The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Heritage Front Affair
Report to the Solicitor General of Canada
Security Intelligence Review Committee
December 9, 1994


7.4 Headquarters Instructions and Debates

7.4.1 CSIS HQ Instructions

In August 1991, the Human Sources Branch in CSIS HQ responded to a Toronto Region suggestion (July 30, 1991) that the Source remain in place with the security group for the Reform Party meetings. The response, which was actually provided by the Chief of the Desk dealt with two issues.

The first issue for the Desk was:

* the extent to which Droege's activities with respect to the Reform Party were germane to CSIS' investigation of the political leadership of the extreme Right Wing.

The Chief concluded that Droege's involvement in the Reform Party was not central to the focus of the Service's investigation: "the capability of Droege and others in the Right Wing political leadership to plan, direct and initiate acts of violence to advance their racist agenda". Consequently, the involvement in the Reform Party was "not of concern in itself".

The second issue was:

* whether the source's credibility and access would be affected by the Source's response to Droege's plans.

As the Source appeared to be a trusted confidante of Droege, the Chief thought the relationship could withstand a difference of opinion. Consequently, "I am more inclined to direct Source to disengage from any activity whereby Source could become associated with the Reform Party".

On August 8, 1991, the Human Sources Branch at CSIS HQ instructed the Region: "Please direct the Source to avoid Reform Party activities".

The next day (August 9, 1991), the Assistant Director Requirements at CSIS HQ added his voice to the matter. He stated that he agreed with the CSIS HQ response, but he wanted the point made more firmly:

"There is no apparent reason to be involved, therefore, Source should not be. If TR has arguments to the contrary, we will listen but in the interim no activities in/with the Party. Please ensure that Source does not/not involve himself with any Reform Party activities in any form. "

On August 23, 1991, Toronto Region Investigator informed "the Source has been directed to refrain from further activities and has agreed to these instructions." In the same message, Toronto Region expressed the concern that:

" Wolfgang Droege and his colleagues in the NPC who are involved in the periphery of Reform Party activities may suggest that the CSIS is investigating the Reform Party even though this is not true.

HQ may wish to consider the feasibility of debriefing the leader of the Reform Party of the Service's interest in individual(s) who support the White Supremacist movement that may have connections to the Reform Party but at the same time assure the leader that we are not/not investigating the Party."

On August 28, 1991, three managers in the Human Sources Branch and the Counter-Terrorism Branch at Headquarters stated their view that:

"A certain threshold of danger would have to present itself before it would be feasible to consider debriefing the leader of the Reform Party, regarding certain white supremacists connections within. The present circumstances would not seem to warrant this action."

The Service view was that the decision not to inform the Reform Party did not violate the CSIS mandate, but to have done so might have been construed as a violation and also jeopardized the Source's security.

7.4.2 Whether to Tell the Reform Party

SIRC interviews with CSIS managers from HQ and Toronto Region and the Deputy Director of Operations and Analysis revealed that all are of a mind that the Source was indeed directed to leave the security group. The instructions from CSIS HQ for the Source to refrain from Reform Party activities appeared to be clear and although that should have been the end of the issue, this may not have happened. The instructions did not actually specify that the Source leave the security group. The Source attended the Pickering rally.

To place the issue in context, the Overfield security Group's activities took place during a period of transition at the executive level in CSIS. The Deputy Director Operations and Analysis (DDO) was the Acting Director, for a considerable time in the Summer and Fall of 1991.

The Deputy Director Operations and Analysis informed the Review Committee that he and the Assistant Director Requirements (ADR) made the decision not to inform the Reform Party as the situation was not sufficiently egregious that it warranted that kind of action.[120]

The DDO said that the Service had no mandate, in fact, no lawful authority to tell Mr. Manning anything. Another option that he noted was to go to the Minister or the Privy Council Office and let the latter talk to Mr. Manning. The DDO said that if the investigation had been within the CSIS mandate, it could have been construed as an attempt to subvert a democratic institution. That would fall under 2(d) of the CSIS Act, and the Minister's approval would have been needed.

The DDO said that he and the Assistant Director Requirements decided that the Reform Party was perfectly capable of policing itself, cleansing its own ranks, and taking care of itself; our job was not to keep undesirables out of the Party. He believes that he "probably did tell the Director" and that government agencies were informed about the attempts through the CSIS Reports.[122]

We saw no written evidence that the issue was brought to the attention of the Director during the Summer or the Fall of 1991.

7.4.3 Briefing Note to the Director

The new Director, Raymond Protti, arrived on October 1, 1991 and the briefings began on the key issues and operations in the Service.

On January 9, 1992 a Briefing Note was sent to the Director who had asked for details on any targets or sources of the Service who may have been involved with the Reform Party. The request arose during a general briefing about Human Sources.

The Director was informed that:

"The Reform Party has never been investigated by the Service."

The Note did say, however, that there were a few instances where Service investigations on mandated targets had surfaced peripheral information regarding the Reform Party.

