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Ottawa improving how it handles intelligence: Trudeau’s national security adviser

Jody Thomas says officials are taking steps to address breakdowns in communication within government
NDP leader Jagmeet Singh holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, May 30, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

The prime minister’s national security adviser says Ottawa needs to improve the way it manages intelligence, and officials are taking steps to address breakdowns in communication within government.

Jody Thomas made the comments Thursday (June 1) at a meeting of a parliamentary committee that is investigating allegations that members of Parliament were targeted by foreign interference.

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Thomas said she wouldn’t speculate on the specifics of what took place before her tenure, after watchdog David Johnston found in a recent report that there were serious issues in the way the government handles confidential information.

The former governor general’s first report found that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service was aware of indications Chinese officials were contemplating action directed at Canadian MPs, but did not identify negligence at the highest political levels.

The report said intelligence about Chinese officials seeking information about Conservative MP Michael Chong didn’t reach the prime minister, the public safety minister or Chong himself until after it was leaked publicly by media.

Thomas says steps have been taken to ensure better information flow since her arrival to the national security advisor position in 2022, and more is now being done to ensure officials are aware of how to consume intelligence.

David Fraser, The Canadian Press

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