US Ambassador to Canada David Cohen said that it was “shared intelligence among Five Eyes partners” that helped “lead” Canada to the claims that there is a potential link between the government of India and the murder of a Canadian citizen.
Why was the Five Eyes Alliance formed?
“Five Eyes” refers to an intelligence-sharing alliance of the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
These partner countries share a broad range of intelligence with one another in one of the world’s most unified multilateral arrangements.
The Five Eyes agreement stands out from other arrangements because the parties are diverse societies, governed by rule of law and robust human rights and are bonded by a common language.
The alliance’s origins can be traced back to the Second World War. The UK and the US decided to share intelligence after successfully breaking German and Japanese codes, respectively.
In 1943, the Britain-USA (BRUSA) agreement laid the foundations for what would become the UK-USA (UKUSA) agreement, after UK computer scientist Alan Turing’s visit to Washington and several bilateral visits between the two countries’ officials.
BRUSA was signed between the US War Department and the UK’s intelligence and security agency Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS), to share intelligence information between the two countries to support US forces in Europe, exchange personnel and develop joint regulations for the handling and distribution of highly sensitive material.
Following this, the UKUSA was signed in 1946. Canada joined it in 1949, and New Zealand and Australia did so in 1956, forming the alliance. The Agreement was not officially acknowledged though its existence was known about from the 1980s. But in 2010, the UKUSA agreement files were released.
How does the Five Eyes Alliance work, exactly?
Countries often engage with each other on matters of intelligence gathering and security. In recent years, common interests, such as balancing the rise of China, have led to a closer alignment among the Five Eyes countries.
In 2016, the Five Eyes Intelligence Oversight and Review Council came into being. It includes the non-political intelligence oversight, review, and security entities of the Five Eyes countries. They exchange views of mutual interest, compare best practices, hold conference calls throughout the year and gather in person annually.