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Has anyone ever had an interview with CSIS?
Dec 27th, 2016 at 11:42pm
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Has anyone ever had an interview with CSIS?

Anyone have any insight into their hiring process?

There are many threads on here about CIA/NSA but didn’t see anything on Canadian intel agencies. They must have similar hiring processes but no info on here that I could find.
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Re: Has anyone ever had an interview with CSIS?
Reply #1 - Dec 28th, 2016 at 10:13pm
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CSIS urged to end polygraph testing

Andrew Mitrovica

Toronto — ANDREW MITROVICA The Globe and Mail

Published Monday, Jun. 12, 2000 12:00AM EDT

Last updated Saturday, Mar. 21, 2009 4:34PM EDT

Canada's intelligence service should abolish the use of polygraph testing because the device is unreliable and has lost its scientific credibility, says the former head of the agency's polygraph unit.

"I agree it should be abolished if it is not done properly and I am not convinced that it is being done properly just about anywhere, including at CSIS," said Brian Lynch, a former chief psychologist at the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

Mr. Lynch said last week in an interview with The Globe and Mail that CSIS managers pressed him to divulge employees' confidential medical and psychological information.

One of the agencies acting as a watchdog for Canada's intelligence service says the allegations are a grave matter which could trigger a formal inquiry.

"It's obviously a very serious allegation to make," Maurice Archdeacon, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service's Inspector-General, said in a recent interview.

Mr. Archdeacon, who reports to Solicitor-General Lawrence MacAuley, said that, if true, the allegations may be investigated "more seriously."

Dr. John Service, executive-director of the Canadian Psychological Association, said the allegations were "troubling" and he would welcome any probe that would "get to the bottom" of the issue.

"We hold the confidentiality of client information very dear. It's very important," Dr. Service said.

Both men were responding to accusations made by Mr. Lynch who left CSIS in 1996 after spending 12 years at the service. He suggested last week that the pressure from some CSIS managers to provide the sensitive information became so untenable that he chose to leave the agency rather than agree to hand it over.

CSIS denies the allegation.

Mr. Lynch joined CSIS in 1984 and set up the new civilian intelligence service's combined polygraph testing and psychological assessment programs. 
He said the agency uses polygraph testing simply as a "pretense for interrogation."

The use of polygraph testing is a source of considerable friction between CSIS and its watchdog, the Security Intelligence Review Committee. SIRC has repeatedly urged CSIS to abolish the use of polygraph testing because it also believes it is unreliable.

Indeed, in seven consecutive annual reports from 1985-1986 to 1991-92, SIRC demanded that the solicitor-general and CSIS dump the polygraph, once even suggesting the device be thrown onto the "scrap-heap."

In its reports, SIRC said it had "grave doubts" about the use of the polygraph, pointing out that "even defenders of polygraph examinations admit that their results are sometimes are wrong 10 per cent of the time or more."

SIRC chairwoman Paule Gauthier reiterated the watchdog's desire to see CSIS abandon polygraph testing.

The only concession CSIS has made was to end mandatory testing for employees in the mid-1980s. However, SIRC noted in its 1986-87 report, anyone reluctant to take such a test "would inevitably be suspected of having something to hide."

Mr. Lynch said that polygraph testing was used on all new CSIS recruits and even occasionally for operational purposes.

"It was driven by the police community originally, historically and still primarily. It does not have the academic substance. It doesn't enjoy the kind of reliability that is inherent in most psychological tests," he said.

Mr. Lynch said that while he was head of polygraph testing, the device was not used to determine whether potential recruits were lying or being truthful, but rather to gauge physiological reactions that may warrant further "exploration."

The device "does not allow you to infer mendacity or outright lying," said Mr. Lynch, who is now a senior adviser at the Public Service Commission of Canada.

However, polygraph testing reverted to a tool of "interrogation" when responsibility for the program was assumed by the agency's internal security division in 1989, Mr. Lynch said.

"I thought it was a very bad move. It was being administered by non-psychologists. I thought that was not the way to go," he said.

Mr. Lynch said that despite its unreliability, polygraph testing was increasingly used at CSIS to "scope people out."

