A bomb scare near Parliament Hill that drew investigative resources from major national security services appears to have been based on bad information, two senior Canadian intelligence sources told Global News.
Police descended on the area surrounding the parliament buildings Saturday after receiving what sources called credible intelligence about potential explosives in the area.
Emergency call logs reviewed by Global News showed the Ottawa Police Service searched two vehicles – one at the busy intersection of Slater and Metcalfe streets, three blocks south of Parliament Hill, and another near the Supreme Court – and detained at least two people.
The initial tip was detailed, sources said Sunday, and included names, photographs and license plate numbers.
But multiple sources said Sunday the searches turned up no explosives, and Ottawa cops said there was no imminent threat to the public.
Tensions have been high in the parliamentary precinct since last February’s convoy protests, which saw an encampment of trucks and protesters occupy the streets around the Hill for weeks before the Liberal government invoked emergency powers to clear the demonstration.
The government’s unprecedented decision to turn to the Emergencies Act is now subject to scrutiny by multiple parliamentary committees and an independent judicial inquiry.
Multiple law enforcement and intelligence sources said Saturday that the tip was based on intelligence from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), which suggested some international nexus to the perceived threat.
The investigation drew in an RCMP-led national security team and the Parliamentary Protective Service, who are responsible for security on Parliament Hill.
The PPS issued a “shelter in place” order for MPs, senators and staff who were in the precinct on Saturday afternoon, as police worked to “clear” the two suspect vehicles.
Since the false alarm, questions have arisen within the security and intelligence community about the providence of the initial tip and how the information was vetted.
A spokesperson for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, which is responsible for investigating domestic national security threats, said the agency had no information about the incident and referred Global News to the Ottawa Police Service.
Multiple attempts to reach Ottawa police on Sunday were unsuccessful.
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