Report on the Investigation into Unauthorized Disclosure of Sensitive Diplomatic Information
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May 22, 2008
The Right Honourable Stephen Harper
Prime Minister of Canada
80 Wellington Street
Dear Prime Minister:
On March 5, 2008, you asked me to launch an internal security investigation into allegations of unauthorized disclosures of sensitive diplomatic information.
Since then, the Privy Council Office has conducted an extensive inquiry under the direction of the Director of Security Operations. The investigation has now been concluded.
The attached report provides the findings and conclusions of this investigation as well as recommendations to reduce the risk of unauthorized disclosure of sensitive diplomatic information in the future.
Kevin G. Lynch
Table of Contents
- Scope and Objectives
- Findings and Analysis
- Immediate Corrective Action Taken
- Annex: Timeline of Significant Events
On March 5, 2008, the Prime Minister asked the Clerk of the Privy Council to launch an internal security investigation into allegations of unauthorized disclosures by Mr. Ian Brodie, Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister, and Mr. Michael Wilson, Ambassador of Canada to the United States, of the purported position of U.S. Democratic presidential candidates in relation to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The Prime Minister asked that the investigation also examine the unauthorized disclosure of a diplomatic report from the Canadian Consulate General in Chicago.
Mr. Brodie is alleged to have told the media that Ambassador Wilson had received a call from Senator Clinton's campaign reassuring Canada about her position on NAFTA. Ambassador Wilson is alleged to have provided information to the media that Senator Obama's campaign had been in contact with the Embassy to clarify the Senator's position with respect to NAFTA. On March 2, 2008, the Associated Press had a leaked copy of the diplomatic report about a meeting between an advisor to Senator Obama and the Canadian Consul General to Chicago.
The Clerk of the Privy Council asked the Director, Security Operations, Privy Council Office (PCO) to lead the investigation. Seconded to PCO from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the Director, Security Operations, is a senior officer at the rank of Chief Superintendent and has extensive investigative experience.
The Director, Security Operations, PCO, engaged the services of two professional investigators from BMCI Investigations & Security Ltd., given the scope and complexity of the investigation, and the volume of information to be examined. Both investigators have extensive experience and specialize in domestic and international investigations involving allegations of criminal activity, fraud, breach of trust, unauthorized disclosure of official information, misappropriation of public funds and other sensitive issues. The two investigators have extensive experience in national police force and security positions, which have afforded them in-depth understanding of the complexities of administrative investigations. One of the investigators served for many years in the Canadian Security Intelligence Service in the area of internal security. The other investigator is a former ethics advisor of the RCMP, and served as an investigator for the Tribunal of Inquiry into Complaints concerning some Gardai of the Donegal Division, Republic of Ireland.
For searches of electronic data and communication logs, the Director, Security Operations, PCO, was also assisted by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade's (DFAIT) Security and Intelligence Bureau, the Informatics and Technical Services and the Telecommunications Services divisions of PCO, and departmental security officers of four other federal departments.
The investigation involved two lines of inquiry: (1) investigation into the alleged disclosures by the Prime Minister's Chief of Staff and the Canadian Ambassador to the U.S. of the purported position of U.S. Democratic presidential candidates in relation to NAFTA (“alleged verbal disclosures”); and (2) investigation into the leak to the Associated Press of the Canadian diplomatic report regarding the February 8, 2008 meeting between an advisor to Senator Obama and the Canadian Consul General in Chicago (“unauthorized disclosure of the diplomatic report”).
The purpose of the investigation was to look into the incidents through interviews, research, assessment or other investigative means in order to:
- determine the timeline of relevant events leading up to and following the disclosures of information;
- determine, to the extent possible, the source(s) of the disclosures, including in particular:
- from where and/or from whom the information originated, to where and/or to whom it was sent, and in what form (e.g. hard-copy, electronic, verbal) it was disseminated; and
- the identity of the individuals who received copies of any memorandum, email or other document relating to either disclosure or who may otherwise have had knowledge of the information;
- report on the findings of the investigation; and
- make recommendations to minimize the likelihood of a reoccurrence of similar incidents in the future.
