In an affidavit filed in Federal Court, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service argues that full disclosure of the file on Douglas could endanger the lives of confidential informants and jeopardize the agency's ability to conduct secret surveillance.(??)
In an apparent reference to the precedent CSIS fears might be set if the Douglas files were released, Jalbert adds: "The routine, full disclosure of security intelligence information would, in certain circumstances, prevent or severely hamper the service's ability to discharge its statutory mandate."
The lawyer for The Canadian Press reporter who initiated the battle over disclosure of the Douglas dossier said CSIS's argument would essentially mean all intelligence files must remain secret in perpetuity.
"The suggestion that anything that intelligence agencies do must be secret for all time I think is contrary to basic democratic principles," Paul Champ said in an interview.
He said it's ironic that former Soviet Bloc countries have opened up their old intelligence files to public scrutiny while "the security intelligence file on Tommy Douglas, one of Canada's most loved political icons, remains closed."
Some material in the file, now in the possession of Library and Archives Canada, was eventually released.
It showed that spies with the now defunct RCMP Security Service had shadowed Douglas for more than three decades, attending his speeches, analyzing his writings and eavesdropping on private conversations. His links to the peace movement and Communist Party members were of particular interest.
But the government refused to release big chunks of Douglas' file — some of it dating back to the 1930s — because of national security concerns
So some of this intelligence is nearly 80 yrs old and it can't be released?