Wednesday, July 23, 2008

CSIS issues a clarification

~ Hey it wasn't us who interviewed a sleep-deprived Omar Khadr.

Canadian Security Intelligence Service - 2003 Interviews with Omar Khadr - Media Coverage
Ottawa, July 21st, 2008

"Information relating to interviews of Omar Khadr by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service CSIS and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) were recently released to Mr. Khadr’s legal counsel, following rulings by the Supreme Court of Canada in May 2008, and by the Federal Court of Canada in June 2008.

Following the public release of this information by Mr. Khadr’s lawyers, there has been much national and international media coverage pertaining to these interviews. Much of this coverage has focussed on video footage of Service interviews conducted with Mr. Khadr in February 2003.

Mr. Khadr was questioned by CSIS in 2003 about individuals - including those linked to the Al Qaeda organization - who may pose a threat to the security of Canada and its interests. CSIS interviewed Mr. Khadr to collect threat-related information and intelligence and did not discuss consular issues with him, as this is not CSIS's role.

During the recent media coverage of this issue, some factual errors have been reported by certain media outlets. Specifically, select media outlets have claimed that Mr. Khadr had been mistreated by U.S. authorities - including via sleep deprivation - prior to those 2003 interviews with CSIS. This is simply not accurate. In fact, it should be clear that CSIS had no information to substantiate claims that Mr. Khadr was being mistreated by U.S. authorities in conjunction with the CSIS interviews in 2003.

Furthermore, the allegations which subsequently surfaced regarding sleep deprivation were in relation to a 2004 interview in Guantanamo Bay with Mr. Khadr, an interview in which CSIS was not a participant."

Over to you, DFAIT.

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