July 16, 2008
On May 26, 2008, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Maxime Bernier, resigned from his portfolio after acknowledging that classified documents had been left at a private residence. In his letter of resignation, the Minister indicated that he had asked Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade officials to conduct a thorough review of the situation.
On May 27, 2008 the Clerk of the Privy Council instructed the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs to conduct a comprehensive review into the incident. The review was to include an assessment of injury to the national interest based on a careful examination of the documents left unattended and the circumstances surrounding the incident. The Clerk of the Privy Council Office asked that DFAIT work closely with the Director of Security Operations, Privy Council Office.
The Departmental Security Officer undertook the review, engaging the services of two professional consultants from BMCI Investigations and Security Ltd. to assist given the scope, complexity and volume of work.
2.1 Initiation of an administrative investigation by a professional firm that would examine both the circumstances concerning the classified documents left by Maxime Bernier at the residence of Ms. Julie Couillard and the adequacy of procedures within the Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the protection of classified information.
2.2 An assessment of the injury to the national interest arising from the failure to safeguard classified information involved in this incident.
2.3 Recommendations for mitigating the risk of a similar occurrence in future.
3.1 Administrative Investigation – Conduct Comprehensive Interviews with individuals who may have handled the documents. Examine comments received from various secondary sources during meetings and briefings.
The investigation involved interviews in Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto of 14 officials of interest working in DFAIT and the Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
In addition, Ms. Couillard’s lawyer was contacted on two occasions to request that she agree to be interviewed by the investigators, but her lawyer declined on her behalf.
DFAIT assisted the investigation by conducting a forensic review of e–mail mailboxes of officials of interest to determine if anyone had knowledge of the loss of the documents, at what point in time, and the extent of that knowledge.
3.2 Damage Assessment of the Documents Left Unattended – the purpose of this action was to determine the potential degree of injury to the national interest or other interest that may have resulted from the unauthorized disclosure of these documents.
3.3 Review of Procedures/ Corrective Measures/ Recommendations
Make recommendations on the findings of the review, to minimize the likelihood of a similar incident in the future.
The Department has accepted the principal findings of the investigation, the main elements of which are described below.
4.1 A timeline of key events related to this review is attached as Annex A.
4.2 Circumstances concerning the classified documents left by Maxime Bernier at the residence of Ms. Julie Couillard:
it appears that Minister Bernier was in possession of the NATO Summit Conference Background briefing materials by 15:00 Monday March 31, 2008 and the remainder of the briefing materials on Tuesday, April 1 prior to his departure.
it appears that the Minister carried the NATO Summit Conference briefing materials with him in his carry–on luggage in an unlocked briefcase from the time he left his office on Tuesday, April 1 until his arrival in Bucharest on April 2, 2008.
it appears that the NATO Summit Conference briefing material remained in the Minister’s unlocked briefcase in his hotel room in Bucharest for the duration of the conference.
it appears that the Minister was in possession of the NATO Summit Conference briefing materials when he arrived at Ms. Couillard’s residence on the evening of April 4. He was unaware they were no longer in his briefcase when he left on the morning of April 5, 2008.
it appears that when the Minister was informed that Ms. Couillard had government documents in her possession she wished to return, the Minister genuinely had no idea what documents she was referring to, and only recognized the documents were the briefing notes prepared for the Summit when he opened the package conveyed to him by a staff member on the evening of May 25, 2008.
Since investigators were not able to interview Ms. Couillard, the investigation could not determine the circumstances by which she came into possession of the classified documents.
