The Intelligence Cycle
CSIS gathers intelligence and disseminates its assessments to appropriate government clients using a process known as the “intelligence cycle.”
Requirements and Direction
The CSIS Act gives CSIS the mandate to investigate activities suspected of constituting threats to the security of Canada, including espionage, terrorism, violent extremism, foreign influenced activities and subversion of government through violence.
Through this mandate, CSIS receives direction from the Government of Canada on the intelligence requirements:
- Government Intelligence Priorities as established by Cabinet through discussion and consultation with the relevant Ministers and the Security and Intelligence community.
- Minister’s Direction on Intelligence Priorities, which translates the Government Intelligence Priorities into specific collection direction for CSIS.
The Government and Ministerial Direction on Intelligence Priorities, the CSIS Act and the needs of domestic partners are all taken into consideration when developing the annual collection strategy.
Responding to this direction, CSIS establishes internal direction and annual collection plans to meet the intelligence needs of Canadian government departments and agencies.
CSIS uses a variety of methods to collect information on threat actors whose activities are suspected of constituting a threat to national security.
This information is collected from various sources, including:
- Open sources
- Members of the public
- Human sources
- Foreign governments
- Canadian partners
- Technical interception of communications
Any intrusive measure, or those affecting the privacy of Canadians, requires obtaining a warrant authorised by the Federal Court.
CSIS analysts use their knowledge of regional, national and global trends to assess the quality of all types of information collected. The information is analysed in order to produce useful intelligence for clients and consumers.
CSIS analysts examine the information provided by other Canadian government departments and agencies, foreign intelligence agencies, intelligence collected through investigations, as well as open sources. The analysis process results in intelligence reports and threat assessments.
Dissemination and Feedback
CSIS disseminates intelligence products primarily to the Government of Canada and law enforcement authorities. CSIS also disseminates intelligence to its global intelligence alliance with the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, also known as Five Eyes partners, as well as other foreign partners.
An integral part of the intelligence cycle is collecting feedback on intelligence products from all partners. CSIS gathers product specific feedback from all partners and routinely gathers requirements from the Government of Canada to help shape and drive collection and production efforts.
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