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Canada's former spy master slams Canadians in 'secret' cable

By Paula Newton, CNN
Hilary Clinton briefed Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon on WikiLeaks documents.
Hilary Clinton briefed Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon on WikiLeaks documents.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Jim Judd: Canadians have an "Alice in Wonderland' world view
  • Judges tied the Canadian intelligence service in knots, he says
  • Canada's foreign affairs minister calls the document leak "deplorable"

Ottawa, Canada (CNN) -- Scrupulously silent in public but colorfully candid in person, the former head of Canada's spy agency didn't hold back in a meeting with a senior U.S. State Department official in July 2008. It was a meeting that he had assumed would stay private and the content classified.

According to the cable marked "secret," but now part of the WikiLeaks document dump, Jim Judd admits his spy agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, or CSIS, was "increasingly distracted from its mission by legal challenges that could endanger foreign intelligence-sharing with Canadian agencies."

According to the cable, he complains about Canadians having an "Alice in Wonderland' world view and goes on to describe Canadian courts "whose judges have tied CSIS 'in knots,' making it ever more difficult to detect and prevent terror attacks in Canada and abroad."

"The situation, he commented, left government security agencies on the defensive and losing public support for their effort to protect Canada and its allies," the U.S. cable says.

A Canadian court had earlier that year agreed to release a videotaped interrogation of Guantanamo detainee Omar Khadr, who recently pleaded guilty to murder in a special military hearing at Guantanamo.

Of the video release, the cable states that Judd told the State Department that "a videotaped recording of a tearful Omar Khadr at the military prison at Guantanamo Bay would trigger "knee-jerk anti-Americanism" and "paroxysms of moral outrage, a Canadian specialty."

Judd is now retired.

The formerly secret WikiLeaks cable has sent Canada into damage control. Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said at a press conference Monday that "these leaked documents that pertain to Canada are in my view ... not something that will harm our relations. I do find it deplorable, though, that documents are leaked in this fashion"

U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton contacted Cannon over the weekend to brief him on the Canadian disclosures in the WikiLeaks documents. WikiLeaks says it has more than 2,000 documents that pertain to Canada, most of which have not yet been released.

Intriguingly, this cable from July 2008 refers to Canada's spy agency agreeing to open a channel to Iran's Intelligence service, but added that it was something Judd has not yet "figured out."

Also in the cable is a reference to Judd saying his spy agency "responded to recent, non-specific intelligence on possible terror operations by 'vigorously harassing' known Hezbollah members in Canada."

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