The title says elections. But it’s about way more than that.

Cyber and information domains can deliver precision, targeted messages to the individual, for strategic effect at an unprecedented speed and scale. Warfare below-the-threshold is not a chimerical threat we need to be planning for. Personal attacks, hacking, falsifying documents, disinformation, false narratives are no mere speculation. They are part of a concrete web of subversive influence efforts by hostile foreign actors aimed at damaging our democratic institutions and policy-making processes. They may have far-reaching consequences, cause public harm and may even put the protection of our citizens’ health, security and their environment at risk.

“ACCESS DENIED: The Art of Fighting Back Foreign Electoral Interference” is a joint web event hosted by CDAI and the EU Delegation to Canada. The former CIA Director of Digital Innovation, the EU’s top hybrid threats expert, and Estonia’s Ambassador for cyber diplomacy (& a Politico’s top 30 people changing the world) will join us for a panel discussion moderated by Richard Fadden, former Director of CSIS and National Security Adviser to PMs Harper and Trudeau.



  1. a) Get a quick grasp of the threat and methods employed by disruptive foreign actors
  2. b) Update your knowledge about the state of technology
  3. c) Understand how policy-makers are envisioning a coordinated response
  4. d) Engage in and shape the discussion about potential collaboration among allies through our live Q&A




Former Director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and

National Security Advisor to Prime Ministers Trudeau & Harper

Mr. Richard B. Fadden was the National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister from January 19, 2015 to March 31, 2016. Previously he was the Deputy Minister of National Defence starting in May 2013, he served as the Director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service from 2009 until 2013. He has also served as the Deputy Minister for Citizenship and Immigration Canada from 2006 to 2009, the Deputy Minister of Natural Resources Canada from 2005 to 2006, President of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency from 2002 to 2005, and Deputy Clerk and Counsel in the Privy Council Office from 2000 to 2002. In early 2001, he took on the additional position of Security and Intelligence Coordinator.


In the course of his career, Mr. Fadden worked in a variety of different positions across the Government of Canada including in the Department of External Affairs, the Office of the Auditor General of Canada, Natural Resources Canada and the Treasury Board Secretariat.
Mr. Fadden holds a Graduate Diploma in Law from the University of Ottawa, a Bachelor of Laws from the Université de Montréal, and a Bachelor of Arts (Political Science) from McGill University.

He is an Officer of the Order of Canada.
He is a native of the Province of Quebec. He is married with two children.
Currently, he serves on a number of boards, is a Senior Fellow at the University of Ottawa’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs and speaks on a variety of public policy issues.

Former Director and Deputy Director for Digital Innovation
Central Intelligence Agency

Mr. Roche was the Associate Deputy Director of CIA for Digital Innovation serving as the second-in-command of CIA’s first new directorate in more than 50 years.  

The Directorate of Digital Innovation (DDI) was created to accelerate the integration of advanced digital capability across all of CIA’s mission areas and is responsible for a wide range of espionage missions including cyber intelligence, open source collection, secure global communications, worldwide mission information systems, data curation, and data science. He successfully built the annual budget to more than $3B while overhauling the legacy personnel systems and practices to create CIA’s first digital workforce. 

Prior to this position, Mr. Roche served as the ADD of CIA for Science and Technology. During his career within the S&T Directorate he had held senior executive roles across a wide range of missions, technical disciplines, and tradecraft, ranging from research and development to clandestine operations. He led teams that developed, delivered, and deployed satellite and airborne reconnaissance systems, next generation collection platforms, clandestine technical collection systems, and advanced targeting tools and tradecraft. His direct, actionable contributions to high profile counterterrorism efforts were personally recognized by the President, Congressional leadership and foreign heads of state. Mr. Roche also served in positions across the Intelligence Community and the Department of Defense. During his career at CIA he also concurrently served in the US Air Force Reserve retiring as a Colonel after 25 years of service. 

He has been the recipient of multiple Presidential, IC, CIA and DOD individual and team awards. He received CIA’s highest award for effectively advocating and building a diverse and inclusive workforce. 

Director, COI on Strategy and Defence
European Center of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats

As an officer in the German armed forces since 1989, Dr. Johann Schmid has worked in various fields within the organisation ever since, including different functions/missions within the combat troops of the army, assignments for NATO, as well as for academia. From 2014 to 2018, he served within the political department of the DEU Ministry of Defence. His academic work focuses on the theory of war with a special focus on hybrid warfare. 

Cyber Diplomacy, Estonia 

 Heli Tiirmaa-Klaar is Ambassador-at‑Large for Cyber Diplomacy at the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She started her work in Tallinn in September 2018 as Estonia’s first Cyber Ambassador.  

With two decades of experience in international security and cybersecurity, Ambassador Tiirmaa-Klaar has a proven track record of visionary leadership, excellent communication and management skills, an ability to manage multi-cultural teams and build consensus. Before returning to Tallinn, Ambassador Tiirmaa-Klaar was Head of Cyber Policy Coordination at the European External Action Service (EEAS) between January 2012 and August 2018. When creating the cyber coordination structure in the EEAS, her priority was to develop effective cooperation mechanisms between the 28 EU member states as well as to design and steer the development of the EU’s cyber security strategy and of the EU’s international cyber policy. In 2013 and 2017 she was responsible for both developing the cybersecurity strategies of the European Union and for the implementation of the EU Cyber Defence Policy Framework. 

One of the major priorities of Ambassador Tiirmaa-Klaar’s work at the EEAS was to kick-start extensive EU capacity building programmes in third countries, with a focus on the fight against cybercrime and emerging cyber threats. This has allowed her to gain a global reach and develop a thorough understanding of key cyber challenges. She was also in the lead for developing the Framework of Joint EU Diplomatic Response to Malicious Cyber Activities. 

Ambassador Tiirmaa-Klaar joined the Estonian civil service in 1995 and has held various managerial positions in national security fields. Between 2007 and 2010 she worked as the National Cyber Coordinator, developing the world’s first whole-of-government cybersecurity strategy and reorganizing the government structures to adequately address cyber issues. Shortly before joining the EEAS, she worked as a Cyber Security Policy Adviser to NATO where she drafted and negotiated the first comprehensive NATO Cyber Defence Policy in 2011. 

As a result of her experience on NATO and EU cyber policy issues, the two organizations now work in a more coordinated and complementary manner. 

Ambassador Tiirmaa-Klaar holds a Master’s degree in International Relations and Political Science. She was a Fulbright Scholar at George Washington University in 1998-1999. Between 2004 and 2006, she held an academic position as the Head of the International Studies Department at Tallinn University, where she set up the academic department and graduate programs on International Studies. 

She is fluent in English, has a good knowledge of Russian, German and French, and basic knowledge of Swedish, Danish and Finnish.  







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