Project Leaders

  • Alan Barnes – Senior Fellow, Centre for Security, Intelligence and Defence Studies at the Norman Paterson School of International Studies, Carleton University –
  • Timothy Sayle – Assistant Professor, Department of History, and Senior Fellow, Bill Graham Centre for Contemporary International History at the University of Toronto –

Institutional Partners

  • Centre for Security, Intelligence and Defence Studies, Carleton University
  • Bill Graham Centre for Contemporary International History, University of Toronto
  • Canadian Association of Security and Intelligence Studies

For information on becoming a CFIHP partner, please contact Alan Barnes at


The Canadian Foreign Intelligence History Project (CFIHP) seeks to encourage the study of the history of the foreign intelligence assessment function in Canada by facilitating the exchange of information among researchers and providing a forum for formal and informal collaboration through workshops and conferences.

This collaborative effort will provide a foundation for the greater integration of the history of intelligence assessment into the broader study of Canadian foreign and defence policy in order to inform students, scholars and policy-makers.

Research Focus

While not excluding related subjects, the CFIHP will principally concentrate on:

  • The management structures governing foreign intelligence in Canada
  • The organizations involved in foreign intelligence collection and analysis in Canada
  • The foreign intelligence assessments produced by these organizations and their impact on Canadian foreign and defence policy decisions
  • The comparison of the Canadian foreign intelligence analytic structure and assessments with those of other countries, particularly Canada’s main intelligence allies

The CFIHP aims to complement—without duplicating—the work that is being done on the history of security intelligence in Canada, including study of the RCMP Security Service and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

The CFIHP Collaborative Network

CFIHP partners engage in active collaboration in various ways:

  • Sharing draft and finished research via the CFIHP website, workshops and conferences
  • Sharing published articles and other finished research for inclusion in the CFIHP database
  • Coordination of ATI requests and the sharing of best practices in accessing the ATI request process
  • Sharing documentation obtained via ATI requests for inclusion on the CFIHP database
  • Sharing of archival finding aids and other research tools

CFIHP Database

The CFIHP has created a database of declassified and unclassified documents related to the history of intelligence assessment in Canada. Most of these records were obtained through a comprehensive and continuing campaign of requests through the Access to Information (ATI) process. Access to this database is currently limited to CFIHP partners, who are encouraged to contribute additional documentation.

In due course, the database will be integrated with the Canadian National Security Archives that is currently in development in order to make the documentation available to researchers outside the CFIHP network.

Database Contents

The CFIHP database is continually being updated with new material as it becomes available through ATI releases. A large proportion of the documents are from the period 1942-1971, but there is a growing number of documents from the period 1971-1993, as well as some more recent documentation. Most of these records have not previously been available to researchers. The documents are stored in the form of PDF files. The following description is intended to provide a broad illustration of the types of records that are available to CFIHP partners. The actual contents will change as new documents are added to the collection.

  • Archival files released under the ATIA
    • The archival files currently available are from Library and Archives Canada and include records primarily from the Department of National Defence, Department of External Affairs, Privy Council Office and Canadian Security Intelligence Service, largely from the period 1945-1990.
    • In the near future some archival files from DND Directorate of History and Heritage from the period 1945-65 are expected to be added to the database.
  • Other records released under the ATIA
    • Records from the Department of National Defence, Privy Council Office, Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Security Intelligence Review Committee, Canada Border Services Agency and RCMP, dating from after 2000.
  • Selected documents
    • Several thousand documents related to intelligence assessments, organizational or community management issues have been extracted from the archival files and tagged with keywords to facilitate searches. In addition to the material obtained through the ATI process, selected documents held by LAC and DND/DHH that are open to researchers have been digitized and included in the database.
    • Documents include:
      • Over 290 Canadian Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) assessments, 1946-71
      • A limited number of Intelligence Advisory Committee (IAC) assessments, 1971-95
      • Assessments produced by the Foreign Intelligence Bureau of the Department of External Affairs, 1985-92
      • JIC minutes, 1942-57
      • JIC documents dealing with work plans and organizational issues, 1942-66
      • IAC documents dealing with work plans and organizational issues, 1972-90
      • Chiefs of Staff Committee minutes dealing with intelligence issues, 1945-62
      • Joint Intelligence Bureau (JIB) reports, 1948-68
      • Special Research Bureau (SRB) reports, 1968-76
      • Cabinet Committee on Security and Intelligence (CCSI) documents, 1963-80
      • Inter-departmental Committee on Security and Intelligence (ICSI) documents, 1972-91
  • Research aids and ATI Request Log
    • LAC and DND/DHH finding aids related to intelligence assessment and organizational issues
    • Log of completed and pending ATI requests to facilitate effective coordination of new requests
  • Histories, Articles, Drafts
    • Draft history of the Canadian intelligence community, 1945-70, prepared for PCO by Dr. Wesley Wark
    • Articles and draft papers shared by CFIHP partners


