There are clear indications that Mr. Fadden is reacting to the media controversy by putting some water in his wine. That’s too bad. A friend of mine recently gave me some good advice to pass along to the CSIS head:
He must either defend his position vigorously or perish in the retreat. I believe he can defend it and survive professionally, especially if he has evidence he can present. But he can also survive, if need be, with evidence he cannot present but can truthfully insist that he does have. But he cannot say what he has said, take it back and survive.
If he does not realize this he may make the wrong decision in a panic.
I once heard Ray Speaker say that when a public figure makes what appears to be a lethal gaffe, they need to get somewhere quiet and think whether it is something they need to retract or something they need to defend, because if they let themselves be badgered by the press before they are settled in their own minds they will alternate between the two in a hideous downward spiral.
Richard Fadden has done a service to Canada. He should not back down. He should continue to hold Canadians’ feet to the fire. It is his job to help protect us. If in his judgment he needs Canadians to know something about the challenges that need to be met in defending us and our interests, he must not shrink from the task. Pusillanimous politicians and armchair editorialists, both of whom would be baying for Fadden’s blood if he failed in his job of protecting us, should get off their moral high horses and accept his invitation to have an adult discussion about what democracies need to do in order to make themselves safe from people who wish us ill. So far, however, the chances of that reasoned debate occurring seem painfully remote.