National security adviser’s involvement in India incident ‘extraordinary’: Fadden

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OTTAWA – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s national security adviser Daniel Jean is set to testify before MPs Monday, on what his predecessor characterizes as his “rather extraordinary” involvement in a politically charged story.

The televised noon-hour meeting of the House Public Safety and National Security is expected to be dominated by discussion of Trudeau’s troubled trip to India, which has dogged the Liberals since February.

Jean had become the man at the centre of a heated political and procedural fight in the House of Commons, with Conservative MPs imploring the government to allow him to appear at the committee to give the same briefing he offered reporters after photos surfaced of attempted murderer Jaspal Atwal with Sophie Gregoire Trudeau at an event in India.

In that background briefing, Jean suggested that rogue elements in the Indian government may have tried to damage Trudeau’s trip to India in February, a theory others have since disputed. This fight prompted 21 hours of votes, and has had the opposition on attack during question period for over a month.

“I’ve never seen a national security adviser involve himself in this sort of thing before, I thought it was a little, rather extraordinary,” said Richard Fadden, former national security adviser to both Trudeau and prime minister Stephen Harper.

In an interview on CTV’s Question Period he predicted Monday’s meeting will be interesting, but Jean will be limited in what he’ll be able to say to the public.

“He will not be able to reveal any national security secrets,” Fadden said. “I suspect he’s going to leave the committee relatively unsatisfied… he’s only going to be able to repeat what’s already in the public domain.”

Fadden was doubtful that Jean will come out and take full responsibility for the matter, saying it would be unusual for that to actually be the case.

“There’s a general rule in the public service, including for the national security adviser, is that you don’t deal with the media, without some measure of clearance from your political masters,” he said.

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