4.3 The adequacy of procedures within the Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the protection of classified information.
it appears that Minister Bernier was duly briefed with respect to the receipt, handling, storage and transmission of classified and protected information of a sensitive nature.
it appears that the Minister and staff in his office complied with existing policies, guidelines and procedures relating to Cabinet Documents and sensitive information relating to National Security that was classified as “Top Secret” or higher.
it appears that the Minister did not:
appoint a senior single point of contact within his office to coordinate security–related matters;
seek advice from the DSO with respect to other security requirements under the Government Security Policy;
adhere to the Government Security Policy relating to the safeguarding and transportation of classified information.
it appears that security briefings to the Ministers’ staff should emphasize the need to protect all classified–protected information. They should be made aware of the need to use security equipment such as locked containers to ensure its integrity while in transit. The use of secure telephones and faxes should be emphasized, not just for Cabinet and “Top Secret” Documents, as now appears to be the case.
it appears that the Government Security Policy should be reviewed in order to clearly articulate the DSO’s responsibility vis a vis both the Minister and his Staff, addressing those instances where the DSO’s advice is not sought.
it appears that:
the existence of the requirement in the Departmental Manual of Security Instructions to number all versions of the Briefing Books was not widely known amongst DFAIT or Ministerial staff;
there was no requirement to account for the classified Briefing Book material and it was left up to the individual recipient to dispose of it as they saw fit;
the DFAIT instructions for the preparation of Briefing Books did not reflect the need to either number or track all versions of the documents;
existing DFAIT policy relating to Documents Requiring Special Handling Measures was not adhered to;
the DFAIT Guidelines on Briefing Books – Post Delivery Instructions (June 2008) guidelines should address the above–noted deficiency;
while adherence to the current policy relating to post delivery would not by itself have prevented the unauthorized disclosure it would have alerted the Minister to fact that the briefing material was missing when he returned to the office in Ottawa on April 7, 2008. Immediate steps could have been taken to attempt to locate the material and mitigate the impact of its inappropriate safeguarding.
4.4 Overall Conclusions
The Department has accepted the principal conclusions of the investigation team, the main elements of which are summarized below:
4.4.1 Circumstances concerning the classified documents left by Maxime Bernier at the residence of Ms. Julie Couillard:
Pursuant to the following facts:
Ms. Couillard had, on at least two occasions, the opportunity to alert the Minister that she was in possession of government documents and did not do so;
Ms. Couillard’s absence of providing any explanation as to how she came into possession of the classified documents and why it took so long to return the documents to the government;
Relevant details in the Minister’s statement provided to investigators are corroborated, in part, by the Chief of Staff and other office personnel; and
No empirical evidence was obtained, including witnesses interviewed coming forward, to refute Mr. Bernier’s version of events.
Consequently, it is concluded that:
Minister Bernier would have remained at all times responsible for safeguarding sensitive information under his control and has acknowledged that responsibility by his resignation.
Minister Bernier did bring the NATO Summit Conference briefing material into Ms. Couillard’s residence and left without them.
In the absence of evidence to refute the Minister’s version of events and based on a balance of probabilities, the Minister did not, at any time after the NATO Summit Conference, remove the briefing materials from the briefcase. He was unaware that the materials were unaccounted for until such time as he opened the envelope at 22:00 on the evening of Sunday, May 25, 2008.
Ms. Couillard may have put herself in potential jeopardy of having contravened a provision of the Security of Information Act.
4.4.2 The adequacy of procedures within the Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the protection of classified information.
It is concluded that:
the Minister was briefed on the Government Security Policy governing the proper safeguarding and transportation of classified information.
the Minister and his staff in his office complied with existing policies, guidelines and procedures relating to Cabinet Documents and sensitive information relating to National Security that was classified as “Top Secret” or higher.
the Minister did not adhere to the Government Security Policy governing the proper safeguarding and transportation of classified information. The NATO Summit Conference Briefing materials were not adequately safeguarded. The material was left unattended in the Minister’s unlocked briefcase in a hotel room in Bucharest, Romania and private residences in Laval and La Prairie, Quebec.
No policy requirement exists to account for and dispose of the classified briefing material by individual recipients.
DFAIT policy governing Documents Requiring Special Handling Measures was not adhered to. The requirement to number and control all versions of Briefing Books was not followed by DFAIT officials.