The investigation was carried out in a comprehensive, systematic and impartial manner aimed at reaching the stated objectives, in accordance with standard practices of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, and with prescribed practices and procedures of the Institute of Internal Auditors. Generally accepted investigative standards were followed to ensure that sufficient and appropriate empirical evidence was obtained to determine the veracity of allegations that form the basis of this report.
The investigative process that was followed in this instance included examining source documentation; conducting comprehensive interviews with individuals having direct access to the information; compiling and analysing reliable source data; and examining salient comments received from various secondary sources during meetings and briefings.
The investigation involved interviews in Ottawa and Washington, D.C., of 36 officials of interest working at the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), PCO, DFAIT Headquarters in Ottawa, the Embassy in Washington, the Consulate General in Chicago and the Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs. The list of those interviewed consisted of:
- 9 PMO officials, including Mr. Ian Brodie, Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister;
- 7 PCO officials;
- 1 official from DFAIT Headquarters;
- 12 officials from the Embassy in Washington, including Mr. Michael Wilson, Ambassador of Canada to the U.S.;
- 4 officials from the Consulate General in Chicago, including Mr. Georges Rioux, Canadian Consul General to Chicago, and Mr. Joseph de Mora, Consul, Political and Economic Relations and Public Affairs, and author of the diplomatic report; and
- 3 officials from the Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Prior to interviewing officials of interest, the investigators prepared a questionnaire for use during all interviews. As well, several officials were interviewed twice.
In addition, PCO invited three CTV News reporters connected with the alleged verbal disclosure to talk to the investigators, but CTV News declined on their behalf.
The investigation also involved a review of logs of telephone calls placed by officials of interest from their office land-line and cellular phones for the period of February 8 to March 3, 2008, inclusive. These were examined to determine if any contact had been made to the media or to other numbers of interest. Transmission logs from fax machines used by officials of interest during the same time frame were similarly examined.
All emails relating to either disclosure and found in the mailboxes of these same officials were checked to determine who had knowledge of the information at what point in time, the extent of that knowledge, and whether any inappropriate transmission of information had occurred.
Finally, unclassified, classified and BlackBerry™ electronic mailboxes of federal officials and ministerial staff who received the original diplomatic report from Chicago were examined to determine whether the report was retransmitted to others, and if so, who those addressees were, and whether it was inappropriate for them to receive the report. Further details are provided in section 4.2.2 below.
A timeline of salient events related to this investigation is attached as an Annex.
The investigation determined that Mr. Brodie was at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C., on February 25, 2008. Mr. Brodie believes there was an informal discussion at the Embassy about NAFTA and mention of a contact with one of the presidential campaigns. He recalls hearing the comment that there was nothing to fear about NAFTA and remembers someone saying, “We have heard this from one of the campaigns.” Mr. Brodie has indicated that at the time there was a story in the news on Senator Clinton's remarks about renegotiating NAFTA, so he assumed it was her campaign that was being referred to.
The following day in Ottawa, while at the Budget 2008 media lock-up on February 26, Mr. Brodie stopped to speak with a CTV News reporter. In an email the reporter subsequently sent to Mr. Brodie, the reporter indicated that he believed Mr. Brodie had mentioned during the lock-up “that Ambassador Wilson had a message from the Clinton campaign that we ought to take her anti-NAFTA rhetoric with a grain of salt.” Mr. Brodie recalls speaking to the reporter about the Budget but does not remember speaking to him about any NAFTA-related topic. During the lock-up, Mr. Brodie, like other government officials present, made comments to the media on the understanding that these were for background purposes only and not for attribution.
All media representatives who were present at the lock-up signed an undertaking whereby they agreed not to remove, release or communicate any documents, materials or information made available to them before the termination of the lock-up, and also agreed that “Department of Finance officials will be on hand at the media lock-up to respond to questions on a deep background, not for attribution basis only.” Although it could be argued that any comments expressed by Mr. Brodie during the lock-up did not technically constitute information covered by the undertaking, in light of the fact that he was not a Department of Finance official, the investigators were told through interviews that lock-up rules have generally been understood—and respected—by everyone to apply to anything that is said by government officials or ministerial staff during the lock-up.
