CSIS caught Red-handed at Air India Inquiry

Tries to convince Canadians that destroying key wiretap evidence is standard policy

James Corbett
Corbett Report

September 20, 2007

As CTV News reported yesterday, the counter-terrorism chief of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) has testified before the Air India inquiry that "junior staffers" who erased hundreds of tapes of wiretap evidence relating to the case were simply following standard policy. Asked whether the tapes should have been erased, former CSIS official James Warren replied "From the standpoint of someone who had to deal with the aftermath, I wish dearly they had not been destroyed."

Mr. Warren's testimony, however, is directly contradicted by testimony from former B.C. prosecutor James Jardine, who says he made numerous attempts in the months following the bombing to get access to the wiretaps, as the CBC reported on Tuesday. When he was told that the tapes had already been erased, his immediate response was to write a note to himself calling the erasure "Inconceivable, incomprehensible, indefensible incompetence."

The drama further unfolded in testimony today, also reported on by CBC News, from Ron Atkey, chairman of the Security Intelligence Review Committee between 1984 and 1989. He testified today that his attempt to launch an inquiry into the tape erasure in 1988 was thwarted by the deputy attorney general, the RCMP commissioner, and even Jardine himself who told him "We've got everything under control here...we don't need an inquiry.

The implication is obvious, though unstated: contrary to Warren's claims, someone in CSIS actively wanted those tapes erased. But why would CSIS want to erase important evidence that could have been used to convict dangerous terrorists behind the largest mass murder in Canadian history? The answer is not to be found in the mainstream news reports, but as The Corbett Report has already reported, CSIS had a mole in the Babbar Khalsa terrorist group which carried out the bombing. Not only did Surjan Singh Gill's signature appear on the group's foundational documents, not only did he deliver the bombs used in the bombing, not only did he have the good sense to pull out of the group three days before the bombing, but he also managed to leave the country and has never been charged in connection to the bombing. How did he receive such treatment? As Seargent Jim Hunter said during an interrogation of one of the bombing suspects, "his [Gill's] CSIS agents have told him to back out" of the bombing. In a seperate interrogation, Staff-Seargent Don Adams of the RCMP said "if your agent was right in the middle of it, and then it happened and now you were all going to look horrible, you might, you might have a reason to cover that up, wouldn't you?" Amazingly, the fact that an RCMP Staff-Seargent insinuated that CSIS had erased wiretap evidence to hide their involvement in the bombing goes completely unreported in coverage of the current Air India inquiry.

Now ask yourself why Surjan Singh Gill's CSIS involvement is not being reported in the mainstream media reports on the case. Better yet, ask CBC News or CTV News. While you're at it, ask your Member of Parliament what they're doing to bring Gill before the current inquiry.

Testimony before the commission can be followed online by following this link.