Does CNN leak jeopardize Canada's security?
The leak of a classified intelligence document from the Canada Border Services about a disguised Asian man who was able to board a Vancouver-bound flight puts Canada's security at risk, says a prominent immigration lawyer.
The internal security bulletin from the CBSA ended up being published on the American news network CNN last week, just days after the Chinese national donned a silicon mask of an elderly Caucasian man and boarded a Vancouver-bound flight from Hong Kong.
The man, now claiming refugee status, is appearing Monday at an Immigration and Refugee Board hearing.
Vancouver immigration lawyer Richard Kurland said the incident, which he calls a "Mission Impossible" style scenario that circumvented the country's immigration system, raises questions about our own national security.
"How does a secure, classified security document from the CBSA find its way to CNN? There's a hole in the intelligence fence," Kurland told CTV News Channel.
"Someone leaked it. Don't know when, don't know how."
Kurland said if a person tries to obtain a similar document it normally has a delay of at least a year with severe censorship or redaction for security reasons.
He believes the CBSA has a responsibility to maintain the secret nature and confidentiality of immigration files like this one because it puts other ongoing investigations and operational techniques in jeopardy.
"If there is a security breach breach, there have to be actions taken again to make sure this doesn't happen again," he said.
The CBSA said Monday it has launched an internal investigation to figure out who leaked the report to CNN.
Air Canada has also launched its own investigation. The airline says reports that the passenger boarded with only an Aeroplan card for identification "totally unfounded."
The CBSA bulletin said officials believed the Chinese man swapped boarding passes with a 55-year-old American man and then showed the rewards card in order to get on the plane.
"The facts relating to this passenger's acceptance on board the aircraft are still being investigated," Air Canada said in a statement, adding it is liaising with Hong Kong staff and an independent contractor that verifies passports at its gates in the city's airport.
Meanwhile, the masked man who arrived in Canada on Oct. 29 is set to appear before a panel to determine if he will remain in detention.
The man's lawyer said his case isn't extraordinary, but rather quite a typical refugee claim.
Lee Rankin said claimants often use fake documents and alter their appearance to enter Canada. He said many people dye their hair or wear wigs to fool airline security.
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