Lawsuit claims ex-cop, Mountie lost security clearance over false CSIS reports

Click to play video: 'Two former police officers sue CSIS'
Two former police officers sue CSIS
WATCH: Two former police officers have launched a lawsuit against CSIS, alleging they wrongly had their security clearances revoked, negatively affecting their livelihoods. – May 2, 2024

Allegations of a botched investigation by Canada’s spy agency have landed in the courts.

An RCMP officer and an ex-Vancouver police officer are suing the government, alleging they were found guilty by association with a man under investigation for foreign interference. Both say they lost their security clearance and livelihood.

In a suit filed in federal court on April 3, RCMP officer and vice-president of the National Police Federation Peter Merrifield and retired Vancouver police detective Paul McNamara allege the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) “pursued a politically motivated agenda designed to show that it was taking a hard line on foreign interference from China.”

“Rather than examining and verifying actual information, CSIS simply made incomplete, inaccurate, misleading and false assertions about the Plaintiffs, and provided them to the Plaintiffs’ employers, knowing full well the harm that would follow,” the suit claims.

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Click to play video: 'Retired RCMP officer accused of foreign interference granted bail'
Retired RCMP officer accused of foreign interference granted bail

“(I) spent half my career on the streets here at Main and Hastings,” McNamara told Global News on Thursday.

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Despite his current challenge, if you take the long view of McNamara’s career, his achievements are nothing short of extraordinary.

“Homicides, ‘Mr. Bigs,’ drug cases,  stock market files,” he said of the various file types he handled in his policing career.

The former Vancouver police officer was among the handful of police with the skills to use deception to go after dangerous criminals.

When Simon Fraser University professor Melanie O’Neill was killed in 2011, it was McNamara’s work in a “Mr. Big” sting that led to a manslaughter plea by her boyfriend.

“I was the primary operator in that particular case,” he said.

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McNamara’s reputation got him a job running security at U.S. consulates in Canada, and his post-policing life appeared secure until a routine security clearance came back denied.

He claims Canada’s spy agency, CSIS was responsible.

The lawsuit claims, McNamara was told his clearance was pulled in 2021 “as a result of a CISIS report,” while Merrifield claims the RCMP told him his clearance was suspended for “cause” based on CSIS allegations.

“I haven’t even had a parking ticket,” McNamara said.

McNamara believes his friendship with former RCMP officer Bill Majcher compelled CSIS to tank his career.

Click to play video: 'Accused former Mountie William Majcher granted bail'
Accused former Mountie William Majcher granted bail

While Majcher has been charged with foreign interference related to his work in China, McNamara has never been accused of anything, let alone a plot by Beijing to interfere in Canada.

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Now he is suing the federal government.

“Twenty-six years of being a protector for Canadians results in a knife in my back from the very agencies that are supposed to protect us,” he said.

CSIS told Global News it would be inappropriate to comment while the case is before the courts.

In the meantime, McNamara is left figuring out how to support his family, while being blacklisted from many of the jobs someone with his background could do.

“With all the undercover work that I’ve done it never bothered me, the danger never bothered me, the risks,” he said.

“But what they did here stripped me of my identity, it stripped me of my value.”

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