Canadian Government emails about rendition flights

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The Canadian Government emails about rendition flights were obtained by Professor Craig Forcese of the University of Ottawa under Canada's Access to Information Act.[1]

They come from two sources, the Canadian Privy Council Office and Transport Canada. Both requests were for all records “discussing whether the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) or any other U.S. government agency has used Canadian facilities or airspace to transport persons detained by these agencies during the "war on terror" to undeclared prison facilities run by the CIA (or any other U.S. government agency) in Europe or elsewhere.”[1]

All the emails date from November and December 2005, and are part of attempts to formulate media lines following reports in the Canadian press that rendition flights were passing through Canada. Forcese received the documents in February and March 2006.[1]

The Transport Canada emails

These start with an email on November 20, 2005 from veteran Canadian intelligence operative Stéphane Lefebvre, who at that time was working for Transport Canada's intelligence division, to Nicole Legault:

"I got a call from Dan Morin from the Ca-US Division at Foreign Affairs Canada (FAC). He said that someone from the media had called FAC saying there was a CIA plane in Canada. Morin asked if I had heard about this. He had no other info. I said no and that pursuant to section 17 of the CSIS Act the CIA could be visiting CSIS and suggested that Morin call CSIS to know if this was the case...
"There was no threat or nothing to be concerned about. The CIA visits CSIS on a regular basis and no plane illegally flying in Canada had been reported. FAC was leading the file and I saw no role for TC Intel to play with respect to a friendly visit to Canada from our friends in the south. Since when do we have to worry about the CIA visiting Canada?"[2]

Much of the subsequent correspondence consists of Legault attempting to find out information about CIA planes visiting Canada, and forwarding that information to John Forster, who at that time was Associate Assistant Deputy Minister of Safety and Security at Transport Canada.[3]

On the 29th November, Kenneth Lamontagne of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada identifies a list of six CIA-linked planes, which is forwarded onto Legault via Transport Canada's Jean LeCours.[2]

And on the 30th November, Lamontagne mails out "ANNEX A for Memo to Minister.doc" which contains a "Roster of alleged CIA Owned/Operated/Affliate Aircraft". The tail numbers of these aircraft have been redacted from the documents released to Forcese. The document should not be regarded as authoritative, as Lamontagne notes that "The list was taken from http://thunderbay.indymedia.orq/news/2005/11/2174O.php, and hence we cannot ensure its reliability." The document is subsequently forwarded onto Forster by Robert Clement, an intelligence analyst at Transport Canada.[2]

Acronyms helpful in understanding the emails

Articles and resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Craig Forcese, "National Security Archives: Document Archive", personal page on the University of Ottawa website. Undated, accessed October 1, 2007.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Transport Canada response to Access to Information Act request by Craig Forcese, March 16, 2006. (PDF)
  3. "Frequently asked questions (Corporate)", Transport Canada website via Archived August 21, 2006.
  4. About Us, NAV CANADA website. Undated, accessed October 5, 2007.

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