CSIS & CSEC

Snowden document shows Canada set up spy posts for NSA

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Greg Weston, Glenn Greenwald, Ryan Gallagher – December 9, 2013

A top secret document retrieved by American whistleblower Edward Snowden reveals Canada has set up covert spying posts around the world and conducted espionage against trading partners at the request of the U.S. National Security Agency.

The leaked NSA document being reported exclusively by CBC News reveals Canada is involved with the huge American intelligence agency in clandestine surveillance activities in “approximately 20 high-priority countries."

Spy watchdogs have ties to oil business

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Greg Weston – January 10, 2014

While the head of the watchdog committee overseeing Canada’s intelligence agency is under attack for also being a lobbyist for the controversial Northern Gateway pipeline, it turns out that half of the other Harper government appointees keeping an eye on the spies also have ties to the oil business.

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair has joined a growing chorus of critics calling for the resignation of former Conservative cabinet minister Chuck Strahl as chairman of the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC).

CSEC used airport Wi-Fi to track Canadian travellers: Edward Snowden documents

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Greg Weston, Glenn Greenwald, Ryan Gallagher – January 30, 2014

A top secret document retrieved by U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden and obtained by CBC News shows that Canada's electronic spy agency used information from the free internet service at a major Canadian airport to track the wireless devices of thousands of ordinary airline passengers for days after they left the terminal.

After reviewing the document, one of Canada's foremost authorities on cyber-security says the clandestine operation by the Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) was almost certainly illegal.

CSIS lied on outsourced spying: judge

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Ian MacLeod – December 20, 2013

Canada’s foremost jurist on national security law has slammed CSIS for deliberately keeping the Federal Court of Canada “in the dark” about outsourcing its spying on Canadians abroad to foreign agencies, according to a redacted version of a classified court decision made public Friday.

In a thundering rebuke, Federal Court Judge Richard Mosley said the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) purposely misled him when he granted it numerous warrants beginning in 2009 to intercept the electronic communications of unidentified Canadians abroad suspected as domestic security threats.

Harper government's extensive spying on anti-oilsands groups

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Matthew Millar – November 19, 2013

The federal government has been vigorously spying on anti-oil sands activists and organizations in BC and across Canada since last December, documents obtained under the Access to Information Act show. 

Not only is the federal government subsidizing the energy industry in underwriting their costs, but deploying public safety resources as a de-facto 'insurance policy' to ensure that federal strategies on proposed pipeline projects are achieved, these documents indicate.

Espionage is a fact of life. Oversight should be, too

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Colin Kenny – October 15, 2013

Canadians ought not to be wringing their hands at the news that our electronic eavesdropping agency is spying on the Brazilian mining industry. Espionage — both for security and economic advantage — is a fact of international life.

What Canadians should be anxious about is the lack of oversight of Canadian agencies that conduct espionage. We are entitled to know that capable, independent and responsible people are keeping an eye on how our spies — and our military — are interfering in the lives of both foreigners and Canadian citizens.

Spy watchdog launches probe into alleged CSIS intimidation

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Douglas Quan – October 19, 2013

The watchdog overseeing Canada's spy agency is investigating a complaint by a Hamilton man who says he received an unannounced visit at his home by two agents earlier this year after making public statements that were critical of the Harper government's position on Iran.

Ken Stone, a longtime antiwar, social justice and environmental activist, said the agents from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service wanted to ask him more about his views on Iran and his travels there.

Canadian Spy Agency Helped NSA Subvert Encryption Standards: Report

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Daniel Tencer – September 11, 2013

The Canadian agency responsible for electronic surveillance played a substantial role in the NSA's efforts to crack encrypted data on the internet, according to documents obtained by the New York Times.

Communications Security Establishment Canada — which is responsible for foreign electronic surveillance but is speculated to be spying on Canadians as well — handed over control of an international encryption standard to the NSA, allowing the agency build a “backdoor” to decrypt data, the Times reports.

Real privacy in Canada requires oversight

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Ann Cavoukian, Ron Deibert, Andrew Clement and Nathalie Des Rosiers – September 16, 2013

A steady stream of revelations from U.S. National Security Agency whistle-blowing continues to trickle out, and Canada’s most secretive intelligence agency made a cameo appearance last week.

Among the documents describing the top-secret “Bullrun” project was a reference to Communications Security Establishment Canada. The documents show that in the NSA’s covert quest to weaken Internet encryption standards, its long-standing Canadian partner played the part of a willing accomplice.

Letter warning against appointing Arthur Porter raised no red flags

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The following are selected extracts

Stephen Maher – October 4, 2013

A letter warning in stark language against the appointment of Arthur Porter to oversee Canada’s spy agency in 2008 appears to have gone unheeded or unnoticed by the prime minister’s office at the time.

Porter is now in Panama’s La Joya prison awaiting extradition to Canada, where he is accused of defrauding the McGill University Health Centre by taking bribes from former executives at engineering firm SNC Lavalin as part of a $22.5-million kickback scheme. Porter, who has lung cancer, says he is innocent, and the charges have not been tested in court.

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