Letter to the Editor of the Toronto Star regarding the Report on the Investigation into Unauthorized Disclosure of Sensitive Diplomatic Information

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June 14, 2008

Dear Sir:

I am writing in response to recent columns by Mr. James Travers published in your newspaper in which he questions the rigor, independence and comprehensiveness of the Privy Council Office (PCO) Report on the Investigation into Unauthorized Disclosure of Sensitive Diplomatic Information (May 22, 2008).

First, the investigation was led by the Director of Security Operations in PCO, who engaged a reputable independent firm of seasoned investigators. Their investigative work was done in full accordance with established investigative standards of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, and with prescribed practices and procedures of the Institute of Internal Auditors.  The findings outlined in the Report are supported by this investigation and have been validated by both the external investigators and the Director of Security Operations in PCO.

Second, the investigation was comprehensive.  It involved extensive interviews of 36 officials of interest working at the Prime Minister's Office, the Privy Council Office, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, the Canadian Embassy, the Consulate General in Chicago and the Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs.  The investigation also involved a review of emails and logs of telephone calls and faxes to determine whether any inappropriate transmission of information had occurred by officials of interest. 

Third, during the course of the investigation, the names of a few U.S. citizens surfaced as possibly having been in contact with Canadian officials with access to the report. This fact was clearly raised in the report. 

Fourth, no Canadian government investigator, including the RCMP, has jurisdiction on U.S. territory. Therefore, in deciding how to follow up on these contacts, the approach of the investigators was to focus on interviews with ministerial staff and officials employed by the Government of Canada who may have been in contact with them.  It also included an extensive examination of telephone, fax and email logs, as well as email correspondence. As the report indicates, this produced no evidence of irregularities or inappropriate conduct by officials or ministerial staff with respect to these U.S. citizens. These conclusions were based on the investigative standards referred to above, not speculation.

If Mr. Travers has any empirical evidence to refute the findings of the report, he is welcome to forward it to the Privy Council Office.

Sincerely yours,
Kevin G. Lynch