A CSIS spokesman refused a request for an interview.
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Re: Has anyone ever had an interview with CSIS?
Reply #2 - Dec 29th, 2016 at 10:41am
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Has anyone ever had an interview with CSIS?

Anyone have any insight into their hiring process?

There are many threads on here about CIA/NSA but didn’t see anything on Canadian intel agencies. They must have similar hiring processes but no info on here that I could find.

No, but I went to school with Richard Fadden, now head of the CSIS! Wink

What do we call it when every employee of the Agency's Office of Security
and Office of Personnel drowns in the Potomac?   A great beginning!

The best intelligence community employee is a compromised IC employee!
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Re: Has anyone ever had an interview with CSIS?
Reply #3 - Feb 18th, 2020 at 6:07am
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Has anyone had an interview for Intelligence Officer with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS)?

Anyone know what role play scenarios are asked at the competency interview?

There was some info on this thread but nothing recent about the role play scenarios.
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Re: Has anyone ever had an interview with CSIS?
Reply #4 - Apr 19th, 2020 at 8:59pm
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Has anyone had an interview for Intelligence Officer with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS)?

Anyone know what role play scenarios are asked at the competency interview?

There was some info on this thread but nothing recent about the role play scenarios.

They only change those interviews every few years, and most of the questions including the process remains 90%+ the same. Recently a few more rapid fire scenarios added but they don't change them much so it's interesting that so many rejected applicants never talk or post about them.  You see detailed posts about CIA, FBI, NSA applicants all the time, very detailed posts about interview questions and process experiences. Not sure why such a gap of information about CSIS, probably the types that apply are duller. The number of rejected applicants must be in the hundreds yearly in terms of of people who went through interviews, and many thousands in terms of applications.

The process is very long and convoluted, with at least 3 main HR interviews, and just as many on the security clearance side of things.

The questions are along the lines of the ones found at the link below, very little changes year after year, maybe a few new scenario questions and that's about it.

Should be interesting how they will ever recruit anyone now when they are so old school but now there is social distancing requirements government wide so pretty hard to do in person polygraphs or interviews anytime soon.
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Re: Has anyone ever had an interview with CSIS?
Reply #5 - Apr 19th, 2020 at 10:48pm
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The CSIS Polygraph

The RCMP and Department of National Defence (including Canadian Forces) do not use the polygraph in their Top Secret level security clearance process. Only security clearances either for CSIS or processed by CSIS at the Top Secret level use the polygraph. The polygraph is then repeated at 5 year renewal and reinvestigation intervals, or is supposed to be.

The problem with this approach is that aside from the polygraph not being used by the RCMP, DoD, and CF, which are much larger organizations than CSIS, the polygraph simply doesn’t work. Relaxing and "lying" with confidence can beat any polygraph. This is because you are not actually beating the machine, but instead the operator/interviewer. Such examiners are trained to recognize stereotypical behavioral body language cues often associated with nervousness and avoidance. False positives also occur for overly nervous or self-conscious individuals resulting in a deception indicated determination due to overreactions to questions (certain issues evoke an elevated physiological response because people exaggerate experiences or find the subject matter personally offensive). Polygraphs are practically useless if someone has different cultural attitudes in terms of lying and personal responsibility, which happens with various nationalities. Flatliners can retain emotional detachment to the questions and easily "beat" any polygraph. 

The polygraph is part stage prop, part pseudo-scientific instrument, part interrogation device, but mostly just serves as a psychological intimidation tool. At best, using the prop a skilled interviewer can elicit damaging admissions from a very naive and gullible subject during a re-investigation or applicant polygraph (via psychological conditioning, aka thinking it detects "lies" thus showing a "response"). Without admissions the polygraph at worst will result in a subjective inconclusive result. Naive and gullible means a subject who buys into the narrative and psychological conditioning and who has a fear that the instrument really works and so responds to the stimulus set.

