Hillary Clinton was warned in 2010 that U.S.-Canada intelligence sharing ‘may be controversial for Canadians’

Huma warned Hillary in 2010 that cables from the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa could cause problems for Stephen government, emails released Thursday show.

“Two cables set for release contain especially sensitive information on counterterrorism and intelligence sharing. The depth of bilateral cooperation detailed in the cables may be controversial for Canadians,” said longtime Clinton-advisor Abedin.

The email between Abedin and the then-U.S. Secretary of State is one of 357 by the State in response to a lawsuit. More emails are scheduled for release Friday.

Abedin’s email was sent on Nov. 27 2010. On Nov. 29 the New York Times published a story detailing a 2008 conversation between the former head of the Canadian Security Intelligence Jim Judd and senior State Department counsellor Eliot Cohen.

The story details a conversation where Judd told Cohen that Canada received warning the Taliban was planning an explosion at Sarpoza Prison in Kandahar but was unable to “get a handle on the timing.”

This seemed to contradict a statement made by former chief of defence staff General Rick Hillier that: “Obviously we would have liked to have known so we could have pre-empted or helped, more accurately, the Afghans pre-empt that kind of thing.”

The New York Times story was based on documents leaked to WikiLeaks detailing correspondence from U.S. diplomatic officials around the world, including staff from the embassy in Ottawa.

One of the most significant revelations was the Canadian government’s concern in 2004 that they were being locked out of as punishment for not joining the U.S.-led war in Iraq. One leaked document said the Canadian government had: “expressed concern at multiple levels that their exclusion from a traditional ‘four-eyes’ construct is ‘punishment’ for Canada’s nonparticipation in Iraq and they fear that the Iraq-related channel may evolve into a more permanent ‘three-eyes’ only structure.”

The Five Eyes network is an alliance between the signals intelligence agencies of Canada, the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom and New Zealand. Signals intelligence agencies focus on monitoring people via telephone and computer instead of by relying on human agents to monitor them in person. The five countries divided the world during the Cold War with each spying on certain regions and all sharing the information they intercepted. The United States temporarily restricted Canada and New Zealand’s access within the Five Eyes network following both countries reluctance to join the 2003 war in Iraq.

Postmedia/FileFormer CSIS boss, Jim Judd

Abedin was concerned the revelations might cause problems for the Harper government. “Canadian press coverage of the issue may put additional pressure on the Harper government,” said Abedin.

Abedin need not have worried. Canadian coverage at the time largely focused on a comment from Judd that Canada had an “Alice in Wonderland” attitude on terrorism and a cable prepared prior to Barack Obama’s visit to Ottawa in 2009 claiming that Canada had an “inherent inferiority complex” when it came to the United States.

The emails released Thursday demonstrate how the United States and Canada worked behind the scenes to downplay the importance of the 2010 revelations.

“Ambassador Jacobson saw Foreign Minister Cannon the evening of November 24 and reviewed the substance of the cables in The New York Times’ cache,” said Abedin, adding: “Cannon said he did not see any serious problems for the government.”

The significance of Canada’s role in the Five Eyes alliance became clearer in 2013 when leaked information from whistle blower Edward Snowden showed that Canada’s Communications Security Establishment set up covert spy posts in about twenty countries on behalf of the United State’s National Security Agency .

Those revelations sparked a debate in Canada about whether there is sufficient oversight over Canada’s . In response, Stephen Harper’s government passed Bill C-51, which granted significant new powers to the . Justin Trudeau promised to alter Bill C-51 to include more oversight provisions during the 2015 federal election campaign but has yet to do so.

On Thursday a Federal Court judge ruled that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service broke the law by keeping potentially revealing data about Canadians over a 10-year period.

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