Momin Khawaja, infiltrating Canadian security agencies?
f terrorism suspect Momin Khawaja, now on trial in Ottawa, is as guilty as Crown prosecutors say, it’ll be time to settle an important question: Was Mr. Khawaja a “Naji man”?
Amid trial allegations, court details and defence objections, significant questions arise about Mr. Khawaja’s status as a consultant to the Department of Foreign Affairs at about the time of his arrest. Prosecutors claim the software contractor used his perch inside the department to send streams of E-mails to confederates abroad – that federal resources were, in other words, used to advance terror plots. Authorities also say Mr. Khawaja might have used privileged Foreign Affairs department travel documents to travel on his “missions.” And that he allegedly suggested using special departmental courier services to send bomb-related equipment to foreign associates, in the apparent belief that a government imprimatur on shipments confers immunity from customs searches.
Insiders can do a lot of damage in sensitive government and private-sector establishments. From intelligence organizations to banks, history is replete with examples of infiltrators and penetrators undermining computer systems, removing money, spilling secrets. Remember Barings Bank? Kim Philby?
So questions must be asked. If, for the sake of argument, Mr. Khawaja was working against Canadians and their allies, what access did he have to departmental personnel, to electronic records, communications and associated encryption systems? Who recommended and hired him in the first place? A friend? If the government’s version is correct, why would a software consultant be so confident about his access to special courier services? Did he have a network of friends at the department? It is early days, and no decisive answers are on offer.
Must pay attention to this trial: it’s going to be pretty interesting..