Security and torture

The Montreal Gazette obtains a CSIS memo that raises more questions about CSIS and the use of information obtained through torture.

In the letter, Judd urges the minister to fight an amendment to C-3 proposed by Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh that would prohibit CSIS and the courts from using any information obtained from torture or “derivative information” — information initially obtained from torture but subsequently corroborated through legal means.

“This amendment, if interpreted to mean that ‘derivative information’ is inadmissible, could render unsustainable the current security certificate proceedings,” Judd writes. “Even if interpreted more narrowly to exclude only information obtained from sources and foreign agencies who, on the low threshold of “reasonable grounds” may have obtained information by way of torture, the amendment would still significantly hinder the Service’s collection and analysis functions.”

As I noted in September, a ministerial direction issued by Public Safety Minister Vic Toews in 2010 seems to allow for the use of information obtained through torture—a possibility the government dismissed after it was raised by a CSIS lawyer in 2009.