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Canada’s spy agency persuaded Turkey to hide recruitment of spy who trafficked teens to Islamic State

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More shady activity under the Trudeau government. And why was this done? The Trudeau government has not answered that question. Turkey was reluctant to collude with Canada, but when it eventually agreed to the request, it “punished Canada by limiting the number of CSIS agents operating at the Canadian embassy in Ankara. CSIS also promised that any further clandestine activities in the country would be conducted as joint operations with Turkish intelligence.”

In 2019, out of the blue, Turkey mysteriously offered to help Canada repatriate Islamic State (ISIS) fighters who are currently held in Syria, along with their families. Canada’s Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) viewed Turkey as “a better option than Iraq” to partner with, for in Iraq, “foreign ISIS members could face death sentences.” Jessica Davis, a former Canadian Security Intelligence Service analyst, recognized that allowing Islamic State jihadis to return posed challenges, but in her view “it had to be done”.

For background on the strange story of Canada’s spy agency CSIS being accused of smuggling UK teens including Shamima Begum to the Islamic State, using the paid services of Mohammed al-Rashed, see HERE. After al-Rashed helped smuggle the girls (and others) into Islamic State-controlled territory, he was arrested by Turkish police. Four years later came that mysterious offer by Turkey to “help Canada” repatriate Islamic State jihadists held in Syria. A year before that, in 2018, CBC reported on another grotesque gesture by the Trudeau government, which had so little regard for the victims of Islamic State atrocities that it missed a “deadline to resettle ISIS survivors of rape, genocide due to flight restrictions,” and “no new applications would be accepted” under the initiative “that offered asylum to Yazidis and other ISIS victims.” Whatever is going on between the Canadian Government and ISIS needs full disclosure.

In a September 21 followup, Canada’s Intel agency CSIS was reportedly tight-lipped on the whereabouts of the spy al-Rashed. Now more emerges about the Turkish role. The opposition Conservative Party is pressing for answers, calling on Ottawa to disclose whether or not al-Rashed was granted asylum. The Conservatives would do well to keep pressing Trudeau for accountability — to date, they have failed.

The Global and Mail also uncovered an unsavory mystery in 2019: Canada’s secret visa program was granting visas to “war criminals, terrorists, security threats.”

CSIS and the Trudeau government owe the public answers.

“CSIS persuaded Turkey to hide recruitment of operative who trafficked teens to Islamic State,” Globe and Mail, September 29, 2022:

The most senior intelligence officer in charge of covert operations at the Canadian Security Intelligence Service went to Ankara in March, 2015, to persuade Turkish authorities to stay silent about the agency’s recruitment of a Syrian human smuggler who trafficked three British teenage girls to Islamic State militants, according to three sources.

The sources said the officer, Jeffrey Yaworski, who was at the time CSIS’s deputy director of operations, was carrying out a discreet but high-level campaign to prevent the spy agency from being publicly blamed for using the smuggler as an operative. The Globe is not identifying the sources because they were not authorized to discuss national security matters.

One of the sources said Turkey eventually agreed to Mr. Yaworski’s request, but punished Canada by limiting the number of CSIS agents operating at the Canadian embassy in Ankara. CSIS also promised that any further clandestine activities in the country would be conducted as joint operations with Turkish intelligence, the source said.

The smuggler, Mohammed al-Rashed, was arrested by Turkish authorities on Feb. 28, 2015, within days of when he helped the girls cross the Turkish border into Syria. His capture threatened to place Canada at the centre of an international incident, after Turkish media reported that he had shared the girls’ passport details with CSIS, and that he had smuggled other British nationals seeking to join the Islamic State.

At the time of his arrest, Britain’s Scotland Yard had been frantically searching for the girls, and Turkey was unaware that CSIS had an Islamic State double agent operating in the country.

Turkey never publicly confirmed CSIS’s involvement with Mr. al-Rashed after Mr. Yaworski‘s travels to Ankara. The sources said he visited Turkey at least two times to meet senior Turkish officials in the aftermath of the operative’s arrest. One of the sources said Mr. Yaworski was trying to put the operational mess “back in the box.”

During the first visit, another source said, Mr. Yaworski apologized and asked the Turks to release Mr. al-Rashed, which Turkey declined to do because of the intense publicity in Britain about the missing girls. Turkey also did not want to be blamed for freeing an Islamic State human smuggler, since Ankara had been heavily criticized for failing to stop the flow of foreign fighters into Syria, the source said.

Mr. Yaworski declined to comment on his interaction with Turkish authorities, saying through an intermediary that he is bound by the secrecy provisions of the Security Information Act.

CSIS also declined to discuss the matter. “There are important limits to what CSIS can confirm or deny given the need to protect sensitive techniques, methods and sources of intelligence,” spokesperson Eric Balsam said in a statement.

Around the time Mr. Yaworski was holding secret talks with Turkish authorities, CSIS convinced British counterterrorism officials to cover up the agency’s role in the handling of Mr. al-Rashed. Those discussions were revealed in The Secret History of the Five Eyes, a new book by author Richard Kerbaj that recounts parts of Mr. al-Rashed’s story.

Mr. Kerbaj interviewed Richard Walton, the chief of Scotland Yard’s counterterrorism command, who said two CSIS officials came to see him shortly after the arrest of Mr. al-Rashed. They informed Mr. Walton that CSIS knew about the trafficking of the three teens and asked the British to obscure the spy agency’s role.

In his book, Mr. Kerbaj also wrote that CSIS sent an unidentified top official to Ankara to beg Turkey’s forgiveness for running a counterintelligence operation in their country. Mr. Kerbaj subsequently learned that the official was Mr. Yaworski, and that he had travelled to Turkey on at least two occasions after the arrest of Mr. al-Rashed. As deputy director of operations, Mr. Yaworski was responsible for all undercover missions, including recruitment and running of spies.

Mr. Kerbaj provided Mr. Yaworski’s name to The Globe and Mail last week, and the three sources later confirmed that he had travelled to Ankara.

The Globe has reported, citing a source with direct knowledge, that Mr. al-Rashed was freed on Aug. 5 after serving years in a Turkish prison on terrorism and smuggling charges, including for trafficking the three British girls, who were aged 15 and 16 at the time. The source said CSIS had planned to relocate him to Canada after his release. The government will not say if he has been granted asylum….

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