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According to a media report on Saturday, a top US diplomat has confirmed that there was “shared intelligence among Five Eyes partners” that prompted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s offensive allegation about Indian agents’ involvement in the killing of a Khalistani terrorist in Canada.
There was “shared intelligence among Five Eyes partners” that informed Trudeau’s public allegation of a “potential” link between the government of India and the murder of a Canadian citizen, according to CTV News Channel, Canada’s 24-hour all-news network, citing US Ambassador to Canada David Cohen.
The ‘Five Eyes’ network is an intelligence cooperation made up of the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. It is based on both surveillance and signals intelligence (SIGINT).
US Diplomat Acknowledges Intelligence Collaboration Amid Tensions
On September 18, Justin Trudeau made an explosive charge of “potential” participation of Indian spies in the June 18 assassination of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian citizen, in Surrey, British Columbia.
India has dismissed Trudeau’s claims as “absurd” and “motivated.” In retaliation for Ottawa’s expulsion of an Indian official over the affair, it also removed a senior Canadian ambassador. Nijjar, 45, was declared a terrorist by India in 2020.
The CTV story is based on an exclusive interview that will run on Sunday on CTV’s ‘Question Period with Vassy Kapelos’.
Cohen acknowledged to CTV that “there was shared intelligence among Five Eyes partners that helped lead Canada to make the statements that the Prime Minister made.” “In the days since, as diplomatic tensions have risen – from Canada reevaluating its staffing in India to India suspending visa services for Canadians – there have been swirling questions about what intelligence is at the heart of this story, who was aware of it, and when,” according to the CTV report.
While Cohen would not comment on whether the intelligence informing the Canadian government’s investigation was both human and surveillance-based, or whether it included signals intelligence from Indian diplomats, the US envoy to Canada did say “there was shared intelligence among Five Eyes partners that helped lead Canada to making the statements that the Prime Minister made.” This is the first acknowledgement by a US government official concerning intelligence collaboration by Five Eyes allies with Canada, despite repeated unofficial and non-official claims to the contrary.
According to the CTV report, there were reports from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and The Associated Press that the intelligence Trudeau was referring to did not come from Canada alone, and that additional information was provided by an unspecified member of the intelligence-sharing alliance.
Shared Intelligence Led to Trudeau’s India Spy Allegations
“He (Cohen) made this comment while denying a Washington Post report alleging that weeks before Trudeau’s bombshell declaration, Ottawa asked its closest allies, including the US, to publicly condemn the murder and that overture was rebuffed,” CTV added.
“Very bluntly, I will say – and you know me well enough – that I’m not in the habit of commenting on private diplomatic conversations,” Cohen was quoted as adding.
“Look, I’ll say this was a matter of shared intelligence information,” Cohen said, adding, “There was a lot of communication between Canada and the US about this, and I think that’s as far as I’m comfortable going.”
Cohen’s remarks came as Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that the US is “deeply concerned” about the claims levelled by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau against India, and that Washington is “closely coordinating” with Ottawa on the matter and wants “accountability” in the case.
Blinken said at a news conference in New York on Friday that the US has engaged directly with the Indian government on the subject and that the conclusion of this probe would be the most beneficial thing.
“We have been consulting and coordinating with our Canadian colleagues on this issue throughout.” And, in our opinion, it is crucial that the Canadian probe continue, and that India collaborate with the Canadians on this investigation. We demand accountability, and it’s critical that the inquiry follow its natural course and lead to that outcome,” Blinken added.
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