5.1 In response to the reported security incident involving the compromise of sensitive documents held by Mr. Bernier, the Security and Intelligence Bureau reviewed the briefing documents provided to him by the Defence and Security Relations Division for the Bucharest NATO Summit.
The information provided to the Minister Bernier comprised a NATO Summit Background Book, a pocket–sized NATO Summit Program "Scenario" Book and a Media Spokesperson’s Book.
The NATO Summit Background Book was marked SECRET and comprised 26 different documents at various levels – SECRET (3 documents), CONFIDENTIAL (15 documents), PROTECTED (2 documents), UNCLASSIFIED (4 documents) NATO RESTRICTED (1 letter of invitation), NATO RESTRICTED (1 document originating in the Department, not from NATO). The NATO Summit Program “Scenario” Book was marked SECRET and comprised 22 documents which were not individually marked with a security designation. The Media Spokesperson’s Book was UNCLASSIFIED. Originators of documents must judge properly the degree of sensitivity of the information they are preparing and grade the material accordingly. It should be noted that, in some cases, the judgment with respect to security gradings is quite variable.
5.2 Assessment: Although the investigation was not able to determine whether the documents were disclosed to unauthorized persons, beyond Ms. Couillard and her lawyer, it was considered prudent to assume that they were and to prepare an assessment of injury on that basis. Our review of the documents in question concluded that their disclosure would not have caused significant injury to the national interest. No special operational information as defined by the Security of Information Act was present. No classified material from allied governments nor from NATO (beyond the nominally classified “NATO–Restricted” letter of invitation from the NATO Secretary General to the Summit) was contained in the briefing material.
The classified briefing papers were classified essentially as a function of their being prepared prior to the NATO Summit itself. Information from these briefs, if made public before the Summit, could have been damaging to the national interest to the extent that it could have complicated diplomatic relations with certain states through references to the positions of those countries regarding particular issues expected to be raised at the Summit. After the event and the public expression of allied views, these same considerations would not pertain and hence the rationale for their classification would no longer apply. As the investigators have established that the earliest date when the briefing books could have come into the possession of Ms. Couillard was at some point during the night of April 4–5, that is after the conclusion of the NATO Summit, the time sensitive aspect of the classified briefs was no longer present.
While the possible unauthorized disclosure of the contents of the classified briefing notes, would not have caused significant injury to the national interest; it has to be acknowledged that the incident itself was injurious to the national interest by tarnishing Canada's good reputation within NATO circles for safeguarding classified information. At the same time, it is considered probable that the incident will be perceived by external observers as the result of careless handling of classified information by an individual rather than a systemic failure of the Government's regime for protecting classified information.
6.1 Security Education and Awareness training should be enhanced, and the briefing on the Protection of Information made mandatory for all staff working in the Minister’s office.
6.2 Security briefings provided to Ministers’ Staff should emphasize the need to protect all classified–protected information. Ministers’ Staff should be made aware of the need to use security equipment such as locked containers to ensure its integrity while in transit. The use of secure telephones and faxes should be emphasized, not just for Cabinet and “Top Secret” Documents as now appears to be the case.
6.3 Implementation of security policies and procedures needs to be better monitored in the Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
6.4 DFAIT should provide more training to all employees on procedures and responsibilities for the classification of information, and the handling, control and safeguarding of sensitive material. All employees should be reminded on a regular basis of the sensitivity of classified documents and the need to protect them accordingly.
6.5 Appropriate control measures should be implemented so that a strict accounting is maintained at all times for all copies of all versions of Briefing Books. An employee should be assigned the responsibility for maintaining a log of the distribution and return or destruction of each copy of the document. Each copy should be numbered, and a record maintained of the official to whom it was issued, against a signed receipt. As recommended and noted by the investigation team, a system of numbering and tracking of Briefing Books has been put into place by the Executive Briefing Services which has issued guidelines to this effect.
