The Canadian Security Intelligence Service will “augment” its B.C. resources substantially during the 2010 Olympics, B.C. office operations manager Alan Budde said this week.
CSIS employs about 2,600 people across Canada and in foreign offices and, while Budde wouldn’t say how many of those employees would have a presence in Vancouver or Whistler during the Olympics, he said the Winter Games are one of six CSIS priorities as determined by the federal cabinet.
Speaking at a session of the Emergency Preparedness Conference in Vancouver, Budde said the domestic intelligence agency gathers information with six major priorities in mind: terrorism and extremism; the Afghan mission; foreign espionage interference; proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; international security and prosperity of Canada; and the Vancouver 2010 Games.
Budde said CSIS does not have a mandate to gather evidence for criminal convictions and noted disclosure of the information it does gather has been ongoing.
“If there are ever instances where public safety is an issue, that information does get through to the necessary recipients,” he said.”We also deal with a number of corporate entities.
“So if RBC, a corporate sponsor of the Olympic Games, was to be a target of attack, we would ensure the information not only went to the responsible law-enforcement agency, but that it got through to their corporate security officers as well.”
The intelligence agency’s basic Olympic duties will include processing accreditations, producing threat assessments and giving advice to the federal government.
But Budde said ordinary Canadians need to do their part, too, and be vigilant about reporting suspicious behaviour.
“There’s often a reluctance in Canada to (report when) you see a neighbour doing something suspicious. … In the U.S., because of the nature of some of the incidents that have affected them, they are much more prone to volunteer that information without being prompted.”
Budde assured the audience CSIS cannot investigate lawful protest or dissent, unless those activities are carried out with specific threats to national security.”So if you don’t want the Olympics to be here and you intend to carry a placard, we won’t be bothering you.”
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