Annex B – Findings
Special report into the allegations associated with Prime Minister Trudeau’s official visit to India in February 2018
The Committee finds that:
Findings with respect to allegations of foreign interference
Findings with respect to screening measures
The organizations implicated in this trip have not conducted an interdepartmental ‘lessons learned’ exercise to identify areas for improvement.
Global Affairs Canada and the RCMP took reasonable measures to ensure that guests at events were physically screened prior to entry to events, including additional security measures taken to secure facilities for events in Mumbai and Delhi. Physical screening measures are part of a wider security process that is in place to protect the Prime Minister and his or her delegation. These measures are put in place, in part, to mitigate the risks posed by guests attending events without undergoing consistent security checks.
Findings with respect to the security and intelligence community’s knowledge of Mr. Atwal
The RCMP had information that suggested that Mr. Atwal was going with the Prime Minister on the official trip to India, but did not validate that information.
The RCMP had information that Mr. Atwal had a serious criminal record and a history of involvement in violent acts, issues which should have been identified as security risks to the Prime Minister and his delegation. The RCMP recognizes that it erred in not providing that information to the Prime Minister’s Protective Detail.
The RCMP assertion that the Prime Minister’s Protective Detail would not have changed its security posture even if it had known of Mr. Atwal’s presence at the event and his history of violence was questionable, at best.
The conclusion of officials from the security and intelligence community that Mr. Atwal was not a threat was based on a narrow interpretation of risk that did not reflect his known criminal record or ***
Findings with respect to *** in the context of the Prime Minister’s visit
The NSIA provided advice to the Prime Minister on the *** prompting the Prime Minister to direct the NSIA to brief his Ministers and Members of Parliament prior to the visit.
The use of intelligence
Findings with respect to the NSIA’s use of intelligence
It cannot draw a conclusion on the merits of the NSIA’s decision to brief Canadian journalist ‘off the record.’ That decision was made under difficult circumstances, and the NSIA himself stated before the Committee that he should have briefed journalists ‘on the record.’ Nonetheless, his decision raises important considerations:
- Some of the issues raised by Mr. Atwal’s appearance at the events in India should have been more properly addressed by the Prime Minister’s Office, including failures to screen invitees.
- To the extent that allegations of lapses in security or information sharing involved the actions or errors of government organizations, those allegations should have been judged and addressed by those organizations, not solely by the NSIA.
- The NSIA’s status as one of the most senior officials in the government and as a key advisor to the Prime Minister on security and intelligence, coupled with his effort to remain ‘off the record’ with the press, served to further raise the profile of the issues at play.
- The NSIA did not consult departments or agencies responsible for important aspects of security or bilateral relations prior to briefing journalists. That decision made him solely responsible for determining whether the information that he intended to share was unclassified, and whether his comments would have implications for Canadian bilateral relations, security investigations or relationships with Indian security organizations. Those decisions more properly belonged to the Ministers or Deputy Ministers responsible for relevant departments.
There is no evidence to suggest that the NSIA briefed journalists at the explicit direction of the Prime Minister’s Office. Prior to briefing journalists, the NSIA consulted the Prime Minister’s Office, which in turn provided him with a list of journalists to contact. The NSIA’s status as a principal advisor to the Prime Minister likely contributed to the perception that he was trying to attenuate the broader criticisms around the Prime Minister’s trip to India.
Neither the credibility nor the reputation of Global Affairs Canada, CSIS or the RCMP was being undermined by the events surrounding Mr. Atwal.