These assumptions are supported by the fact that throughout the CSIS recruitment process the polygraph is mentioned from the very beginning, even though it is one of the very last steps. Applicants are warned during multiple interview stages to not conduct research or look up any information on any aspect of polygraph testing since doing this can jeopardize the ability of applicants to be assessed and to successfully "pass" the polygraph. It is constantly reinforced that applicants who read up on or do any research on the polygraph (as little as merely talk about the topic with others) are much more likely to have problems in "passing" the polygraph and run into difficulty during that step.

Why is this? It is because merely admitting to doing any sort of research on the polygraph is seen as an attempt to cheat and indicates a lack of integrity. This is because the polygraph only works if one is tricked or conditioned into believing it works. If one knows it doesn't work (because it doesn't) then the whole exercise becomes a sham and the conditioning no longer works since the carefully controlled psychological set is lost. It should also be stated that countermeasures are not necessary since the polygraph is next to useless to begin with, but countermeasures can sometimes help get a stronger pass or "cleaner" charts depending on the specific procedure used (if the directed lie comparison method is used for example). Since truth and lies are relative shades of grey and the polygraph cannot differentiate either, anyone researching this obvious fact is seen as suspicious or as potentially lacking integrity (aka trying to cheat and not being truthful).  

The best way to fail a polygraph is to admit to having visited Anti-polygraph or similar websites, which will immediately cause the examiner to think the applicant is trying to beat him and use countermeasures (because the applicant must be hiding something really bad and is most likely being deceitful while trying to hide the "truth"). Even if countermeasures were to be used, psychological countermeasures are effective and impossible to detect other than through direct subject admissions (perhaps another reason as to why applicants are told not to research anything about the polygraph or look up any information whatsoever about the test); because doing so makes the procedure almost useless (inserts external factors and issues that cannot be controlled in the psychological set conditioning).

Once again applicants are strongly warned to never conduct any research or look up any information about the polygraph from any source, and to not discuss the topic with anyone because doing so might cause them not to be able to be "assessed" during the test. This would be like saying if you read about how a tire pressure monitor device works then the tire pressure monitor might no longer be able to assess the tire pressure (no longer able to assess whether the tire is flat or not).

If the truth is relative, then how can deception be objectively assessed (or truth be verified) by any instrument? It truly is a wilderness of mirrors!
« Last Edit: Apr 19th, 2020 at 11:28pm by JointTaskForceX »  
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Re: Has anyone ever had an interview with CSIS?
Reply #6 - Dec 10th, 2020 at 12:33am
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Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) Intelligence Officer (IO) Interview

Ever wondered what they ask James Bond at the interview?

My friend did a phone interview with CSIS and wrote down most of the questions. See below what she was asked. It was hilarious because even though it was a phone/video interview, the HR person told her she was not allowed to look at any notes or consult any materials. And they wanted to be able to see her! Seriously, a phone interview where they tell you you’re not allowed to look at any notes or materials! Literally every other government department gives you the questions ahead of time to prepare. Oh and get this, the National Assessment Panel interview is conducted via video conference, but the candidate has to be physically present at a CSIS office! How’s that for CSIS ‘intelligence’ during the COVID Pandemic!?

By the way, when it came to the current event questions, the HR people were obviously clueless. HR came across as disorganized, out of touch, and disinterested.

Process wise, expect to spend several years in the process with never ending delays and repetitive overlapping interviews with various people, mostly HR types. If you eventually get hired, they’ll move you around several times anywhere in Canada, and if you don’t get hired (years after applying), you’ll get a generic email and zero feedback with no chance to follow-up. Total clown show, for a below average government salary in a non-unionized role.

They also keep referring to CSIS as “Our Organization”.
They start with warning you that you’re not allowed to read any notes or refer to anything.

Below are the questions they ask:

They ask about education and a completed Bachelors.

They ask you about current employment details and current driver’s licence.

What did you do to prepare for today’s interview?

Were you given any advice on how to prepare for this interview?

Have you ever been told my someone what to expect for an interview with CSIS?

Can you describe how your previous academic and work experience has prepared you for this role with CSIS?

In the last 10 years have you travelled outside of Canada? Details about travel were probed for reason and countries.

What influenced you to apply to the Intelligence Officer position?

Have you applied to other positions?

How does this position fit into your career plans?

What is your understanding of the relocation requirement?