Departmental Security Officer
Department of Foreign Affairs
and International Trade
Date: 16 July 2008
|13 Feb 2006||Upon being initially appointed to Cabinet in 2006, Minister Bernier is briefed on the security policies and procedures by a senior official of the PCO Security Operations. At that time he would have had to sign an acknowledgement. Note: Mr. Bernier does not recall the security briefing by the PCO Security Operation official but does have a recollection of him and senior members of his exempt staff receiving a similar briefing from S. Hurtibise the DM at Industry.|
|Aug 2007||DFAIT personnel brief Minister Bernier and Mr. Gairdner, his Chief of Staff, on security matters. The Minister delegates his Chief of Staff the security responsibility for Top Secret and higher classified material received from the Department. Susan Cartwright the Foreign and Defence Policy Advisor to the Prime Minister and the Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet is present. Note: At the time of his appointment Minister Bernier was provided with three spiral bound briefing books. Volume Three contained a copy of the Policies and Guidelines relating to Cabinet Ministers January 2007. It stipulates, “They [all persons in the minister's office] must also comply with other requirements for the safeguarding of government information and other assets.”|
|29 Mar 2008(Sat.)||14:25||Minister Bernier returns to Canada from an official visit to Sudan.|
|31 Mar 2008(Mon.)||Early afternoon||Michael Bornstein, Briefing Officer – DCB (DFAIT employee) hand delivers to Mary–Ann Strik, Admin. Assistant to the Senior Departmental Advisor – O/MINA (DFAIT employee) the standard eight (8) copies of the NATO Summit Conference background books classified as SECRET. Note: The Briefing Book is not numbered or tracked.|
|31 Mar 2008||Afternoon||Mary–Ann Strik hand delivers copies to the Administrative Assistants of the individuals preparing for the conference. Minister Bernier's copy was left with Mireille Farrell, Personal Assistant to the Minister (exempt staff) or Annik Lapratte–Goulet, the Minister's Scheduling Assistant (DFAIT employee assigned to the Minister's office).|
|31 Mar 2008||15:30||Minister Bernier attends a briefing on the Bucharest trip in the Whip's Office (15:30–16:00) and believes he has his copy on the NATO Summit Conference Background book for the briefing.|
|1 Apr 2008(Tues.)||Mid–morning||Michael Bornstein hand delivers the Scenario book and cue cards for the NATO conference to Mary–Ann Strik. Ms. Strik hand delivers them to the Minister's Office. Note: The scenario book was classified "Secret" but not numbered or tracked. The cue cards were not classified, numbered or tracked.|
|1 Apr 2008||19:35||Minister Bernier and his party depart Montreal on a flight to Frankfurt, Germany and make a connection to Bucharest, Romania arriving at 13:45 on April 2nd, 2008.|
|2 APR 2008(Wed.)||The Minister attends the NATO Summit Conference in Bucharest, Romania. The Minister says he left the NATO briefing material in his hotel room in an unlocked black lawyer's briefcase (the briefcase) and only retained his cue cards, with notes on the back, as his working documents.|
|3 Apr 2008(Thurs.)||The NATO Summit Conference continues. The Minister again leaves the NATO briefing material in his hotel room in the unlocked briefcase and only retains his cue cards, with notes he wrote on the back, as his working documents.|
|4 Apr 2008(Fri.)||08:00||Minister Bernier's Chauffeur, Gilles Parker, drives the Minister's official vehicle from Ottawa to the Montreal International Airport for the Minister's use when he returns. In the trunk is a suitcase containing Mr. Bernier's ski clothes. Mr. Parker returns to Ottawa by bus.|
|4 Apr 2008||14:25||The Minister and his party depart Bucharest and fly to Frankfurt with connections to Toronto and Montreal.|
|4 Apr 2008||22:15||Minister Bernier's flight arrives in Montreal. After collecting his luggage, he departs in the official vehicle and proceeds to Ms. Couillard's residence in Laval.|
