to walk through some of the international law issues.