Canada's spy agency said
Monday that some Canadian citizens or residents received terror training in
al-Qaida-run camps in Afghanistan, providing official reinforcement to what
security analysts have warned for years.
The deputy director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Jack
Hooper, told a Senate committee studying Canada's role in Afghanistan that there
are people living in Canada who fought with al-Qaida during the Soviet
occupation of Afghanistan.
The Senate Standing Committee on National Security and Defense held a full
day of hearings on Canada's military mission in Afghanistan, and how it relates
to security at home.
The hearings come as Canadians and some lawmakers voice growing concern over
the deaths of Canadian soldiers serving in Afghanistan as part of a NATO force.
Parliament voted earlier this month to extend Canada's mission in Afghanistan
Canada has about 2,000 soldiers based in Afghanistan, most of them in
In outlining the domestic threat, he pointed to examples of people who had
lived in Canada who later took part in terrorist attacks. A common thread among
them was time spent at training camps in Afghanistan.
"When we talk about the homegrown terrorist phenomenon, these are people ...
in most instances who are Canadian citizens," he said. "A lot of them were born
here. A lot of them who were not born here emigrated to Canada with their
parents at a very young age."
Hooper did not provide any specifics on numbers of potential terrorists or
their whereabouts. It also wasn't clear what the agency was doing in relation to
monitoring or possibly questioning and detaining potential terrorists. Canadian
Press news agency said Hooper did not respond to questions from reporters after
"I can tell you that all of the circumstances that led to the London transit
bombings ... are resident here and now in Canada," said Hooper, the service's
operations director, referring to the bombings in Britain's capital that killed
52 civilians and four terrorists last July 7.
Committee chairman Sen. Colin Kenny said the attacks on Britain should serve
as a wake-up call for the problems Canada could encounter with homegrown
"They'd been born in country," Kenny said of the London bombers. "They had
all of the slang and comfort with the culture that you and I have, and yet,
boom, here they are committing terrorist acts."