|4 Apr 2008||Approx. 23:00||Minister Bernier arrives at Ms. Couillard's residence. He removes the suitcase used on the Bucharest trip, the briefcase containing the briefing package and another suitcase containing ski clothing from his vehicle and brings them into Ms. Couillard's residence. All three items are left in the entrance hallway at the bottom of the stairs leading to the 2nd floor.|
|5 Apr 2008(Sat.)||Approx. 00:00||Minister Bernier retires for the evening. There was no occasion or reason for Mr. Bernier to open his briefcase, and he does not have any recollection of opening it during his stay at Ms. Couillard's.|
|5 Apr 2008||Approx. 7:30||The Minister departs Ms. Couillard's with the two suitcases and his briefcase that he placed in the trunk of his car. He picks up his daughters at his ex–wife's residence in Westmount, Quebec and proceeds to his brother's residence in La Prairie. In La Prairie he leaves the two suitcases and the briefcase in the basement. He picks up his niece and travels to Bromont where they ski for the day.|
|5 Apr 2008||Approx. 15:00||The group returns to Mr. Bernier's brother's residence sometime after 15:00 where they remain until Sunday afternoon.|
|6 Apr 2008(Sun.)||Approx. 17:00||Minister Bernier departs La Prairie with his suitcases and the briefcase. He returns his daughters to their mother's residence in Westmount and drives to his residence in Ottawa.|
|7 Apr 2008(Mon.)||08:00||Minister Bernier returns to work at his DFAIT office. As is his usual practice, he spent a few minutes with his Administrative Assistant, Mireille Farrell, emptying his briefcase and giving instructions for handling the material. Neither he nor his staff is aware that the briefing package is missing and unaccounted for.|
|20 Apr 2008||The Minister receives a telephone call from Mr. Ian Brodie, the Prime Minister's Chief of Staff, alerting him to the rumours circulating regarding Ms. Couillard's past association with Montreal biker gangs. The Minister informs Mr. Brodie that he is unaware of Ms. Couillard's past association and offers to call Ms. Couillard to reassure the Chief of Staff. Mr. Brodie suggests he not call, as it would be upsetting if the rumours were unsubstantiated. Before it is reported in the media, the Minister has two conversations with Dimitri Soudas, the Prime Minister's Deputy Press Secretary and Quebec Advisor. Mr. Soudas informs the Minister that this is a serious situation and the media will likely report on the rumours.|
|22 Apr 2008(Tues.)||Minister Bernier attends a small fundraising gathering with the Montreal business community. The fundraiser, for his constituency association, has been planned for some time. Ms. Couillard was aware of the event and makes an appearance. After the event, the Minister and Ms. Couillard have a cocktail. The Minister relays the information he has received about the past associations. Ms. Couillard assures the Minister that the rumours circulating about the past are unfounded and that it is a media fabrication. (Note: At this time, Ms. Couillard does not take the opportunity to mention that the classified NATO briefing material is in her possession.)|
|8 May 2008||The Globe and Mail reports on Ms. Couillard's past association with Montreal biker gangs.|
|8 or 9 May 2008|
|Minister Bernier receives a telephone call from Ms. Couillard. She is very upset and crying. Minister Bernier recalls her saying, “You destroyed my life!:” “The journalists are here!” “Why didn't you tell me?” (Note: She makes no mention of the classified briefing package she has in her possession.)|
|25 May 2008(Sun.)||Approx. 14:00||The Minister's Chief of Staff receives a telephone call from Nadine Touma, Ms. Couillard's Montreal lawyer, advising that she has received government documents from Ms. Couillard with instructions that they be returned to the Minister. Mr. Gairdner contacts Douglas Abbott, Messenger and back up driver for the Minister and requests that he proceed to a Montreal address to collect a package and return it to Ottawa.|
|25 May 2008||Approx. 14:20||Douglas Abbott travels to Montreal and calls the telephone number provided by Mr. Gairdner. He speaks to a woman and arranges to pick up a package between 1700–1800 hrs.|
