Friday, April 08, 2011

Guess who is making news again today

Does it ever stop? "PM’s former adviser Carson had ties to money launderer."
A former adviser to the Prime Minister, now under scrutiny by the RCMP, bought a downtown Ottawa condominium with a former prostitute who was convicted of numerous offences in the United States, including money laundering, public records show.

Bruce Carson began his relationship with Barbara Lynn Khan in 2006, around the time he began advising Stephen Harper in his capacity as Prime Minister, according to a source who knows Ms. Khan.
There's an excerpt here that gets at what has probably crossed more than a few minds by now:
Several sources who have been interviewed for security clearances, both for themselves and others, noted this week that CSIS agents had pressed about such issues, and asked if there was anything in the subject’s past that might make them vulnerable to blackmail. Neither Mr. Carson nor his lawyer could be reached for comment.
"Vulnerable to blackmail." This is why these security clearances exist for those working at the highest levels of government.

It's still not clear exactly who was involved in Carson's security clearance but the Privy Council Office is certainly doing its darnedest to keep it away from William Elliott, the current RCMP Commissioner. There's a CBC report from last night (see also Canadian Press, Chronicle Herald) that a low level Privy Council Office official may have been the one to have cleared Carson. However, even the PCO spokesman who put out that information yesterday admitted that the low level PCO official would have ultimately reported to the then national security adviser, William Elliott. There's a memo CBC has which says Elliott as national security adviser was procedurally the person tasked with being a link to the prime minister when red flags are raised on a file.
The memo, sent to Harper in 2008 from the then head of the Privy Council Office, Kevin Lynch, includes an attached document dated January 2006 listing the official procedures for conducting “background checks,” and what to do if the findings of those investigations cause concerns.

“When problematic issues are identified, the national security adviser to the prime minister will personally convey the results of the checks to the prime minister or to the chief of staff to the prime minister," the attached document said.
The PCO official said yesterday that the outlined procedure did not apply to Carson's clearance. Why wouldn't it?

Irrespective of who cleared Carson, it's just not credible that a senior adviser to a Prime Minister has all this trash in his background and during his employment in the PMO and no one knows the whole story or red flags any of it. We should be concerned about the company that is being kept in the PMO. Kind of important.