Mr. Brodie was only made aware of the diplomatic report from Chicago on February 28 by one of his PMO colleagues, who provided a copy of the report to him later that day. This was the first time Mr. Brodie saw the report.
On February 27, 2008, the Washington Bureau of CTV News telephoned the Embassy in Washington to speak with Ambassador Michael Wilson urgently and not for attribution. The Ambassador, who was attending business meetings in Ottawa at the time, agreed to return the Washington CTV News reporter's call. The reporter allegedly told the Ambassador that the “Prime Minister's Chief of Staff“ had indicated that the Ambassador had received a call from Senator Clinton's staff on the topic of NAFTA. The Ambassador denied this categorically, indicating that while one of the roles of the Embassy is to reach out to campaigns, the campaigns do not reach out to the Embassy.
The Ambassador told the investigators that during his conversation he tried to steer the reporter away from the trail of Senator Clinton's campaign, because he had read the diplomatic report on the February 8 Chicago meeting and assumed that Mr. Brodie's purported comments must have been based on that report. In order to disabuse the reporter, and because he understood that their telephone conversation was to be for background purposes only and not for attribution, the Ambassador acknowledged that Canada had made contact with other campaigns, including Senator Obama's campaign within a recent period of time.
With respect to Mr. Brodie, the investigation has found no evidence, and no witness has come forward, to confirm or refute what Mr. Brodie claims was said between himself and the CTV News reporter from Ottawa at the Budget 2008 lock-up. However, based on the sequence of events, it appears probable that Mr. Brodie spoke to the reporter on the subject of NAFTA. Moreover, based on the knowledge the investigative team understands Mr. Brodie had at the time, it is possible that he shared information (which turned out to be incorrect) that Canadian officials in Washington had spoken to Senator Clinton's campaign regarding NAFTA.
It appears that the reporter in Ottawa then shared this information with the reporter in Washington, who subsequently contacted Ambassador Wilson as described above. Based on the findings of the investigators, it appears probable that the Ambassador's conversation with the reporter on February 27, which the Ambassador believed was off the record, led the reporter to revise the story broadcast that evening to focus more on Senator Obama. The Ambassador informed the investigators that he made it clear to the reporter that he had not received a call from Senator Clinton's campaign or from any other presidential candidate's campaign. Nevertheless, CTV News reported that evening that the Canadian government had been contacted by both campaigns on NAFTA.
The Ambassador and the Washington reporter spoke again on the phone on February 28, 2008. The Ambassador placed the call in the presence of a PCO official, who overheard only the Ambassador's side of the conversation. According to the Ambassador, he reiterated to the reporter that no presidential campaign had contacted him or anyone at the Embassy to discuss NAFTA. The Ambassador believes he may have clarified that a direct call had been initiated by Canada to an advisor to Senator Obama, but he is positive that he never used the names of those involved, and that he never mentioned Chicago. The PCO official's recollection of the conversation is consistent with Ambassador Wilson's.
This part of the investigation focused on who had the document, when they had it, and the connection to the timeline of media queries regarding the diplomatic report. Of particular interest was how the report, or knowledge of it or its contents, was transmitted to the media or other unauthorized parties.
The diplomatic report from the Consulate in Chicago outlining the meeting between Senator Obama's advisor and Consul General Rioux was issued by Mr. de Mora, Consul, Political and Economic Relations and Public Affairs, on February 13, 2008, via DFAIT's unclassified system. The report was sent to a list of recipients created by the Embassy in Washington for the purpose of reporting on the U.S. presidential election. The distribution list consisted of 232 addresses in total. Of those, 212 were at DFAIT, eight at PCO, four at other federal departments (Department of National Defence (DND), Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), Industry Canada (IC) and Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC)), and eight were external to the Government of Canada. Of the eight external addresses, five were personal email addresses of embassy personnel already included in the DFAIT list of 212, and the three others were of Canadian officials working at the Bank of Canada, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
The Associated Press had a copy of the diplomatic report on March 2, 2008. However, as explained in section 4.2.3, there are indications that information about the meeting between Senator Obama's advisor and Consul General Rioux was known to the media prior to this date, possibly as early as February 28.
