Government has improved aspects of managing security intelligence

(Chapter 1—National Security: Intelligence and Information Sharing - March 2009 Status Report of the Auditor General)

Ottawa, March 31, 2009—The federal government has made satisfactory progress in improving the management of security intelligence, says the Auditor General of Canada, Sheila Fraser, in her Status Report tabled today in the House of Commons. In other areas, further progress is needed.

“We recognize the efforts made so far to resolve the problems we found in previous audits, but there are still important areas where concrete action and leadership are needed,” said Ms. Fraser.

The audit found that the organization and coordination of priorities among federal organizations involved in security has improved. The government published its National Security Policy. It has also made progress on developing an integrated secure system that allows the sharing of intelligence information among federal organizations.

The audit also found, however, that security and intelligence agencies are still not subject to a level of independent review that corresponds to their intrusion into people’s lives.

In addition, Transport Canada and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are still not sharing criminal intelligence information effectively. For example, in its process for granting security clearances to individuals working at airports, Transport Canada does not check all criminal intelligence databanks. The Report notes that Transport Canada could still be granting clearances to high-risk individuals for access to restricted areas at airports.

The Report says that a number of departments and agencies have cited legal barriers to sharing information with each other, and the government needs to increase efforts to resolve these problems.

“In the world of security intelligence, information sharing is critical. Where there are legal constraints, the government needs to find a way of resolving them,” said Ms. Fraser.

The Status Report follows up on the government’s progress in addressing issues identified in previous reports. Progress is deemed either satisfactory or unsatisfactory, taking into account the complexity and significance of the issues and the amount of time that has passed since the original audit.

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The chapter “National Security: Intelligence and Information Sharing” is available on the Office of the Auditor General of Canada website.

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