CSIS officers urged British police to obscure Canadian link to ISIL smuggler: book

·1 min read

OTTAWA — A new book says Canadian Security Intelligence Service officers urged British police not to reveal CSIS's recruitment of a man who helped smuggle three British teenagers into Syria to join the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

In the book to be published Thursday, "The Secret History of the Five Eyes: The untold story of the shadowy international spy network, through its targets, traitors and spies," author Richard Kerbaj says that in early March 2015, two CSIS officers visited Richard Walton, then head of the counterterrorism command at London's Metropolitan Police Service.

Kerbaj's book says the Canadian officers told Walton that the smuggler, Mohammed al-Rashed, had been working as an agent for CSIS when arrested by Turkish authorities the previous month — a case that had not yet been made public.

The book says the Canadian intelligence officials were not meeting with Walton to offer an apology, but rather in the hope that any ongoing investigation into the teenagers' journey to Syria would not force CSIS to be questioned or held accountable.

Allegations about al-Rashed's involvement with Canadian intelligence made international headlines — and surfaced in the House of Commons — in mid-March 2015.

Asked about Kerbaj's book, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada's intelligence services must be flexible in the fight against terrorism, but he also noted they are bound by strict rules.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 31, 2022.

The Canadian Press