In light of the diplomatic report's extensive distribution, interviewing every recipient of the report would have required considerably greater resources and much more time than were available for the investigation. In the interests of conducting the investigation in a thorough yet timely and cost-effective manner, the Director, Security Operations, PCO, concluded that a comprehensive examination of electronic transmissions and telecommunications involving all report recipients within the Government of Canada constituted an efficient filtering mechanism. Any unusual activity was flagged, further investigated and, where warranted, followed up with an interview of the official involved.
At PCO's request, DFAIT's Information and Technical Security Division (ITSD) conducted a search of all 212 email boxes at DFAIT that received the diplomatic report from Chicago during the period of February 13, 2008 to March 2, 2008. The distribution of the report included DFAIT Headquarters in Ottawa, all missions in the U.S., a number of missions in Mexico and several missions worldwide.
The work at DFAIT Headquarters involved locating, verifying and loading backup tapes to restore the email database during the relevant period and then re-creating all of the individual mailboxes to be examined. For missions abroad, email databases had to be restored and exported to ITSD staff at Headquarters.
Similar checks were conducted of mailboxes from other Government of Canada networks that received the original report, namely PCO, DND, NRCan, IC and CIC.
The search methodology used was an advanced keyword search to locate the report or references to it. The emails found through this search were then examined to determine primarily if the report, or information related to it, was passed to other individuals.
The mailbox search revealed that, in the vast majority of cases, the Chicago report had not been retransmitted. In most cases where the report had been retransmitted, it was done by persons on the original distribution list, with comments, to other persons on the original distribution list.
The search also revealed that the report had been provided to several addresses not on the original distribution list. In one instance, a recipient at another Canadian consulate in the U.S. retransmitted the report to seven of his colleagues in that consulate. In a few cases, the document was retransmitted to addresses outside of the Government of Canada network, including two instances of retransmission from a work account to a home account. Based on follow-up searches and on interviews, no evidence was found of further retransmission. It was also determined that of the retransmissions to addresses outside the government network, none were the source of the unauthorized disclosure of the report.
The report was also copied to DFAIT's information repository, to which all DFAIT employees have access. A search was conducted to determine if anyone retrieved the report via the repository before it was leaked. Repository access of the report did occur, but only after it was made public.
During the course of the investigation, the names of a few U.S. citizens who were not employed by the Government of Canada were raised as having been possibly in contact with Canadian officials with access to the report. While interviewing these U.S. citizens was beyond the scope of this investigation, contacts between them and Canadian government employees or ministerial staff were investigated through interviews and an extensive examination of telephone, fax and email logs, as well as email correspondence. This produced no evidence of irregularities or inappropriate conduct by officials or ministerial staff.
On March 2, 2008, the Associated Press reported that it had obtained a copy of the diplomatic report and contacted the embassy's spokesperson for comment. The spokesperson indicated that the Embassy would not comment on a document it had not seen, so the Associated Press emailed a retyped version of the fax copy it had received. The retyped version is a faithful copy of the report, except for six minor typographical discrepancies.
Based on this information, it appears that the Associated Press did receive the complete report by fax. The origin of the fax remains undetermined. Consideration was given to the idea of approaching the Associated Press as part of the investigation, but given the lack of jurisdiction of the investigators on U.S. territory, it was not pursued.
There are, however, indications that the media had knowledge of the meeting between Senator Obama's advisor and Consul General Rioux earlier in time. There are indications that on the evening of February 28, 2008, CTV News in Washington informed the Ambassador that a purported U.S. source had disclosed that the Canadian official involved in discussion with Senator Obama's campaign was the Head of Mission (Consul General) in Chicago.
The investigation indicates that on the afternoon of February 28, 2008, a writer for a U.S. online publication covering Senator Clinton's campaign, contacted the spokesperson at the Embassy in Washington via email to ask the following question: “Did any advisor, staffer or aide to Senator Obama speak to the Consul in Chicago, or to anyone on the Consul's staff, about the Senator's position on NAFTA, or use words to the effect of the ones quoted by CTV?”
Given the very precise and comprehensive formulation of the question, it would appear that the writer had at the time, if not a copy of the report, at least knowledge of the meeting between Senator Obama's advisor and Mr. Rioux.
