Values and Security Service Activities

AuthorCraig Forcese
 
Values and Security Service
is and the next chapter discuss six values constituting the founda-
tion of the national security system in Canada. I divide these values
into two categories: values that aect the conduct of security service
activities and values that guide the democratic regulation of the secur-
ity services. e rst category includes the values of ecacy and e-
ciency, legality, and proportionality and necessity. e second category
contains the values of bounded transparency, control, and scrutiny.
Ecacy/eciency and legality are sometimes perceived as a sort of
zero-sum teeter-totter, where tilting toward one necessarily diminishes
the other. In a liberal democracy, however, each is best approached as a
prerequisite to the other, creating a synergy. Proportionality/necessity
supports both legality and ecacy/eciency, capping excesses that
may be disruptive of both values. Bounded transparency permits the
operation of control and scrutiny. Control and scrutiny are forms of
democratic regulation aimed at holding the security services account-
able for meeting the prior three values: ecacy/eciency, legality, and
Together, these values produce a “social compact model” of sec-
urity service conduct. is model envisages security services endowed
with a social or democratic licence reconciling the tensions stemming
 | Fundamentals of National Security Accountability in Canada
from their existence in a liberal democratic state. As David Omand
urges, discussing the United Kingdom, the essence of this model
is that through open debate, Parliament and the public can come to
accept [that] the secret parts of the state are necessary to the func-
tioning and protection of an open society and that they require pow-
ers laid down in legislation. At the same time, Parliament and the
public must also accept intelligence operations cannot be more than
minimally transparent without defeating their own purpose. However,
these operations are tolerated only on three conditions (threeRs): all
activity is conducted within the rule of law, there is regulation and
proper democratic accountability, and authorities exercise restraint
to respect the privacy [and other rights] of the individual and apply
the legal principles of proportionality and necessity at every stage.
is chapter discusses the values guiding security service conduct,
while the next chapter examines values animating the democratic
regulation of the security services.
“Ecacy” is the “capacity to produce eects. In the context of a secur-
ity service, it is the ability to achieve the entity’s mandates eective-
ness, in other words. “Eciency” is the related concept of producing
these desired outcomes with minimum waste.
Ecacy in the national security system requires a match between
the methods, practices, and human and physical resources of the sec-
urity service and what is required to accomplish its stated mandates.
For example, an ecacious intelligence service is one with the legal
powers and human and technical methods and personnel required to
intercept the communications of threat actors while exhibiting prac-
tices that minimize the prospect that the threat actor will anticipate
(and avoid) this intercept. It will also be an intelligence service with
human and technical methods to analyze the information it collects
1 David Omand & Mark Phythian, Principled Spying: The Ethics of Secret Intelligence (Wash-
ington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2018) at 51 [emphasis in original].
2 Oxford English Dictionary [online], sub verbo “ecacy.

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