New CSIS powers not as scary as they seem: Harper’s security adviser

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s national security adviser says planned new powers for Canada’s spy agency seem more frightening than they really are.

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s national security adviser says planned new powers for Canada’s spy agency seem more frightening than they really are.

Dick Fadden says giving the Canadian Security Intelligence Service the ability to disrupt extremist plots will help squelch such activity at a very early stage.

Fadden, a former CSIS director, tells a Senate committee the government’s anti-terrorism bill will allow security agencies to take a more surgical approach to dealing with jihadi-inspired radicals.

The bill would give the spy service explicit power to alert the family and friends of a suspected extremist.

It would also allow the spy service to thwart a suspect’s travel plans, disrupt bank transactions and covertly interfere with radical websites.

The legislation would also make it easier for the RCMP to obtain a peace bond to restrict the movements of suspects and extend the amount of time they can be kept in preventative detention.