On February 29, CTV News identified the advisor to Senator Obama by name as being the person who had discussed the NAFTA matter with the Consul General in Chicago.
On February 26, 2008, Mr. Brodie spoke to an Ottawa-based CTV News reporter during the Budget 2008 media lock-up on the understanding that his comments were for background purposes only, and not for attribution.
No evidence has been found and no witness has come forward to confirm or refute what was said between the two. However, based on the findings of this investigation, it appears probable that Mr. Brodie spoke to the reporter on the subject of NAFTA, and that he may have told him there had been contact between Senator Clinton's campaign and the Embassy in Washington. There is no evidence that Mr. Brodie disclosed any information related to Senator Obama or his campaign.
Any comments Mr. Brodie may have made during the lock-up did not reveal any information tied to the diplomatic report, of which he was made aware only on February 28. There is no evidence that Mr. Brodie disclosed any classified information.
Ambassador Wilson spoke to a Washington-based CTV News reporter on the telephone on two occasions (February 27 and 28, 2008, respectively), on the understanding that his comments were not for attribution.
Ambassador Wilson acknowledges telling the reporter that the Canadian government had had contact with all the U.S. presidential campaigns, including Senator Obama's, but the Ambassador is certain he did not speak to the reporter about Chicago or the meeting there between Senator Obama's advisor and the Canadian Consul General. A PCO official was in attendance for the second telephone call and overheard the Ambassador's side of the conversation. The official's recollection of the telephone call is consistent with the Ambassador's. No evidence has been found and no witness has come forward to refute what was said between the Ambassador and the reporter.
Based on the findings of this investigation, there is no evidence that Ambassador Wilson revealed any information tied to the diplomatic report or to any U.S. presidential candidate's position with respect to NAFTA, though his comments likely helped lead the reporter to the Senator Obama campaign. There is no evidence that Ambassador Wilson disclosed any classified information.
The Associated Press had a leaked copy of the diplomatic report on March 2. However, there are indications that the report, or at least information about the meeting between Senator Obama's advisor and the Canadian Consul General, was known to the media prior to this date, possibly as early as February 28.
The investigation has been unable to determine who leaked the report, to whom it was leaked or whether there was only one leak.
The original diplomatic report was incorrectly classified and had an inappropriately broad distribution list.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) recognizes that the diplomatic report should have been classified, given the sensitive nature of its contents, and should have been issued using a much more restricted distribution list.
As a result of the leak of the diplomatic report, DFAIT's Assistant Deputy Minister for North America held a teleconference with heads of mission in the U.S. on March 6, 2008, to review reporting practices and ask managers to remind employees of the importance of protecting sensitive information. This was followed by a message from DFAIT Headquarters on March 7, 2008, directing all Canadian missions in the U.S. to adhere to the following protocols for political reporting on the U.S. presidential election:
- regular unclassified reporting on public sources is to be sent on the unclassified email system and should not include views expressed by individuals, politically sensitive information or analysis/commentary;
- messages sent on the unclassified system are to include a standard distribution (no blind carbon-copy list, no general mailboxes) and are only to be sent to Government of Canada addressees (distribution should contain no outside addresses); and
- any reporting on views expressed by individuals or on politically sensitive matters, as well as any analysis/commentary, is to be appropriately classified and sent to a tightly restricted distribution list via the classified email system, and for any individuals quoted, the words please protect are to be included as a reminder to readers to protect the source.
- Recipients of diplomatic reporting in all government departments and ministerial offices should be reminded on a regular basis of the sensitivity of such documents and the need to protect them accordingly.
- DFAIT should extend the protocols it has put in place, since the leak of the diplomatic report, to all sensitive reporting, not just reporting on the U.S. election, and have these protocols implemented throughout DFAIT, including at all Canadian missions abroad.
It is recommended that DFAIT strengthen the safeguards for the protection of information it has put in place since the incident. In particular, DFAIT should extend the enhanced protocols outlined in section 6.1 above to all sensitive reporting, not just reporting on the U.S. election, and have these protocols implemented throughout DFAIT, including at all Canadian missions abroad. It should also develop a system to monitor on a regular basis the processing, transmission and storage of sensitive information, and should take appropriate action if material is sent on a system that has not been accredited to the appropriate level.