|25 May 2008||17:20||Mr. Abbott arrives at a law office in Montreal's Vieux Port. He is greeted by a young female who proceeds to make a photocopy of his DFAIT ID card. A male person NFI is also present in the office. Mr. Abbott took possession of a large sealed, brown envelope addressed to the Minister and marked “Personal and Confidential.” Mr. Abbott then returns to Ottawa.|
|25 May 2008||Approx. 18:00||Mr. Gairdner meets with Minister Bernier to advise him of Ms. Touma's call and the subsequent action he had taken. Mr. Gairdner alerts the Minister that this May be serious explaining to him that if the documents are classified there are precedents of Ministers resigning.|
|25 May 2008||20:00||Mr. Abbott and Mr. Parker meet at DFAIT where Mr. Parker takes possession of the envelope. He then goes to a location in Ottawa to pick up the Minister and Mr. Gairdner who were attending a dinner.|
|25 May 2008||Approx. 22:00||Minister Bernier and Mr. Gairdner leave the dinner and are met by Mr. Parker who has the envelope. The Minister opens the envelope and observes it contains the classified briefing material for the NATO Conference in Bucharest along with a hand written letter from Julie Couillard. Minister Bernier tells his Chief of Staff that he would advise the Prime Minister in the morning. Mr. Gairdner took possession of the documents and secured them at his residence for the evening.|
|26 May 2008(Mon.)||Forenoon||Mr. Gairdner secures the documents in his office safe. The Prime Minister and the Minister meet with the Ukrainian Head of State.|
|26 May 2008||14:15||During the time period that Question Period is in session, Minister Bernier meets with the Prime Minister, advises him of the security breach and offers his resignation. The PM informs Minister Bernier that he will consult with the Privy Council Office (PCO) and asks the Minister to draft a letter of resignation.|
|26 May 2008||Approx. 14:30||Minister Bernier calls Mr. Gairdner to advise him he has informed the Prime Minister of the incident and offered his resignation. Mr. Gairdner takes the documents to Mr. Brodie, the Prime Minister's Chief of Staff. Mr. Brodie photocopied the cover pages and purportedly gave them to Margaret Bloodworth, the National Security Advisory to the Prime Minister and Associate Secretary to the Cabinet.|
|26 May 2008||Afternoon||Mr. Gairdner returned to DFAIT, where he met with Stephen Rigby, Associate Deputy Minister, Foreign Affairs. Mr. Gairdner advised Mr. Rigby that Minister Bernier had spoken to the Prime Minister regarding the matter and tendered his resignation. Mr. Gairdner left the documents with Mr. Rigby.|
|26 May 2008||Afternoon||After his meeting with the Prime Minister, Mr. Bernier made a quick visit to his office in the Confederation Building, where he informed his Administrative Assistant of his resignation. He then returned to Parliament Hill, joined by his Chief of Staff, where they spent the remainder of the afternoon drafting his letter of resignation in French. In that letter he describes his actions as follows: “En fin d'après–midi aujourd'hui, je vous ai informé avoir appris hier soir que j'avais oublié des documents classifiés du gouvernement à une résidence privée. Monsieur le Premier ministre, l'infractions à la sécurité qui s'est produite est de ma faute et de ma faute uniquement, et j'en assume l'entière responsabilité. J'ai demandé au ministère des Affaires étrangères et du Commerce international de procéder à un examen exhaustif de la situation.” The letter was subsequently rushed through translation in anticipation of the official announcement. Mr. Bernier only signed the French version, which contains his words and thoughts on what transpired.|
|26 May 2008||Afternoon||After drafting and submitting his letter of resignation to the Prime Minister, Minister Bernier returns to DFAIT where he meets with Mr. Rigby, provides him with a copy of his resignation letter and requests an independent investigation be conducted into the matter.|
|26 May 2008||18:30||Minister Bernier meets with his exempt staff that has been gathered and informs them of the incident resulting in his resignation.|
