Toronto Star’s National Affairs Columnist calls Harjit Sajjan’s false claim “a scandal about nothing”

Harjit Sajjan
Photo by Chandra Bodalia

DEFENCE Minister Harjit Sajjan has at least one prominent journalist coming to his rescue.

Thomas Walkom, National Affairs Columnist of Toronto Star, in a piece titled “Harjit Sajjan ‘architect’ fuss a scandal about nothing,” says: “In the end, Defence Minister Harjit’s Sajjan’s sin is grammatical. He has described himself as “the” architect of a 2006 Canadian-led mission against the Taliban during the Afghan War. He should have said “an” architect.”Walkom quotes a letter that was sent to then-Vancouver’s Chief Constable Jamie Graham by Brigadier General David Fraser, Commander CTF Aegis, who was the top Canadian commander in Afghanistan at the time. That letter was published by the online publication National Observer). Walkom quotes a few lines, but here are more details:

“He [Sajjan] consistently provided the most timely and accurate intelligence available, and he personally fused broad sources of information into an extremely coherent picture upon which most of the formations major operations were based. Not only did he display a rare high level of intellect and experience in his analysis, he also demonstrated remarkable personal courage in his collection efforts, often working in the face of the enemy to collect data and confirm his suspicions, and placing himself almost daily in situations of grave personal risk. His products were cogent and demonstrated a profound understanding of the Taliban (TB) and tribal networks which were critical in making formation and unit operations successful. He was the best single Canadian intelligence asset in theatre, and his hard work, personal bravery, and dogged determination undoubtedly saved a multitude of Coalition lives. Through his courage and dedication, Major Sajjan has single-handedly changed the face of intelligence gathering and analysis in Afghanistan. “He tirelessly and selflessly devoted himself to piecing together the ground truth on tribal and Taliban networks in the Kandahar area, and his analysis was so compelling that it drove a number of large scale theatre-resourced efforts, including OPERATION MEDUSA, a large scale conventional combat operation that resulted in the defeat of the largest TB insurgent cell yet identified in Afghanistan, with over 1500 Taliban killed or captured. I rate him as one of the best intelligence officers I have ever worked with – fearless, smart, and personable, and I would not hesitate to have him on my staff at any time in the future. I have advised my chain of command that the Canadian Forces must capture his skillset, and seek his advice on how to change our entire tactical intelligence training and architecture to best meet the needs of future deployed units fighting in extremely complex battle space.”

Based on this letter, Walkom states: “All of which suggests that Sajjan wasn’t entirely wrong when he twice referred to himself as the architect of Operation Medusa — first in a 2015 interview and more recently at a conference in India. He may not have been Medusa’s sole architect. But he was one of them.”