- Any future undertakings signed by media representatives for admission to budget lock-ups should clearly indicate that comments made by any Government of Canada officials and/or ministerial staff during such lock-ups will be made on a background- not-for-attribution-basis only, and are to be considered and treated accordingly.
The purpose of a budget lock-up, conducted under strict rules of confidentiality, is to allow journalists to understand budget material prior to its release, and give them time to prepare their stories. During the lock-up, federal officials and ministerial staff are present to provide substantive explanations on complex budget information. Officials act on the understanding that they are providing background information to the media and that their comments will not be attributed to them; these lock-up rules have generally been understood and respected by both media representatives and government officials. However, to ensure even greater clarity of these lock-up rules for everyone involved, it is recommended that any future undertakings signed by media representatives clearly indicate that comments made by any Government of Canada officials and/or ministerial staff during such lock-ups will be made on a background- not-for-attribution-basis only, and are to be considered and treated accordingly.
- DFAIT should also provide more training to managers and employees on procedures and responsibilities for the classification of information, and for the handling and protection of sensitive material, in a manner that better targets specific groups who prepare and/or transmit this material.
It is recommended that this new training include an online course available to all users, which would focus on network security.
|Date (2008)||Time||Event, Action or Finding|
|8 February||Meeting takes place in Chicago between an advisor to Senator Obama and Canadian Consul General to Chicago, Georges Rioux. Consul Foreign Service Officer Joseph de Mora is in attendance.|
|14:39||The Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C., provides a distribution list to Mr. de Mora for the diplomatic report on the meeting.|
|12-13 February||Mr. de Mora drafts the diplomatic report on the February 8 meeting.|
|13 February||10:51||Mr. Rioux makes a few minor changes and approves the draft diplomatic report.|
|12:17||Mr. de Mora sends the diplomatic report on the February 8 meeting unclassified to a distribution list of 232 e-mail addresses supplied by the Embassy in Washington.|
|14-19 February||NAFTA is raised by both Democratic candidates in the run-up to the Wisconsin primary on February 19. The next primaries are scheduled for Texas, Ohio, Vermont and Rhode Island on March 4, and NAFTA remains an issue on the campaign trail.|
|21 February||Minister for International Trade David Emerson is quoted as stating, “I do not see a reason to revise NAFTA […] The rhetoric delivered in present day election primaries appears to appeal to the candidates' party roots. It is unlikely that the same kind of rhetoric will carry through into a general presidential election.” (Doug Palmer, Reuters, “Canada dismisses U.S. campaign talk of NAFTA change,” February 21, 9:03 p.m.)|
|25 February||Ian Brodie, Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister, travels to Washington to attend a number of briefings. Amongst those in attendance, there is consensus that there was no NAFTA briefing but there was general conversation about what was being discussed around the capital and in the news, including what the Canadian ministers were saying about the matter. He believes there was some informal discussion about NAFTA and mention of a contact with one of the campaigns after a morning briefing at the Embassy on another subject. He recalls hearing the comment that there was nothing to fear about NAFTA. He remembers someone saying:, “We have heard this from one of the campaigns.” Since there was a story in the news on Senator Clinton talking about renegotiating NAFTA, he thought it was her campaign that was being referred to.|
|26 February||AM||Budget 2008 media lock-up. Journalists in attendance sign a document entitled “"Undertaking for Media Admission to the 2008 Budget Lock-Up"” stipulating, in part, that “[…]Department of Finance officials will be on hand at the media lock-up to respond to questions on a deep background, not for attribution basis only.”|
|13:30 - 15:30||Mr. Brodie is present at the Budget lock-up. He has a conversation with an Ottawa-based CTV News reporter of the Canadian Television Network (CTV) about the Budget, but does not remember speaking with him about anything to do with NAFTA. Mr. Brodie''s understanding, as reported to the investigators, is that “We are there to provide information to the reporters, not to be quoted.”|
