Canada's spy agency admits it shared information it obtained from a Canadian teen being held as an enemy combatant at Guantanamo Bay with U.S. intelligence services, documents show.
The transcripts of a cross-examination obtained by The Canadian Press also show the agency did not ask for guarantees the United States would not use the information in any prosecution that could result in the death penalty for Omar Khadr.
"We did not seek those assurances," William Hooper, assistant director of operations for the Canadian Intelligence Security Service, told Mr. Khadr's lawyer during the closed-door hearing last month.
Mr. Hooper's admission came despite the agency's assertion that the interrogations were not intended to help the United States prosecute the 18-year-old detainee, whose family was intimately connected to al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
Mr. Hooper said he did not know whether the United States had made information-sharing a precondition to allowing a CSIS agent to see Mr. Khadr and refused to provide details of what it contained.
However, he denied that several CSIS interrogations in February, 2003, and again in September, 2003, were designed to help the United States.
"We were not down there to proxy anybody else's interest," Mr. Hooper said, according to the transcripts, now filed with the Federal Court.
"We're down there in our own investigative interest."
The Toronto-born Mr. Khadr is accused of killing an American soldier with a grenade in Afghanistan in July, 2002, when he was 15. He has yet to be charged or to stand trial.
His lawyers are seeking a Federal Court injunction to forbid CSIS from interrogating Mr. Khadr further, and to force Ottawa to extend "substantive" consular service to the teen. Although it says it has no immediate plans to see him again, CSIS is contesting the injunction request, arguing it needs to be able to talk to him as part of its fight against terrorism.
The agency says Mr. Khadr initially provided extensive information on people associated, or believed to be associated, with al-Qaeda. He later recanted, saying he had been tortured.
Among other things, his lawyers say he has been shackled in painful positions for long periods and threatened with rape. The documents also show the Department of Foreign Affairs quietly sent one of its intelligence officials to interview Mr. Khadr because the United States refused to allow consular access to him.
"I'm not sure we misled [the United States] I wouldn't use the word misled," Serge Paquette, director of emergency services at Foreign Affairs, told Mr. Khadr's lawyer.
"Basically, we have to satisfy their requirements for a visit."
Mr. Paquette said the purpose of the visit was to ascertain Mr. Khadr's well-being. He is believed to be the youngest of about 550 detainees at the U.S. prison in Cuba.
Mr. Khadr's Canadian lawyers, who have not had access to him, have criticized Ottawa's "silent diplomacy" on their client's behalf as ineffective.
"[Foreign Affairs]is suggesting that the visit was actually for [Mr. Khadr's]benefit, but this is not the case," lawyer Nate Whitling said. "The fact that a [Foreign Affairs]representative went there and offered him chocolate bars does not constitute a consular visit by any stretch."