Public Safety Minister Vic Toews
Credits: CARMINE MARINELLI/QMI AGENCY
While Toews rested at a local hospital with the flu, according to his office, spokespeople for the country's top cyber geeks did their best not to share details of the investigation.
The ultra-secretive eavesdropping arm of Canada's spy service - the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) - said they weren't, but noted the Internet has become "a vast, complex infrastructure."
The public safety department said it wasn't, but did remind Canadians to update their firewalls and not open attachments from people they don't know.
So it was left to the RCMP to reluctantly acknowledge, in between melodies of "I'm not at liberty to discuss," that its technological arm was probing a video posted on the faceless Internet by the hacker group Anonymous.
The video threatened to release personal information about Toews if he didn't resign and ditch legislation that would give law enforcement - including those appearing as witnesses at the House and procedural affairs committee -- warrantless powers to electronically snoop on Canadians.
James Malizia, an assistant RCMP commissioner -- speaking hypothetically - said charges could include extortion, uttering threats, intimidation, mischief to data, unauthorized use of a computer and trafficking in passwords.
Any charge is contingent on finding the culprits - something Conservative MP Laurie Hawn said was likely hopeless even though police in other countries have arrested members of the loosely formed hacker group.
Malizia did not provide examples of RCMP investigations that have led to charges and convictions, but was not about to throw in the towel at a committee hearing that ended a half hour early because MPs invited the wrong witnesses, ran out of questions and appear to have limited knowledge about the subject matter before them and how to catch the offenders.
"I can say there have been successful investigations in the past," he said.