|PM||According to the media, some time after the lock-up, the Ottawa-based CTV reporter is reported to have appeared as a guest at a Carleton University journalism class at which he spoke about his conversation with Mr. Brodie.|
|PM||During the Democratic Presidential Candidates'' evening debate, Senators Obama and Clinton both raise the possibility of the U.S. opting- out of NAFTA as a means of having U.S. concerns on labour and environmental standards addressed.|
|27 February||AM||A PMO official (PMO Official 1) becomes aware of the diplomatic report from Chicago while speaking with a PCO analyst, who volunteers ito provide it to PMO Official 1. After PCO provides a copy, PMO Official 1 shares it with one of his colleagues at PMO (PMO Official 2).|
|14:16 -15:00||The Washington Bureau of CTV News contacts the Canadian Embassy Press Office in Washington to speak with Ambassador Michael Wilson off the record and not for attribution on a breaking news story.|
|15:42||Ambassador Wilson returns the Washington Bureau reporter''s call from Ottawa, where the Ambassador is attending a meeting. The Ambassador recalls the reporter saying:, “I am advised by a senior member of the government that you had a call from Clinton's staff advising you that there would be conversations on that. The topic of NAFTA was going to become a more heated issue in the campaign, and that you should take this within the context of the heat of the campaign, the intensity of the campaign at that time leading up to the March 4th primaries.'' According to Ambassador Wilson, he explained, “[t]hat is a fabrication,. I have not received a call.” He recalls the reporter responding, “[o]h, that makes it difficult for me because this did come from someone quite senior in the government. Well, let me be quite clear with you. We've heard this from the Prime Minister's Chief of Staff.” Ambassador Wilson explained to investigators that “[t]his was a story he wanted to go with and I thought the way he put it, if that goes out in that way, that's going to cause us real awkwardness. So I tried to address the issues that were wrong in that conversation that we had up to that time; and I said, ‘Our job at this Embassy is to reach out, have contacts with a variety of people in the United States. We talk to the campaigns. This is done on a pro-active basis on our part. Campaigns don't talk to us; they don't reach out to us; they are too busy for that, so we reach out to them.''' Believing he is speaking off the record, he explains that “[i]t was part of a broad conversation that we had these, with other campaigns, the three campaigns at that point, and that we had a contactwith the Obama campaign within a recent period of time,”, but that he could not be more precise on timelines because he was not part of that conversation.|
|PM||CTV News reports, “[a] top staff member for Obama's campaign telephoned Michael Wilson, Canada's ambassador to the United States, and warned him that Obama would speak out against NAFTA.” CTV News also reports that “[l]ow-level sources also suggested the Clinton campaign may have given a similar warning to Ottawa, but a Clinton spokesperson flatly denied the claim.”|
|12:36||The Canadian Embassy in Washington issues a statement: “The Canadian Embassy confirms that at no time has any member of a Presidential Campaign called the Canadian Ambassador or any official at the Embassy to discuss NAFTA. Last night the Canadian television network CTV falsely reported that such calls had been made. The story is untrue. Neither before or since the Ohio debate has any presidential campaign called Ambassador Wilson or the Embassy to raise NAFTA.”|
|15:27||The first query from a U.S. media representative is made to the Canadian Embassy that specifically queries the Embassy whether “any advisor, staffer or aide to Senator Obama [has spoken] to the Consul in Chicago, or to anyone on the consul's staff, about the senator's position on NAFTA, or [hasused] words to the effect of the ones quoted by CTV?”|
|14:35||PMO Official 2 (see February 27, a.m. entry above) informs Mr. Brodie that he has a copy of a report about a meeting in Chicago involving the Obama campaign.|
|15:27||The Canadian Embassy receives a query from a U.S. media representative specifically asking the Embassy whether “any advisor, staffer or aide to Senator Obama [has spoken] to the Consul in Chicago, or to anyone on the consul's staff, about the senator's position on NAFTA, or [hasused] words to the effect of the ones quoted by CTV?”|
|15:28||PMO Official 2 provides the diplomatic report to Mr. Brodie.|
