Not long ago CSIS chief Richard Fadden stated in interview to CBC that there are several Canadian municipal and provincial officials who are under influence of foreign governments. Fadden also thinks that China has long-time intelligence activities in Canada through recruitment programs for students. As we learned last week U.S. authorities arrested several Russian citizens under accusations for spying against U.S. under false credentials, what trigs a question on plausible intelligence activities against Canada?
Beside strong negations from Chinese community in Canada and accusation to Mr. Fadden for misleading a public, experts are not so sure that there is no intelligence activity especially from China and Russia. Canada is really interesting country for espionage from several reasons including G8 status, energy superpower status, and member of NATO, highly developed industry and more over highly developed human rights what’s one of the major problems for countries like China, Russia or other less democratic states.
Professor Martin Rudner, a Carleton University professor emeritus specializing in intelligence and national security said to The National Post that he wouldn’t be surprised if there are foreign spies in Canada. He also stated that Canada has a information’s of global significance. On the other side David Harris, director of international and terrorist intelligence program at Insignis, an Ottawa based consulting firm, said to NP that American case lands support to controversial statements made by CSIS head Fadden last month.
“It was almost alarming to me to find political office holders erupting in a kind of near-irrational rage at these suggestions,” said Mr. Harris.
Both of them said almost a same thing as Mr. Fadden that foreign countries are undertaking spy operations to steal state secrets and to steer public policies and opinion. Prof. Rudner explains those operations through state connections with non-governmental organizations.
“A foreign government might, for instance, try to manipulate a non-governmental organization into steering Canada away from oil and natural gas exports as a way of protecting its own market share”, said Prof. Rudner.
In order to fulfill their goals and succeed in steering of Canadian opinion about current events foreign government, according to those experts, will recruit so-called “agents of influence” (mentioned by Mr. Fadden) in the target country including NGO workers, university students, politicians even journalists can be targeted for those services.
The recruitment processes could involve different actions and activities against targeted individuals; some of those goals can be fulfilled through coercion, intimidation, bribery. Russian ring situation in U.S. is just one of the examples of previously seen actions from foreign countries; when so-called “illegals” are in targeted state they need to build normal lives for themselves – getting jobs, pursuing higher education, eventually rising families – and all that in favour of establishing contacts with influential people in politics, academia and business.
Prof. Rudner said that those operations are long-term investments; he also stated that in the past ideology was main reason for individuals to become spies but today’s situation is completely different.
“These days it’s more likely a combination of nationalism, ego and money”, said Prof. Rudner.
More information’s about Mr. Fadden statements given to the CBC in mentioned interview last month we will have after he gives his testimony to the Parliamentary Committee in upcoming weeks. Also will be interested to see if he would include plausible new information’s gathered from U.S. officials regarding accusations that several Russian spies were living in USA under false Canadian names.