|26 May 2008||21:14||Ms. Julie Couillard is interviewed on TVA–TV. When asked if she had ever come into possession of official documents, she is reported to have responded that Mr. Bernier came to her home, as he had in the past and that when he left, the document remained behind. (Literal translation)|
|27 May 2008 (Tues.)||Early morning||Mr. Rigby gives the documents to his Executive Assistant, Ms. Nancy–Louise Hustins, for safekeeping.|
|27 May 2008||DFAIT conducts a preliminary injury assessment which determined that the briefing package consisted of: (1) NATO Summit Background Book classified “Secret,” (2) a pocket sized NATO Summit Scenario booklet classified “Secret,” (3) and an unclassified Media Spokesperson's booklet. The documents were correctly identified as classified but contained no highly sensitive political and/or military information. The assessment determined the incident was unlikely to cause serious injury to the national interest. Briefs characterized the participating countries' positions but did not contain information that would constitute a national security risk. There were no NATO classified documents in the package but the NATO Office of Security was advised.|
|28 May 2008||DFAIT's DSO meets with Mr. Rigby and takes possession of the briefing package.|
|29 May 2008||The Director of Security Operations (PCO), DFAIT Director General, Security and Intelligence Bureau, and Director Corporate Security Division meet with BMCI Investigations & Security Ltd. to discuss the parameters of an independent administrative investigation into the inappropriate safeguarding of sensitive material.|
|30 May 2008||BMCI is contracted by DFAIT to conduct a limited administrative investigation.|
|2 JUN 2008||DFAIT Director, Corporate Security Division calls Counsel for Ms. Couillard seeking to have her meet with BMCI Investigators.|
|3 JUN 2008||12:18||DFAIT Director, Corporate Security Division follows up his call of June 2nd, 2008, and forwards a request to Counsel for Ms. Couillard proposing she meet, at her convenience, with BMCI Investigators as early as Friday June 6th, 2008.|
|4 JUN 2008||10:25||Counsel for Ms. Couillard responds to the Director's invitation indicating Ms. Couillard has been requested to appear before the Parliamentary Committee on Public Security between June 16th and 18th 2008; that while Ms. Couillard thanked the Director for the invitation, she must give priority to appearing before that committee. DFAIT was invited to pay close attention to her testimony, and if there were any outstanding questions, consideration would be given to meeting with the BMCI investigators, subject to her counsel reviewing the nature of the questions being advanced. (Literal translation)|
|10 JUN 2008||Interviews with DFAIT personnel and Ministerial exempt staff begin.|
|16 JUN 2008||Former Minister Bernier advised he will meet with the investigators in Montreal on Monday, June 23rd, 2008.|
|17 JUN 2008||Counsel for Ms. Couillard is quoted by the Montreal Gazette as having informed the Parliamentary Committee that Ms. Couillard is no longer prepared to appear before the Parliamentary Committee as his client could face charges under the Security of Information Act.|
|17 JUN 2008||14:29||In light of the development that Ms. Coulliard would no longer be testifying before the Parliamentary Committee on June 16th to 18th, 2008, DFAIT Director, Corporate Security Division, forwards a second request to the Counsel of Ms. Couillard seeking Ms. Coulliard's assistance in establishing the facts surrounding return of the Government documents.|
|17 JUN 2008||14:55||Counsel for Ms. Couillard advises it is his belief that it is the intention of the Members of the Official Opposition on the Parliamentary Committee to present a motion in September 2008 to compel Mr. Bernier and Ms. Couillard to appear before the Parliamentary Committee. Counsel further advised of their intention to give priority to Ms. Couillard's appearance before the Committee. As such, they would await the final outcome of the decision of the Committee and the House of Commons. Counsel also advised he had no intention of meeting the BMCI investigators. (Literal translation)|
|23 JUN 2008||10:00||Minister Bernier is interviewed at his counsel's office in Montreal. Marc–André Fabien, Counsel, is present throughout the interview.|