|15:43||The Ottawa-based CTV News reporter with whom Mr. Brodie had spoken during the Budget lock-up emails Mr. Brodie, “[…] in the lockup I thought you mentioned that Ambassador Wilson had a message from the Clinton campaign that we ought to take her anti-NAFTA rhetoric with a grain of salt. Did I hear that right? Or was it the Obama campaign.”|
|14:35||PMO Official 2 (see February 27, a.m. entry above) informs Mr. Brodie that he has a copy of a report about a meeting in Chicago involving the Obama campaign.|
|15:28||PMO Official 2 provides the diplomatic report to Mr. Brodie.|
|16:00||Ambassador Wilson has a subsequent telephone conversation with the CTV News Washington Bureau reporter, again with the Ambassador's understanding that his comments are not for attribution. He reiterates that he did not receive a call from the Obama campaign. According to Ambassador Wilson, no mention of Chicago, Senator Obama's advisor or Consul General Rioux is made during either call with CTV News. In the conversation, the Washington reporter names the Ottawa-based CTV reporter as the person who gave him the information allegedly received from Mr. Brodie.|
|17:30||ABC News Washington calls the Consulate in Chicago to speak to the Consul General and mentions by name the Obama advisor who had met with Mr. Rioux.|
|after 21:05||According to Ambassador Wilson, the CTV News Washington Bureau representative leaves a voicemail for him, indicating that he has a U.S. source confirming a call to the Head of Mission in Chicago, and that he is trying to reach the advisor to Senator Obama – whom he identifies by name – who spoke with the Consul General in Chicago.|
|23:00 - 23:25||In the evening broadcast, CTV sticks to its story of the previous night and reports that “this morning, the Canadian Embassy issued this, a complete denial […] and yet just yesterday, one of the primary sources for this story, someone at a senior level in the Canadian Embassy in Washington, was giving CTV more details of the call, and even giving a timeline. He has since suggested there was, perhaps, a miscommunication.”|
|29 February||13:23||ABC News reports that “a source close to the Canadian Prime Minister's office” told ABC News that the original communication was between Senator Obama's senior economic advisor (ABC News names him) and Canada's Consul General in Chicago. The report further states that “[a]ccording to the source, Wilson exaggerated the communication between the Obama campaign and the Canadian official during discussions this week with the Prime Minister's Chief of Staff, Ian Brodie, who leaked the story to CTV.” (Jennifer Parker, "Clinton Campaign Demands Obama Answers on NAFTA," ABC News, February 29, 2008).|
|2 March||12:00 - 13:34||The Associated Press (AP) contacts an Embassy spokesperson indicating that AP has a copy of a memo and is seeking comment on its contents. At the Embassy's request, a re-typed version of the memo is subsequently sent by AP. AP officials note that there is an unintelligible word in the faxed memo they received, and seek clarification on the word. The memo is the DFAIT diplomatic report of February 13.|
|3 March||AM||AP breaks the story with the DFAIT report. (Nedra Pickler, Associated Press, “"Obama Adviser Denies Trade Remarks,"” March 3, 2008; AP, “"Excerpts of Canadian Memo,"” March 3, 2008).|
|14:09||The Canadian Embassy in Washington issues the following statement: “The Canadian Embassy and our Consulates General regularly contact those involved in all of the Presidential campaigns and, periodically, report on these contacts to interested officials. In the recent report produced by the Consulate General in Chicago, there was no intention to convey, in any way, that Senator Obama and his campaign team were taking a different position in public from views expressed in private, including about NAFTA. We deeply regret any inference that may have been drawn to that effect. The people of the United States are in the process of choosing a new President and are fortunate to have strong and impressive candidates from both political parties. Canada will not interfere in this electoral process. We look forward, however, to working with the choice of the American people in further building an unparalleled relationship with a close friend and partner.”|
|5 March||14:15 - 15:00||In the House of Commons, the Prime Minister, responding to a question about whether the information leaks would be investigated, states that “the Clerk of the Privy Council, obviously working with the Department of Foreign Affairs, is bringing in an internal security investigation on this. Based on what they find and based on legal advice, [the Government] will take any action that is necessary to get to the bottom of this matter.” (Hansard, March 5, 2008)|
|7 March||The investigation begins with the first interviews.|
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