  • 12-14 November 2020 – Annual Conference, North American Society for Intelligence History and Canadian Foreign Intelligence History Project, Trinity College, University of Toronto


History of Canadian foreign intelligence assessment and related subjects

Scott Anderson. “The Evolution of the Canadian Intelligence Establishment, 1945-1950” Intelligence and National Security, Vol. 9 No. 3 (July 1994) pp. 448-471

Lawrence Aronson. “Preparing for Armageddon: JIC 1 (Final) and the Soviet Attack on Canada”, Intelligence and National Security, Vol. 19 No. 3 (Autumn 2004) pp. 490-510

Alan Barnes. “A Confusion, not a System: The Organizational Evolution of Strategic Intelligence Assessment in Canada, 1943 to 2003,” Intelligence and National Security, 34:4, 464-479 full?target=10.1080/02684527.2019.1578043

Alan Barnes. “First Steps: Intelligence Analysis in Canada during the Second World War,” Canadian Military History, Vol. 29, no. 1 (2020), Article 1.

Alan Barnes. Getting it Right: Canadian Intelligence Assessments on Iraq, 2002-03. Intelligence and National Security (published on-line 28 May 2020).

John Bryden, Best Kept Secret: Canadian Secret Intelligence in the Second World War (Toronto: Lester 1993)

Kurt F. Jensen, “Canada’s Foreign Intelligence Interview Program, 1953-90″, Intelligence and National Security, Vol. 19, No. 1, Spring 2004, pp. 95-104

Kurt F. Jensen, Cautious Beginnings: Canadian Foreign Intelligence, 1939-51. (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2008)

Wesley K. Wark. “The Evolution of Military Intelligence in Canada” Armed Forces and Society, Vol. 16 No. 1 (Fall 1989) pp. 77-98

History of intelligence assessment in other countries

Richard J. Aldrich, Rory Cormac and Michael S. Goodman. Spying on the World: The Declassified Documents of the Joint Intelligence Committee, 1936-2013 (Edinburgh: University Press, 2014)

Huw Dylan, Defence Intelligence and the Cold War: Britain’s Joint Intelligence Bureau 1945–1964 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014).

Lawrence Freedman. U.S. Intelligence and the Soviet Strategic Threat (Princeton University Press, 1986)

Michael S. Goodman. The Official History of the Joint Intelligence Committee, Volume 1: From the Approach of the Second World War to the Suez Crisis (London: Routledge, 2014)

Gerald Haines and Robert Leggett, eds. CIA’s Analysis of the Soviet Union 1947-1991: A Documentary Collection. (Washington DC.: Central Intelligence Agency, 2001)

John Hedley, “The Evolution of Intelligence Analysis,” in Roger George and James Bruce (eds.) Analyzing Intelligence: Origins, Obstacles and Innovations. (Washington D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2008)

Richard Kerr, “The Track Record: CIA Analysis from 1950 to 2000,” in Roger George and James Bruce (eds.) Analyzing Intelligence: Origins, Obstacles and Innovations. (Washington D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2008)

Scott Koch (ed.), Selected Estimates on the Soviet Union, 1950-59. (Washington D.DC.: Central Intelligence Agency, 1993)

Paul Maddrell (ed.). The Image of the Enemy: Intelligence Analysis of Adversaries since 1945. (Washington D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2015)

E.R. May (ed.). Knowing One’s Enemies: Intelligence Assessment Before the Two World Wars. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986)

Willard Matthias. America’s Strategic Blunders: Intelligence Analysis and National Security Policy, 1936-1991. (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2001)

L.L. Montague, “The Origins of National Intelligence Estimating”, CIA Studies in Intelligence Vol. 16 No. 2 (Spring 1972), pp. 63-70

John Prados, The Soviet Estimate: U.S. Intelligence Analysis and Russian Military Strength. (New York: Dial Press, 1982)

Donald Steury (ed.), Intentions and Capabilities: Estimates on Soviet Strategic Forces, 1950-1983. (Washington D.C.: Central Intelligence Agency, 1996)

Gregory Treverton, The 2007 National Intelligence Estimate on Iran’s Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities (Washington D.C.: Central Intelligence Agency, 2013)

Gregory Treverton and Renanah Miles, Unheeded Warning of War: Why Policymakers Ignored the 1990 Yugoslavia Estimate (Washington D.C.: Central Intelligence Agency, 2015)

Larry A. Valero, “The American Joint Intelligence Committee and Estimates of the Soviet Union, 1945-1947,” CIA Studies in Intelligence (Summer 2000)

Garry Woodward, “Enigmatic Variations: The Development of National Intelligence Assessment in Australia”, Intelligence and National Security Vol. 16 No. 1 (2001), pp. 1-23

Internet Resources

Declassified US National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs): CIA Freedom of Information Act Reading Room “National Intelligence Council Collection” –

National Security Archive, George Washington University –