In The Media

Trump's security too lax: Former CSIS head

by Laura Payton (feat. Richard Fadden)

CTV News
February 19, 2017

OTTAWA -- The former head of Canada's spy service says U.S. President Donald Trump needs to be more concerned about security, particularly when it comes to meetings and using his smart phone.

Richard Fadden, who directed the Canadian Security Intelligence Service from 2009 to 2013 and served as national security adviser to former prime minister Stephen Harper, says Trump and his close associates don't seem very concerned about security.

"If anybody did that sort of thing in Canada, showing the papers that you have in front of you that are top secret, that's a dismissable offence if they're top-secret material," he said in an interview with Evan Solomon, host of CTV's Question Period.

"They just have to be more conscious of basic security. Really basic security."

Last week, Trump met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a restaurant at his Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago, huddling with Abe and aides just after North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile. Another diner posted photos on social media that showed aides with laptops and the two leaders examining documents, using smart phones as flash lights. Trump's spokesman said Trump was briefed in a secure room at the resort and the leaders did not review classified information on the restaurant's patio.

Another club member posted photos to social media of the defence official who carries the “nuclear football,” which the Washington Post describes as a portable command centre that includes launch codes.

Fadden says Trump's frequent tweeting from a smart phone is also concerning.

"It's not a safe thing to do. These things are not safe at all," he said. "If somebody really wanted to follow what you're doing on a day-by-day basis, it's doable. It's doable by a smart kid who's sitting in a basement with a few bucks."

At the same time, Fadden says he suspects Trump is exaggerating when he refers to intelligence community leaks to the media as criminal and illegal.

"If there were significant leaks of the nature that he was talking about, the FBI would be bouncing across the United States trying to find out what's happening. I don't doubt that there are leaks, but none of the leaks that have been talked about in the media suggests they're top secret, super-compartmented leaks," Fadden said.

Retired Maj.-Gen. David Fraser, who commanded the NATO mission in Afghanistan in 2006, said Trump's presidency creates uncertainty, which creates situations where accidents can happen.

"Military works on the very fine edge of the application of lethal force, and precision is important," he said.

"What we're getting out of the president is not precise. It is open to interpretation and that's just setting up conditions that could cause an accident, and with dire consequences."


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