OTTAWA - A lawyer for terror suspect Mohamed Harkat says his client's alleged declaration of loyalty to an Algerian extremist group - even if true - hardly makes him a member.

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service claims Harkat, arrested in Ottawa more than seven years ago, has ties to Islamic extremists and that he professed loyalty to Algeria's Armed Islamic Group.

Lawyer Matt Webber told a CSIS officer during a Federal Court hearing today it's hard to know what that means without more information and context.

Under cross-examination, the CSIS officer said it is significant because it indicates Harkat's support for the methods of a violent terrorist organization.

The government is trying to deport Harkat under a national security certificate, a rarely employed immigration provision.

The former gas-station attendant and pizza delivery man denies involvement with terrorism.