Canada will use intelligence gained through torture if it will save lives

There is no prohibition on use of information where torture or mistreatment is suspected. New directives do allow use of such intelligence “when necessary to prevent loss of life,” for example.

OTTAWA—The federal government has issued new directives to Canada’s security agencies to restrict the use of intelligence obtained through mistreatment or torture . . . unless the information is needed to prevent the loss of life.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale on Monday issued directives to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the Canada Border Services Agency.

The ministerial directives replace those issued in 2011 and are meant to “more clearly prohibit the disclosure or requesting of information that would result in a substantial risk of mistreatment,” according to the public safety department.

Briefing reporters about the changes, a department official said the new rules set out how the agencies share, request and use information.

For example, each of the agencies is barred from disclosing information that would result in a “substantial” risk of mistreatment of an individual by a foreign entity.

As well, they are prevented from asking for information that would put a person at risk of mistreatment.

Finally, they are restricted in how they can use any intelligence that was likely obtained through mistreatment of an individual by a foreign entity.

“In clarifying wording with respect to disclosure and requesting of information, the new directives guard against any complicity in mistreatment,” the official told reporters on background.

Those cases will be flagged to the minister as well as the proposed oversight body comprised of MPs.

The government refused Monday to say how often it may have used intelligence obtained through torture and mistreatment, saying only that “officials are sometimes required to interact with foreign entities that may engage in those practices that are contrary to our values and principles.”

“The ministerial directions are provided exactly to bring more clarity to the decision-making process,” the official told reporters.

The official said there is a “recognition” that information obtained through degrading treatment or torture is likely unreliable.

However, she said security agencies try to determine whether they believed the information was obtained through mistreatment.

“Then there would be a decision-making process all the way up to the deputy head to determine whether or not the information can or cannot be used,” the official said.

via The Toronto Star

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