TORONTO STAR EDITORIAL: Spy chief sings the blues
Are Canadians soft on terror? In the eyes of the nation’s spy chief, Richard Fadden, there’s no doubt about it. The recently appointed director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service fairly sang the blues in his first major speech last week.
Canadian opinion shapers and the public tend to “avert their eyes” to terror, he said. The media have made “folk heroes” of terrorists with “tender-hearted profiles.” And judges have created a “turbulent legal environment” that ties his counter-spies up in red tape.
Fadden’s strong views call to mind former defence chief Rick Hillier, who famously reviled the Taliban as “murderers and scumbags” to stiffen the public’s spine for war. The CSIS chief made the same point about terror. Like Hillier, he went too far. The truth is more nuanced.
Most Canadians are painfully aware of the threat posed by Air India bombers, Al Qaeda, the Toronto 18, and other terrorists. That’s why the CSIS budget has been doubled to nearly $400 million since 9/11. The public also supports tough anti-terror laws and stiff sentences.
While the media, including the Star, have highlighted abuses such as those suffered by Maher Arar, who was sent to Syria to be tortured, and the detention of child soldier Omar Khadr, we have also devoted a lot of attention to CSIS efforts to crack the Toronto 18, who planned to storm Parliament, behead the Prime Minister and bomb central Toronto, including CSIS offices. That’s how a free press operates.
Tags: Air India flight 182, anti-terrorism laws, CSIS, Fadden, Maher Arar, Mainstream Me, Mainstream Media, Omar Khadr, Richard Fadden, Rick Hillier, Syria, Taliban, Terror, Terrorists, Toronto, Toronto 18
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