The curtain will be drawn back this week on the normally top-secret operations of Canada's biggest spy agency, as lawyers for Omar Khadr, the 21-year-old Toronto-born man detained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, are expected to release video footage of his interrogation there by agents of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.
Four formerly classified DVDs, to be released Tuesday, show CSIS questioning Khadr, then a teenager, at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, where he has spent the past six years.
The footage was filmed during seven hours of interrogations by a lone CSIS agent over three days in February 2003.
The videos show Khadr being asked what he knows of al-Qaeda operatives and about his Islamic faith. At several moments, Khadr, who was raised in a fundamentalist Islamic milieu that included his father's al-Qaeda acquaintances, breaks down and begins crying.
The release of the videos by Khadr's defence lawyers will be a source of potential embarrassment for CSIS and the Canadian government.
CSIS and the Foreign Affairs Ministry were granted special permission by the U.S. Defence Department to question Khadr after he was brought to Guantanamo Bay following his capture in Afghanistan. But the resulting video footage shot by U.S. government agents was never intended for public viewing.
The DVDs are being made public under a court order obtained by Khadr's lawyers. In May, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that branches of the Canadian government had to hand over key evidence against Khadr to his legal team to allow a full defence of the charges against him, which include accusations by the U.S. that he spied for and provided material support to terrorists.
Several Canadian media organizations then applied for and obtained the release of the DVDs, as well as a package of documents that made headlines last week.