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CSIS head says Iraq war 'serious concern' for Canada's safety

2005-10-31 20:16:00

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CSIS head says Iraq war 'serious concern' for Canada's safety
Last Updated Mon, 31 Oct 2005 18:51:29 EST
CBC News

Jim Judd, the director of Canada's spy agency, is speaking openly about the way the war in Iraq is creating new dangers for Canada.


CSIS says Canadians have joined the Iraqi insurgency.

Judd appeared before a Senate committee on Monday to answer questions about the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, or CSIS. He said the agency is experimenting with a new, more transparent approach. But his frank responses are also raising some touchy questions about the Iraq War.

Although Canada didn't join the U.S.-led war in Iraq, Paul Martin's government has avoided publicly contradicting claims by U.S. President George W. Bush's administration that it is making the world safer.

But 10 days ago Judd said the U.S. war in Iraq was creating "long-term problems" for other countries. And testifying before the Senate committee he said Iraq provides militants with both motive and opportunity.

"It's been an issue in terms of providing individuals more of an opportunity to learn new techniques and expertise in this. And more generally, it may serve as a motivation. It's a serious concern," he said.

Judd's assessment is nothing new in intelligence circles, says intelligence expert Wesley Wark of the University of Toronto. "We've created in Iraq, as many experts now recognize, a virtual failed state where one didn't exist before. A huge set of problems have been created there."

Wark says spies and politicians increasingly don't agree. "It's a very acute problem, I think, this divide between the professional view and the political view, in terms of how we're really going to run a broad-based war on terror in the future."

Judd says the main terror threat facing Canada comes from radicalized Canadians. And he says CSIS has seen Iraq cause that radicalization in real cases.

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