Two months after the government was first asked to explain why a reference to abuse in a 2006 field report was redacted in 2007, but released uncensored in 2009, the questions having been put to three different departments, an answer, of sorts, arrives from the Justice Department.
Those questions, for the record, were as follows: In regards to the redaction noted below, who oversaw, ordered or made that redaction? On what grounds was that reference to abuse redacted? Did those grounds no longer apply when Gen. Natynczyk disclosed the reference to abuse last week?
I reprint the response received this morning here in its entirety.
The notion of impact on national security is defined according to the three-part test established by the Federal Court of Appeal in the case of Ribic v. Canada (Attorney General)(2003)185 C.C.C. (3d) 129 (F.C.A.).
Government agencies identify sensitive information by having their experts vet the relevant documents to identify national security concerns. Officials from the Department of Justice National Security Group then assess their submissions.
Officials apply the same test as would the Federal Court:
First, the officials must determine whether the information sought to be disclosed is relevant or not to the litigation. If not, it is not necessary to proceed any further.
Second, the officials must determine whether the disclosure of the information would be injurious to international relations, national defence or national security.
Third, if the officials conclude that the disclosure of the information would result in injury, they must determine whether the public interest in disclosure outweighs in importance the public interest in non-disclosure.
The Department of Justice must balance the claim of injury that may be caused by the release of the information against the public interest of disclosing the information.
For the record, since receiving this, I’ve asked if it might be possible to receive specific answers to my specific questions on this specific case.