They then discuss the Case Officer role and the mobility requirements after 3 years and that you can get sent to Manitoba or Quebec.
Is your partner/spouse ok with you relocating anywhere in Canada? Would relocation have an impact on immediate family or other personal obligations?

What is your understanding of the Intelligence Officer role?

Training course is 12 weeks for Case Officer role with some exposure to Investigator role. After 3 years of Case Officer role there is further training for the Investigator role. Between the Case Officer (HQ analyst) and Investigator (field/regional) role, do you prefer one more? Why are you interested more in that particular role? Do you foresee any challenges with this role? Intelligence Officers currently work in major cities anywhere in Canada with some travel requirements.

In your own words, can you summarize the theme of the articles you read from the written task you completed previously (summary of several newspaper articles on terrorism investigations)? What did you find the most difficult about the exam?

In your own words, what is the Service’s mandate?

Describe the four threats outlined in section 2 of the CSIS Act. Talk about espionage, foreign influence activities, terrorism, and subversion. Describe each one in your own words and what each means (asking for definitions). Explain the four threats outlined in the CSIS Act and explain what you think those threats are.

Identity one domestic and one international event that is relevant to CSIS. Both events should be within the last 12 months, and explain how they relates to CSIS’s mandate. 

We all have something that we would like to improve on. Discuss one personal and one professional trait that you would like to improve on.

Can you give an example of a poor decision you have made? Talk about why it was a poor decision, and what you learned from it. What types of decisions do you find the most difficult to make?

Can you describe a time when your values and beliefs impacted a professional relationship? It can be with a colleague, supervisor, or customer. Did you learn anything from the experience?

Can you tell me of a time when you worked on a team that you thought was going to be a success, but it turned out to be unsuccessful? Why did it turn out to be unsuccessful, and how did you manage the failure? Would you have done anything differently?

Provide an example of a time when you used your fact finding skills to get information needed to solve a problem.

Tell me about a task or project that you were responsible for that demonstrated your ability to analyze information. Did you experience any challenges?

Can you please provide one specific example from a personal and professional experience of a time when you received feedback and you had to change your way of doing things, although you disagreed. Provide one personal feedback example, and one professional feedback example. Example involves feedback received, and even though you disagreed, you decided to change your way of doing things based on the feedback. How do you feel about receiving feedback?

Do you have anything else that you would like to add that you feel could have an impact on your candidacy? Anything else that you would like to add?

We ask that you remain discreet about your application with us. 

We do conduct a polygraph exam. We advise that you do not do any research. If you’ve done some research in the past that’s ok, but if you are going to continue with the process we advise that you don’t do any research, because that could have an impact on your candidacy.

They are trying to assess if you are good fit in terms of your experience, education, and personality. 

The applications are quite slow compared to the usual 2-3 year time frame. Now more like 3-4 year time frame from online application to hire. They never count the 1 year you wait between applying online and actually doing an initial screening phone interview. Their 2 year estimate is closer to 3 years total, which is in reality 4 years at the present time from online application to hire since the in person steps cannot be done and their process doesn't adapt much. The pay is also sub par to other departments, plus poor working conditions with outdated technology, aside from mobility requirements and mandatory French.
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Re: Has anyone ever had an interview with CSIS?
Reply #7 - May 5th, 2024 at 9:22pm
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Just when you thought CSIS reached rock bottom, they took a page right from the RCMP sexual assault lawsuit playbook.

CSIS had officer investigated after she reported a superior raped her
Investigation into victim concluded alleged attacks were 'misuse' of agency vehicles by the woman

A CSIS officer's allegation that she was raped repeatedly by a superior in agency vehicles set off a harassment inquiry, but also triggered an investigation into her that concluded the alleged attacks were a "misuse" of agency vehicles by the woman.


She is the same officer whose sexual assault allegations in a story published by The Canadian Press prompted public pledges of reform last year from David Vigneault, the director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

The officer said she was never told she was the subject of an investigation, or that it concluded she committed misconduct by using "service equipment" to conduct what the investigator's report said was a "romantic relationship with a colleague."