Among the issues described were:

* In 1989 the Service was told that an unidentified individual had donated significant funds to Preston Manning's 1988 political campaign on behalf of a foreign government. The three month investigation failed to substantiate the allegation. (We review this investigation in section VIII.)

* A proposal to investigate suspicions about a foreign intelligence service's contacts with the Reform Party by developing a source in the Party was not approved.

* Through his employer, Wolfgang Droege provided security for the Reform Party at meeting's in Toronto. The source was directed to report only that information related to the CSIS mandate.

The Counter-Terrorism Branch pointed out that three other Droege associates were also providing security, but CSIS was interested in them only because of their white supremacist activities.

The Briefing Note concluded by reiterating that CSIS was "sensitive to investigations that touch on the Party and have issued appropriate direction to ensure that only targets' activities related only to our mandate are reported."

7.4.4 CSIS Reports on the Infiltration Attempts

CSIS reported on the infiltration of the Reform Party by the Heritage Front in two of their CSIS Reports and one Threat assessment. These reports were routinely given wide distribution within the Federal Government's intelligence community.

In the report dated August 23, 1991 entitled the Extreme Right and Racist Skinheads, CSIS stated that " Droege encouraged members of the Heritage Front to become involved with the Reform Party which seems to be viewed as a formidable rival by extreme right-wing figures" , Droege hoped to discredit the Reform Party which he thought would eventually benefit the extreme right-wing. The Service believed that Preston Manning was unaware of Droege's involvement in the security group which protected him.

Although this report would have been sent to the Ministry of the Solicitor General as a matter of course, we have not seen evidence to suggest it was brought to the attention of the Solicitor General.[123] We noted too that the issue does not appear in any other material which we have seen and which went to the Minister's office.

On May 26, 1992 the Counter Terrorism Branch issued a Threat Assessment on Preston Manning. The assessment mentioned the media reports of the infiltration of the Reform Party but concluded that the Service was unaware of any Heritage Front plans to use violence or otherwise physically disrupt/attack Reform meetings or Manning to revenge the expulsions from the Party earlier that year.

In the "Endnotes" of a July 1992 CSIS Report, the Service stated that the Heritage Front militants became members of the Reform Party in 1991, "in an attempt to use the latter as a springboard to obtain greater visibility."

7.4.5 Reporting Continues

On January 8, 1992, the Assistant Director Requirements told the Region that he wanted them to:

"review the direction given to the source and handler re: reporting on the targets' activities. As I recall, those instructions were very explicit; however the reiteration of them here seems somewhat confusing. (referring to a Briefing Note) For example, I cannot imagine how we could avoid reporting on Droege's activities in the Reform Party as suggested in the Briefing Note.

In effect, we should already have: he provides security. Since he appears to be intending to undermine or discredit a legitimate political institution, we must assess what he is doing to achieve that objective.

What we should not be reporting - which is what I understand the direction to be - is reporting on the RP, its members, activities, etc. Close monitoring of the source operation is necessary to ensure that we remain within our mandate. "

In a January 9, 1992, message to the DDG Ops in CT Branch, the frustration was beginning to show in regard to the Droege investigation: "I'm not sure we aren't sucking and blowing at the same time here. Droege is a 2(c) CT target - the undermining of a political party, if it is real, is 2(d) and reporting beyond Level 1 is requiring Ministerial approval - I think we should sit down and discuss this whole issue so the game plan is clear to all of us. "

On January 15, 1992, a note passed between CSIS HQ personnel in the Human Sources Branch stated that, "I don't believe we need to instruct Toronto Region any further. If RCT (CT Branch) wish to alter the instructions to Toronto Region they can discuss with OHS (Human Sources Branch) and the ADR (Assistant Director Requirements)." " He would discuss it further with RCT for a cordinated response to the ADR.

On January 27, 1992, the CT Branch outlined its position in regard to the Source's activities:

" Droege's comments are probably well known by R.P. members, particularly the moderate middle roaders, who are aware of the possibility of the right wing extremist fringe; and the optical damage they can do to the Party.

Our focus is not on the Party, and I believe it is too early, without additional substantiating information, to look any further into the 2(d) aspects. You're right, however, to have us tune our antennae."

7.4.6 Handler's Instructions Given to the Source

The Review Committee asked the Source what instructions he had received from the Handler over the course of his association with the Overfield security group for the Reform Party. The Source stated that the Handler said that the rules were that:

* he was told not to become a member of the Reform Party;

* he was not to participate in any disruptive events against the Party; if anything did happen, he was to get the police involved;

* he was to collect information on what the Heritage Front was doing with the Reform Party; and

* he was not to report on the Reform Party itself.[124]

The Source would give everything he collected to the Handler who would decide what was to be retained or not used. For example, when Overfield was planning something with Andrew Flint, the Source would report it, but he did not take notes on the platform of the Party or other information relating to it.[125]

The Source said that when he was told to avoid Reform Party activities, he did so.

Continued

Footnotes


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