RCMP bungled response after getting tip about Jaspal Atwal’s possible presence in India

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The RCMP has admitted it made a series of errors resulting in a failure to inform Prime Minister
Justin Trudeau’s security detail that a man once convicted of attempting to assassinate an Indian
politician was planning to attend events with Trudeau during an official government trip to India last
year.
That finding is contained in the first-ever report from the National Security and Intelligence
Committee of Parliamentarians, made up of MPs and senators cleared to view top secret documents
and review national security matters.
The report says the RCMP had received information about Atwal’s possible attendance on Feb. 13
— a full week before Atwal attended an event in Mumbai — yet the follow-up investigation saw
errors and delays.
“The RCMP had information that Mr Atwal had a serious criminal record and a history of
involvement in violent acts, issues which should have been identified as security risks to the Prime
Minister and his delegation,” the report says. “The RCMP recognizes that it erred in not providing
that information to the Prime Minister’s Protective Detail.”
The 40-page report was released Monday, but only after the Prime Minister’s Office heavily redacted
portions to “remove information deemed injurious to national security and international relations.”
The report examines three issues: allegations of foreign interference related to Trudeau’s trip; the
security issues around Trudeau’s events in India and whether guests were vetted ahead of time; and
a controversial briefing to journalists given by the government’s national security adviser.
Most of the section on foreign interference is redacted. The public portion summarizes numerous
interactions between Canadian and Indian officials ahead of the trip, noting India’s concern Canada
is soft on Sikh extremism. But all six conclusions in the section are completely redacted.
On the issue of the media briefing given by then-National Security and Intelligence Advisor Daniel
Jean, the report says it cannot draw hard conclusions. It raises numerous concerns about whether it
was appropriate for someone in Jean’s role, but concedes his decision “was made under difficult
circumstances.” It does not find evidence Jean gave the briefing at the direction of Trudeau’s office,
or that he misused classified intelligence.

However, this section does conclude that “the most compelling rationale presented by (Jean) for his
briefing to journalists was his desire to counter foreign interference in ‘real time’.” It says the
committee finds there was a good reason for Jean’s suspicion there was “an orchestrated attempt to
‘shine a spotlight’ on Mr Atwal’s invitation in order to embarrass the Canadian Government.” But
once again, the details are redacted.

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