The woman said she believed the investigation was reprisal for her rape complaint, and she only found out about the probe this year, 10 months after its conclusion, when she made an access-to-information request for her personal information held by the service.

She said she "absolutely was not" in a consenting relationship with the other officer.

The five-page "management report" by an outside party, which the officer provided to The Canadian Press, says they were retained by CSIS on Nov. 18, 2021 to investigate "allegations of misconduct against" the woman.

That was eight days after she had formally alleged to CSIS that she was raped nine times by an officer decades older than her, who had been assigned to mentor her on surveillance missions as her "road coach."

The woman cannot be named because of a law banning identification of covert officers, but she is called "Jane Doe" in a previous lawsuit against the government.

Lawsuit documents filed in British Columbia by two Canadian Security Intelligence Service surveillance officers. The anonymized lawsuits by officers identified as "Jane Doe" and "A.B." describe alleged sexual assaults, harassment and other wrongdoing in the B.C. office of Canada's spy agency. The women, who are on leave from the service, are forbidden by law from identifying themselves or other covert officers. (Graeme Roy/The Canadian Press)
She and another surveillance officer in the CSIS British Columbia office said they were both sexually assaulted in service vehicles by the same senior officer while on missions between July 2019 to spring 2021. Jane Doe said that on one occasion, a mission failed because her coach broke off surveillance of a target to drive to a parking garage to rape her.

"This report is such an incredible violation," Jane Doe said of the investigation into her.

She called the management report "the exact definition of a reprisal," which she told an investigator in 2022 was her fear when she delayed reporting the allegations. At the time, she said she believed she was being interviewed as part of an investigation into her alleged attacker, not herself.

Jane Doe said her complaint was the only reason CSIS became aware of her own alleged misconduct.

"What would I have to gain from making up a fake complaint to draw attention to myself and all of the code-of-conduct things that I apparently breached?" she asked.

"It doesn't make any sense, so the fact that that report is allowed to even exist shows that I didn't have a fighting chance in hell," she said of her attempts to get justice for her complaint.

Jane Doe said she was told by a federal labour relations officer that she was not informed about the report because she was on leave when it was handed down and CSIS believed she should be focused on her well-being.

An email from the labour officer on Tuesday, which Jane Doe shared with The Canadian Press, says the report was not "intentionally hidden."

Jane Doe is currently on long-term disability leave, due to being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Asked about the investigation into the woman, CSIS spokesperson Eric Balsam issued a statement saying: "Immediately upon learning of the allegations of inappropriate workplace behaviour, CSIS launched a third-party investigation without delay."

He said that in situations where "harassment, discrimination or misconduct" have been found to have occurred, disciplinary action "up to the termination of employment" would be decided by a discipline committee.

When asked to confirm that the complainant had herself been investigated, Balsam said "the situation is complex and sensitive" and "it would be inappropriate for CSIS to comment further on specific labour relations issues."

Claims of toxic workplace at CSIS absolutely 'devastating,' PM says
B.C. Supreme Court dismisses sexual assault lawsuit from former CSIS employee due to lack of jurisdiction
Matt Malone, an assistant law professor at Thomson Rivers University who has handled hundreds of complaints as a workplace investigator, said Jane Doe's treatment was "mind-boggling."

Making a workplace harassment complaint is a "protected activity," Malone said, and complainants who become targets of investigations without their knowledge are in "a very vulnerable position."

"They are not aware that their conduct might undermine the integrity of the investigation," he said. "It raises so many difficult questions."

Both Jane Doe and the other officer who said she was assaulted have said they did not feel they could go to police because the CSIS Act banned identifying themselves or their alleged attacker as covert officers, an action punishable by up to five years in prison. The women, who are both still employed by CSIS, said a flawed internal complaint process left victims vulnerable to retaliation.

When the women's claims came to light last November, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called them "devastating" and said his government was following up "very directly."

Days after the story was published, Vigneault called a town hall meeting for all 3,000-plus CSIS staff about the women's allegations, which he said left him "deeply troubled." He told staff the alleged rapist had left the service the day before the meeting and that he was ordering the "urgent" creation of an ombudsperson's office to handle workplace problems "without fear of reprisal."

Vigneault also said the agency would release annual public reports on harassment and wrongdoing in the agency.

There was no mention that Jane Doe had been put under investigation.

Investigation made officer 'nauseous'
The outside investigator's "final report" into Jane Doe is dated April 12, 2023, but she said she only found out about it this February.

She said discovering the investigation made her "nauseous." She said that when she read that the investigators had been retained to look into her conduct eight days after her rape complaint, she thought it was a typo.

"I don't know if they have been investigating me basically since I submitted the complaint or if this was a reaction to the investigation," she said. "Regardless, I didn't know that they were doing it, even though it claims that I did."

The misconduct report is heavily redacted. But it concludes Jane Doe breached the service's code of conduct due to "inappropriate use of service equipment while on duty" and withholding "information from management regarding a romantic relationship with a colleague."

It quotes her alleged attacker as saying he is "sorry that a consensual relationship resulted in improper use of government (redacted) and time."

The report says Jane Doe did not report the "relationship" over "fear of reprisals," quoting her as indicating that she "was afraid of how it would affect my employment in the service, how it (would) affect my reputation and my ability to continue working there, and I was not mentally and emotionally in a position to accept what had happened."

The report says her alleged breaches of CSIS' conduct policy "surfaced in the context of a harassment investigation."

Investigator didn't ask for specifics
She told The Canadian Press that during her 2022 interview, the investigator didn't ask her for any specifics about the alleged sexual assaults, which she had documented in her complaint with dates, times and locations.

At the time, she said, she thought the investigator was being considerate.

"I even thanked him at the end of it for not asking because it was still a very new thing for me to talk about and I was so nervous and so uncomfortable," she said.

Now, understanding that she was being investigated, she said it felt like she was put in "a trap."

The lack of specifics in that interview was "weird," she said, because "there were so many things that he didn't want to know."

"It was like he wasn't asking so that he didn't have to have the answer, so that he wouldn't have to include that in any of his findings, so the less he knows the better," she said.

She said the "evidence" the report relied upon to conclude that the relationship was consensual, including the other officer's claims and pictures of the two together outside work, were "lies."

"So, him and I were in a photograph, a group photograph, together. Did that prove I wanted to have sex with him at work?" she said.

A glass and concrete building featuring the sign "The Law Courts".
The B.C. Supreme Court dismissed Jane Doe's lawsuit against the federal government, claiming constructive dismissal and seeking damages. It did not rule on her allegations but found she hadn't exhausted CSIS internal complaint mechanisms. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)
Malone said that whether an employer's actions against a person who lodged a complaint could be considered "retaliatory" depends on many factors, including the time between the two actions, or "temporal proximity."

"Adverse actions following an employee complaint that come within a short time frame might suggest that there's retaliatory motive on the part of the employer," he said. "In this case, temporal proximity is a major factor, because it's mere days."

Malone said it's standard practice to inform an employee if they're under investigation to let them respond. Jane Doe said she believes the service breached its own policy by failing to inform her.

Malone, who reviewed the CSIS "Breaches of Conduct" policy, said he was "shocked" by what he called a "clear deviation from their own policy."

"But beyond that, it's a deviation from due process and fair procedure," he said.

The service's policy says employees under investigation must be notified about the nature of the allegations against them, be given a chance to respond, be notified if they're found in breach and be given a copy of the report. Jane Doe said none of that happened.

"I can't defend myself against something that I don't know anything about," she said.

The B.C. Supreme Court dismissed Jane Doe's lawsuit against the federal government, claiming constructive dismissal and seeking damages, in September 2023. It did not rule on her allegations but found she hadn't exhausted CSIS internal complaint mechanisms.

She said she has now abandoned plans to appeal and is exploring CSIS's formal grievance procedures.

"It's already been my life for over two years and the damage that it's done to my mental health. And my career, obviously, is now non-existent, and I don't see myself being able to get that back on track with this hanging over my head," she said.

"They just wear you down until you can't take it anymore. I'm sure I'm not the first and I'm sure I won't be the last."

The lawsuit by the second officer who says she was sexually assaulted has not received a response from CSIS.
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