The Toronto Star
Monday, October 6, 1997
page A10

Wiretapping probe urged

OTTAWA -- An independent inquiry is needed to ensure Canada's spy catchers have not eavesdropped illegally on innocent people, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association says.

The association has written to Prime Minister Jean Chrétien to voice concerns about reports that Canadian Security Intelligence Service agents have been given previously undisclosed wiretapping powers.

It was revealed last week that Federal Court judges, with the consent of the federal government, have approved warrants with a special "basket clause" giving agents the right to wiretap suspects other than the one named in the original warrant.

"The operation of these clauses is that CSIS could readily conduct such surveillance on people not named in the warrants", Alan Borovoy, the association's general counsel, writes.

"The whole point of a warrant-granting system is to ensure that the privacy of no Canadian would be vulnerable to such intrusive intelligence surveillance unless there were adequate grounds in the circumstances of that person's case. How, then, could there be a justification to target unnamed persons?"

Copyright © 1997 by The Toronto Star. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission.