Inside Toronto’s secret Cold War History

In the 50s and 60s, Soviet and American spies waged a secret war of espionage across the city of Toronto.

At the height of the Cold War, Toronto was the site of an elaborate game of espionage played between the U.S and the Soviet Union, declassified CIA documents show.
The records provide new details about how the CIA and the KGB spied on the city’s growing community of eastern European immigrants.
And those details came as a surprise to at least one Toronto target who learned she was the subject of the CIA investigations.
“I’m amazed. I’m absolutely in shock,” says Ukrainian-born Natalie Bundza, 78, who worked as a travel agent at an agency on Bloor St. when the CIA first began to monitor her travels.
Because of her line of work, Bundza was used to being singled out by Soviet authorities. But when the Star showed her the declassified CIA file bearing her name, Bundza was stunned. The depth and breadth of the information that had been collected on her was startling.
In one of Bundza’s trips to Ukraine in the late ’60s, the CIA had amassed enough intelligence to describe everything from the people she met with overseas to the content of her suitcase, even going as far as to mention the art books she had packed.
“Took many books to Ukraine: several copies of Archipenko’s monograph Hnizdovsky monograph, poetry collections of the New York group, a Bible for Ivan Mykolaychuk,” the file reads.
As a young travel agent in her early 30s, Bundza, who now lives in a bungalow in Etobicoke, would often accompany performance groups and tourists across the Iron Curtain and to the Soviet Union. She believes her job and her friends in the art world made her an attractive target for CIA spies.
Mykolaychuk, an actor, and her other friends, she says, were part of what she calls the “Ukrainian intelligentsia.”
They included famous sculptor Ivan Honchar, poet Ivan Drach, and prominent political activist Dmytro Pavlychko — names which were all dutifully noted by the CIA spy.
“I was constantly followed (by the Soviets). They just knew my background. They knew I was a patriot, that I wasn’t a communist,” she says.
She kept abreast of news from her home country, and she wasn’t afraid to take risks. In her early 30s, Bundza was “all guts, no brains,” she remembers. “I would have knocked on the president’s door if I had to.”
“We were great tourist guides. We took no BS from (the Soviets),” she says.
During one of her organized trips, she noticed that a Soviet customs official had been eyeing the stack of Bibles she carried with her. And so, without prompting, Bundza handed him a copy.
Still, as far as Bundza remembers, she never divulged the minutiae of her travels to anyone — let alone an American spy. How, then, was the CIA able to monitor her travels?
In Toronto, many served as the agency’s eyes and ears.
“This was a period of time when the United States did not know nearly as much about the Soviet Union, whether it be its intentions or its capabilities,” said Richard Immerman, a Cold War historian at Temple University in Philadelphia. For the CIA, the goal was to “put different pieces (together) in the hope that one pattern would emerge.”
Eyewitness accounts were deemed especially important by American intelligence officials.
At the time, it was not uncommon for those venturing beyond the Iron Curtain to spy on behalf of the CIA, says Immerman. “Our aerial surveillance was limited (so) in many cases, those who did travel to the Soviet Union willingly co-operated with the CIA to provide information — whatever information,” he says. “These could be tourists. These could be businessmen. This was not a time when thousands of people from the West would travel to the Soviet Union.”
http://www.foia.cia.gov/sites/default/files/document_conversions/1705143/AERODYNAMIC%20%20%20VOL.%2021_0111.pdf
But for the CIA, Toronto was also rife with potential enemies. In a 1959 declassified file, an American spy describes how 18 Canadians, 11 of whom lived in Toronto, were suspected of working for the KGB. According to the CIA agent, the Canadians had secretly travelled to the Soviet Union and received special training, only to return years later as undercover KGB operatives.
Other suspected KGB spies, such as Ivan Kolaska, had apparently immigrated to Toronto as part of a bold Soviet plan to infiltrate Ukrainian communities overseas. Kolaska, along with other alleged KGB operatives, one of whom lived a double life as a Toronto City Hall employee, regularly met with Soviet diplomats in Toronto, the files say.
http://www.foia.cia.gov/sites/default/files/document_conversions/1705143/AERODYNAMIC%20%20%20VOL.%2033%20%20%28OPERATIONS%29_0048.pdf
In one of those meetings with Soviet embassy staff, the files say, Kolaska revealed the identities of dozens of Ukrainian students who had held a secret meeting in Kyiv. They were later arrested by Soviet authorities, according to the files.
In many of the declassified documents, the CIA’s informants are named. Bundza’s file contains no such information, leaving only one clue as to the identity of the mysterious spy: Bundza’s full name.
There is no mention of a “Natalie Bundza” in the file. Her name is listed as “Natalka” instead.
Only another Ukrainian, she says, would have known her as “Natalka.”
“It must have been someone from the community here.”

By: Laurent Bastien Corbeil Staff Reporter, Published on Thu Jul 02 2015

Find this story at 2 July 2015

© Copyright Toronto Star Newspapers Ltd. 1996-2015

Five Eyes’ countries to meet on anti-terrorism fight -Canada

OTTAWA, Jan 13 (Reuters) – The five nations that make up the world’s leading intelligence-sharing network will meet in London next month to confer on strategies to fight terrorism in the wake of the Paris attacks, Canada said on Tuesday.

Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney said the so-called Five Eyes – the United States, Australia, Canada, Britain and New Zealand – had scheduled a meeting for Jan 22.

A Canadian government official later said the five would actually meet in London some time in February.

Blaney’s comments were unusual, since members of the Five Eyes network rarely talk about its activity.

“We’re going to have a meeting with our Five Eyes allies in London … and this is serious stuff. Terrorism will be there” on the agenda, he told CTV television.

U.S. intelligence officials have shared with their French counterparts information related to the travel history of those suspected of involvement in the Paris attacks, in which a total of 17 people died, a White House spokesman said on Tuesday.

Blaney gave no more details of the London meeting, save to say that U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson would be present.

Separately, the Canadian government official said the London event had been scheduled before the Paris attacks.

“The Five Eyes regularly meet to discuss shared concerns and approaches,” he said.

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, added that the fight against terrorism would be “a major focus” of the meeting but declined to give more details.

The five nations that comprise the group divide the world into eavesdropping target sectors and share the results. (Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Grant McCool and Lisa Shumaker)

Source: Reuters – Wed, 14 Jan 2015 01:37 GMT
By David Ljunggren

Find this story at 17 January 2015

Copyright © 2015 Thomson Reuters Foundation

Canada’s spy review bodies struggling to keep tabs on agencies

The review bodies for both Canada’s intelligence agencies are raising concerns about their ability to keep track of the country’s spies.

OTTAWA—The review bodies for both of Canada’s intelligence agencies are raising concerns about their ability to keep track of the country’s spies.
The warnings come as the Conservatives continue to insist that Canada does not require increased oversight into the Canadian Security Intelligence Service or the Communications Security Establishment.
The Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC), which reviews CSIS actions, said continued vacancies on the five-person board, the inability to investigate CSIS operations with other agencies, and delays in CSIS providing required information are “key risks” to the committee’s mandate.
Meanwhile, the Office of the Communications Security Establishment Commissioner warned that the growth of the massive electronic spying agency, coupled with fiscal restraint at the commissioner’s office, is a “constant concern.”
The two review bodies combined boast about 30 full-time employees and an annual budget of roughly $5 million, according to government documents. The agencies they review are expected to spend more than $1 billion this year, and CSE alone has more than 2,000 employees.
The concerns were raised in both agencies’ plans and priorities reports, which outline the expected actions and spending of government departments and agencies for the year.
They come as Parliament continues to debate Bill C-51, which would give CSIS a much wider mandate to investigate and “disrupt” threats to Canada’s national security.
Many critics who testified about the bill, and a good number of witnesses who support it, have argued there should be some measure of parliamentary oversight into the actions intelligence services take on Canadians’ behalf.
But Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney, responding to questions in the House of Commons Wednesday, said Canada’s review system is the “envy of the world.”
“We will continue to support them,” Blaney said of the review bodies.
Blaney has argued that SIRC provides adequate review of CSIS activities, and that additional oversight would simply be “needless red tape.”
In its report, however, the SIRC admitted it can review only a “small number” of the spy agency’s actions each year.
“Currently, SIRC reviews still lack the ability to ‘follow the thread’ of a CSIS investigation if it involves another government department or agency,” the SIRC wrote.
“SIRC’s effectiveness is dependent on (CSIS’s) timely provision of information. In those cases where there are delays in receiving information, SIRC is at risk of being unable to complete its reviews and investigations in a timely manner.”
Both SIRC and the CSE commissioner reported their review capacity depends on co-operation with the agencies they look into — while both are separate and independent from the agencies, both say they require a close working relationship. The CSE commissioner’s report went so far as to say the success of their reviews is “fundamentally reliant on the relationship between the office and CSE.”
Both review bodies also say they need to work together. SIRC’s mandate is to review CSIS operations, but not CSIS’s co-operation with CSE. Without seeing how the different agencies interact — including with the RCMP, which has civilian review, and Military Intelligence, which has no civilian review — the CSE commissioner said it’s difficult to see the whole picture.
“Information sharing among intelligence agencies at the national and international level requires at minimum some co-operation among the various review and oversight bodies,” the report notes.
CSIS’s operations have been well known since the intelligence branch of the RCMP was separated from the law enforcement mandate. The operations of CSE, on the other hand, have attracted widespread attention only through the leaks of whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Working from those disclosures, The Intercept and CBC revealed CSE has developed a suite of cyberwarfare tools, and had a goal to become more aggressive in their use by 2015.
Other documents leaked by Snowden suggest CSE has engaged in mass Internet surveillance of file-sharing sites, and collects massive amounts of Internet traffic through 200 “Internet backbone” sites worldwide through a program called EONBLUE.
Bill Galbraith, the executive director of the CSE commissioner’s office, said he could not discuss whether the office is looking into those disclosures.
“The reviews that we are conducting cover a range of signals intelligence activities, IT security activities, and there is a major review of metadata underway,” Galbraith said in an interview.
Deborah Grey, the former Conservative MP and current acting chair of the SIRC, could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.
How the review bodies measure up
18 – The number of full-time equivalent positions at the SIRC
11.5 – The number of full-time equivalent position at the CSE commissioner’s office
$5 million – Roughly how much both offices have to spend this year
$537 million – Amount CSIS expects to spend in 2015-2016 alone.
2,175 – Number of employees at CSE

By: Alex Boutilier Staff Reporter, Published on Wed Apr 01 2015

Find this story at 1 April 2015

© Copyright Toronto Star Newspapers Ltd. 1996-2015

Reports link Islamic State recruiter to Canadian Embassy in Jordan

Canada’s embassy in Jordan, which is run by Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s handpicked ambassador and former top bodyguard, is being linked in news reports to an unfolding international terrorism and spy scandal.

The federal government refused to comment Friday on multiple Turkish media reports that a foreign spy allegedly working for Canadian intelligence – and arrested in Turkey for helping three young British girls travel to Syria to join Islamic State militants – was working for the Canadian embassy in Amman, Jordan.

Reports also say the suspect has confessed to working for Canadian intelligence and was doing so in order to obtain Canadian citizenship. The man previously travelled to Canada with the embassy’s approval, said one report.

Canada’s ambassador to Jordan is Bruno Saccomani, the former RCMP officer who was in charge of Harper’s security detail until the prime minister appointed him almost two years ago as the envoy to Amman, with dual responsibility for Iraq.

The suspect in custody is a Syrian intelligence operative named Mohammed Mehmet Rashid – dubbed Doctor Mehmet Rashid – who helped the three London schoolgirls travel to Syria upon their arrival in Turkey, according to Yeni Safak, a conservative and Islamist Turkish newspaper known for its strong support of the government.

Other Turkish news outlets identified the man with slightly different spellings: Mohammed al Rashid or Mohammad Al Rashed.

Police arrested Rashid more than a week ago in a province near Turkey’s border with Syria, multiple news agencies reported.

The initial police report says Rashid confessed he was working for the Canadian intelligence agency and that he has flown to Jordan to share intelligence with other agents working for the Canadian Embassy in Amman, various news outlets reported.

The suspect claimed he worked for the intelligence service in order to get Canadian citizenship for himself, said various news reports. The Turkish intelligence service confiscated his mobile phone and computer, which were provided by the Canadian government, according to reports.

Computer records revealed Rashid entered Turkey 33 times with his Syrian passport since June 2013, and agents discovered passport images of 17 more people, aside from the ones belonging to the three British girls, Yeni Safak reported.

The Citizen has not been able to independently confirm the Turkish news reports.

The Syrian agent reportedly received deposits of between $800 and $1,500 through bank accounts opened in the United Kingdom.

A federal government source in Canada said the individual arrested is not a Canadian citizen and “was not an employee of CSIS,” but nobody in government has said this on the record. Nor has the government categorically ruled out reports that the alleged spy was working for or helping the Canadian government in some capacity.

Turkish news channel A Haber reported the 28-year-old man was a dentist who fled the Syrian conflict into Jordan, and sought asylum in another country before the Canadian embassy took an interest in his asylum case.

He then travelled to Canada by approval of the embassy and stayed there for a while before returning to Jordan, according to news outlets that cited A Haber’s coverage.

The news channel claimed he contacted a Canadian embassy official in Jordan called “Matt,” and quoted Turkish police sources that Matt was likely an employee of a British intelligence service, said a report from Istanbul-based newspaper Daily Sabah, citing the A Haber coverage. The suspect only acted as a smuggler and was paid by the intelligence service.

A Haber has released two different videos of the man arrested, with one video allegedly showing him leading the girls into Syria and another of him in custody being led away by security officials.

The choppy footage in the first video, filmed by the man now in custody, shows the girls’ journey from Turkey into Syria, Turkish media reported.

The three girls arrived at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport, then headed to the southern city of Gaziantep near the Syrian border, Daily Sabah reported. The girls then took a cab from Gaziantep to a location where they were greeted by the man.

The suspect starts shooting video when the girls arrive and asks for their names, before telling them to take their baggage and not leave anything behind. He then informs the girls they will be in Syria within one hour, Daily Sabah reported.

The girls and suspect then hop into another vehicle. He then delivers them to Islamic State militants in Syria and returns to Turkey, and is later apprehended by Turkish authorities, according to the newspaper.

In Ottawa, Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney has refused to comment on the reports, citing operational security. The Canadian Security Intelligence Service, RCMP and Prime Minister’s Office have also refused comment.

The official Opposition pursued the Conservatives Friday in question period over the alleged link to Canada’s embassy in Jordan, which they noted is run by Harper’s handpicked ambassador.

NDP deputy leader Megan Leslie asked the government to confirm that someone linked to Canadian intelligence – “either an employee, an agent or an asset, is being detained in Turkey.”

Roxanne James, the parliamentary secretary to Blaney, confirmed the government is aware of the reports but, like the minister, refused to provide any details “on operational matters of national security.”

Defence Minister Jason Kenney, speaking to reporters Friday in Calgary, said he has never heard Rashid’s name before and refused further comment. “We don’t comment on allegations or operations about our intelligence agencies,” Kenney said.

NDP foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar said the government’s refusal to outright deny the reports out of Turkey lends credence to them.

“They haven’t responded,” he said. “And in light of the fact that there’s been more than 24 hours for the government to establish the facts as to what happened, I can only conclude that there is some truth to this story.”

Dewar said if the reports are true, that would be devastating for Canada’s credibility, and, at the very least, reiterate the need to increase oversight over the spy agency’s activities.

“We have been engaged with someone who is not blocking people from travelling to Syria to join up with ISIL, they’re actually facilitating it,” he said.

“So the government has to understand that they’re accountable for the actions of our spy agency and whomever they work with.”

Should the allegations prove true, Dewar said there should be an immediate investigation into what happened, including how CSIS would have recruited such a person to work for it. At the same time, he questioned who would lead such an investigation and where the report would go given the lack of independent monitoring over the spy agency.

“This is why we don’t support Bill C-51,” he said. “There’s no proper oversight right now. It’s a black hole.”

Dewar also noted the reports say Rashid was recruited out of Canada’s embassy in Jordan, which is headed by Saccomani. He said it is ironic given the government defended Saccomani’s lack of diplomatic experience by touting his background in security issues when the prime minister appointed him to the post last year.

Exactly why Turkish officials chose to publicly identify the man’s affiliation as being with Canada, and possibly CSIS, remains unclear.

Relations between Turkey and Canada were rocky after the Conservative government formally recognized the killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks during the First World War as a genocide, but they have become more cordial in recent years.

In particular, Canada has remained largely silent while other Western countries are criticizing Turkey for not doing more to stop the flow of foreign fighters into Syria, many of whom have joined Islamic State (ISIL).

It has also refrained from speaking out too loudly on what some have seen as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian bent and attempt to turn Turkey away from secularism.

Shamima Begum, 15, Amira Abase, 15, and Kadiza Sultana, 16, are the three British girls believed to have joined the Islamic State, after they left their London homes in early February, travelled to Turkey and crossed the border into Syria.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said the suspect arrested worked for the intelligence agency of a country that is part of the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State.

He didn’t identify the country, but multiple media outlets, citing security officials, first reported Thursday the individual was working for Canadian security intelligence.

CSIS may well be operating in the region.

If Rashid worked in some capacity for CSIS, and based on reports his computer contained images of passport and travel documents of several apparent ISIL recruits, it’s conceivable he was actually gathering intelligence for CSIS about those recruits and the methods, logistics and contacts for spiriting them into Syria, said Ray Boisvert, former assistant director of intelligence for CSIS.

“If he was a CSIS asset, he’s likely an observer whose only job is to report what he saw,” Boisvert said.

If his computer did, in fact, contain information about many other ISIL recruits in Syria, “that’s a hell of intelligence operation, well done.”

Boisvert said relations between Turkey and Western coalition countries have become acrimonious, especially with the British. It has “become a very high, politically-charged discussion about who’s to blame,” for the ISIL recruit pipeline through Turkey into Syria.

If Rashid was working for CSIS in some fashion, the spy agency’s current mandate would prevent him or the organization from doing anything to have stopped the three British girls from reaching Syria. Under current Canadian law, CSIS and its assets are only allowed to gather intelligence.

Ironically, the government’s contentious security legislation, Bill C-51, would empower CSIS to disrupt such activities that threatened the security of Canada.

The reports come as the government pushes to enact two pieces of divisive security legislation giving CSIS extraordinary powers at home and abroad. But critics argue that without additional oversight and review, Canada’s security agencies could run amok with the new powers.

Under Bill C-51, the CSIS mandate would dramatically expand from its current intelligence collection-only role to actively reducing and disrupting threats to national security, whether in Canada or abroad. If those disruption activities are illegal or unconstitutional in Canada, the legislation authorizes Federal Court judges to grant CSIS warrants to break the law.

The bill also gives explicit direction to CSIS and Canadian courts to ignore the statutes of sovereign states in pursuing such operations. That development was highlighted in an online New York Times op-ed article this week by Canadian legal scholars Craig Forcese and Kent Roach.

Another piece of government security legislation before the Senate, Bill C-44, which amends the CSIS Act, also would allow Federal Court judges to “without regard to any other law, including that of any foreign state … authorize activities outside of Canada to enable the service to investigate a threat to the security of Canada.”

Those activities would be limited to traditional intelligence gathering, which is done, usually covertly, by intelligence services the world over.

JASON FEKETE, OTTAWA CITIZEN
LEE BERTHIAUME, OTTAWA CITIZEN
IAN MACLEOD, OTTAWA CITIZEN
Last Updated: March 13, 2015 7:32 PM EDT

Find this story at 13 March 2015

© 2015 Postmedia Network Inc.

Turkish reports claim smuggler for Islamic State worked for Canada

ANKARA, TURKEY — A Syrian former army lieutenant who defected from the military three years ago has become the central figure in a tale of intrigue that ended last month in the flight to the Islamic State of three British schoolgirls.

Everyone agrees that Muhammad el Rashed arranged to smuggle the girls to Syria after they’d arrived in Turkey, some of the hundreds of Britons thought to have joined the Islamic State in recent years.

What’s less clear is how Rashed came to be in a position to help smuggle them. The Turkish government charges that he was a paid agent of Canadian intelligence, and officials imply that’s proof that Canada, as well as the United Kingdom, is helping to finance the Islamic State.

For its part, the Canadian government hasn’t commented on Rashed’s statement to police that he was working as an intelligence operative. A representative of Canadian Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney declined to comment about the reports when asked about them last week in the House of Commons.

The Canadian government also hasn’t commented on Turkish claims that payments wired to Rashed were immediately transferred to Islamic State operatives in Syria. The amount he allegedly received remains unknown.

Turkey has been under pressure from its European neighbors to stop the flow of recruits to the Islamic State, most of whom pass through the country. In the best-known recent case, Hayat Boumeddiene, the common-law wife of an Islamic State sympathizer who killed four Jews in a grocery in Paris during the Charlie Hebdo violence in January, slipped across a border crossing about 300 yards from the office of the district governor, even though Turkish authorities had spotted her as suspicious on her arrival in the country.

Turkey has said there’s little it can do to stop people who arrive in the country legally, and it’s blamed European nations for not notifying it fast enough when possible recruits leave their home countries. The Turkish allegations raise the question of whether officials are highlighting Rashed’s alleged Canada connection to deflect attention from claims that Turkey has been at best lukewarm in its opposition to the presence of radical Islamists in Syria.

The story began last month in Great Britain, when the three girls, Shamima Begum, 15, Kadiza Sultana, 16, and Amira Abase, 15, disappeared from Bethnal Green Academy in London. Their families alerted British authorities and told them they thought the three had caught a flight from London to Istanbul on Feb. 17. Closed-circuit video later released by Scotland Yard showed the girls at London’s Gatwick Airport.

Turkish surveillance video caught the girls waiting for 18 hours on Feb. 18 at a bus station in Istanbul. A subsequent video made public last week by the Turkish TV channel A Haber showed Rashed interacting with the girls in Gaziantep, a city in southern Turkey. The video, apparently taken via a hidden camera by Rashed himself, shows him urging the girls to hurry. “You will be there in one hour,” he says at one point, apparently referring to Syria.

Since Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu revealed last week that a man had been arrested in the smuggling of the girls to Syria, Turkish newspapers have published what they said were transcripts of Rashed’s confession to Turkish authorities.

According to those purported transcripts, Rashed said he’d helped 35 Europeans cross from Turkey to Syria, that his Islamic State contact was a British jihadi who went by the nom de guerre of Abu Kaka and that he’d laundered the payments he received from Canada through a jewelry store owned by a relative in the southern Turkish city of Sanliurfa, which then passed them to the Islamic State via Rashed’s brother, who lives in Raqqa, Syria.

According to the news accounts, Rashed told Turkish interrogators that Abu Kaka would contact him via the Internet chat service WhatsApp with the names of people who wanted to join the Islamic State. Rashed would then arrange their delivery to the border.

In the case of the three British teenagers, Rashed reportedly said he’d met the girls at a bus station in Istanbul, bought them bus tickets and accompanied them to Gaziantep, where he’d delivered them to a man he identified as Ilahmai Bali, who used the nom de guerre Abu Bakr.

Bali was responsible for arranging private transportation for people wanting to enter Syria, Rashed was quoted as saying.

During his interrogation, according to the purported transcripts, Rashed said he’d been working for Canadian intelligence since 2013.

According to the Turkish accounts, Rashed joined the Syrian military in 2010, before the war there broke out, and defected two years later in Homs, which by then had become the focus of fighting between rebels and the government of President Bashar Assad.

“While seeking asylum, I got in contact with Canada in 2013,” Rashed allegedly told his interrogators in Sanliurfa, adding, “They told me they would give me citizenship if I would gather information about the Islamic State and share it with them.”

The Canadians, he said, provided him with a laptop and a cellphone. He said the Canadian Embassy in Amman, Jordan, had paid for plane tickets for him to travel to Amman. Turkish authorities said migration records showed that Rashed had used his Syrian passport to enter and exit Turkey 33 times since 2013, primarily through Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport.

Over the next years, he said, he worked as a dentist in Raqqa – a city the Islamic State captured in March 2013 –and sent the Canadian Embassy in Amman details of who was being treated at the hospital. He identified his Canadian contact as Matt, whom he described as about 35 years old, 5 feet 11 inches tall and about 200 pounds.

When he moved from Raqqa to Turkey to take up smuggling people isn’t stated in the published transcripts. According to the accounts, Rashed said most of the people he’d helped reach the Islamic State bought their own bus tickets. Most were from English-speaking countries, primarily Britain, but also South Africa, Indonesia, Australia and Nigeria.

Turkish police surmised from records on his laptop that he may have played a role in the smuggling of 150 people to Syria. Among the photos they found, according to reports, were those of the three missing schoolgirls.

Guvenc is a McClatchy special correspondent.
BY DUYGU GUVENC
McClatchy Foreign StaffMarch 17, 2015

Find this story at 17 March 2015

Copyright McClatchydc.com

Canadian spy aided eight more British nationals join ISIS along with three girls

Canadian spy aided eight more British nationals join ISIS along with three girls

The Syrian national suspected of being a spy working for the Canadian intelligence agency, identified as Mohammed al-Rashed, who helped the three British girls cross into Syria through the Turkish border to join the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) also aided another eight Britons join the group, Turkish media reported on Friday.

According to Doğan News Agency’s report, the suspect greeted 12 British people, including three teenage girls, at Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul and bought them bus tickets to Gaziantep, a Turkish province bordering Syria while allegedly handing the recruits to an ISIS commander.

On Friday, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu announced that the suspect has been caught in connection with smuggling the three British girls who left their London homes in early February, into Syria.

He went on to say that the person was working for the intelligence service of a country “that is a member of the international coalition” against ISIS, referring to U.S.-led forces carrying out air strikes against the armed group. He refrained from naming the country, other than stating that it is “not the United States, nor a European Union country.” The coalition also includes several Arab countries as well as Australia and Canada.

Security sources told Daily Sabah on Thursday that the person detained was a member of Canada’s intelligence agency.

A Haber, an Istanbul-based news network, released footage showing the man, identified as Mohammed al-Rashed, speaking to the girls in a Turkish town near the border before the trio board a vehicle to cross into Syria. The footage, captured by a hidden camera by Rashed, recorded in Gaziantep, shows Rashed welcoming the girls as they exit a taxicab. He tells them they will be in Syria “within an hour,” as they carry their bags to another vehicle and adds that he will not go with them.

He was detained on February 28 in Şanlıurfa, another Turkish province on the border. Turkish newspaper Star reported that Rashed was arrested on March 4 by a court and confessed to smuggling the girls into Syria.

Star newspaper released excerpts from the purported interrogation of Rashed by Turkish security services. He told police he was working for Canadian intelligence and contacted Canadian intelligence agents occasionally in a Canadian consulate in Jordan. He said he informed Canadian intelligence officers about smuggling the girls on February 21. Rashed claimed he was looking to be granted Canadian citizenship by helping the intelligence service.

Star also reported Rashed entered and departed Turkey 33 times starting in 2013 through Istanbul and border crossings between Turkey and Syria. The article said photos of passports of 20 people, including the three British girls, were found on the hard drive of the computer in his possession, along with hidden camera footage showing potential ISIS recruits traveling to Syria.

A spokesperson for Canada’s Ministry of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness responded to the inquiry and said Canada was “aware” of the reports but “will not comment on operational matters of national security.” The Canadian Embassy in Turkey had declined to comment on the matter on Thursday.

DAILY SABAH
March 14, 2015

Find this story at 14 March 2015

Copyright © 2015 Tüm hakları saklıdır

Turkey holds foreign spy for helping British girls travel to Syria to join Islamic State

Ankara: Turkey says it has detained an intelligence agent working for one of the states in the US-led coalition fighting Islamic State for helping three British teenage girls cross into Syria to join the jihadists.

The surprise revelation by Foreign Affairs Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Thursday appeared aimed at deflecting sustained criticism from Western countries that Turkey is failing to halt the flow of jihadists across its borders.

“Do you know who helped those girls? He was captured. He was someone working for the intelligence [service] of a country in the coalition,” Mr Cavusoglu told the A-Haber channel in an interview published by the official Anatolia news agency.

A Turkish government official said the agent was arrested by Turkey’s security forces 10 days ago, and added that the person was not a Turkish citizen.

“We informed all the countries concerned,” the official said. “It’s not an EU member, it’s also not the United States. He is working for the intelligence of a country within the coalition,” Mr Cavusoglu added, without further specifying the nationality of the detained agent.

The coalition also includes countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Bahrain, Australia and Canada.

A European security source familiar with the case of the three girls said the person in question had a connection with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service spy agency.

A Canadian government source in Ottawa said the person was not a Canadian citizen and was not employed by CSIS. The source did not respond when asked whether the person had been working for CSIS.

The spy agency did not respond to requests for comment.

Close friends Kadiza Sultana, 16, and 15-year-olds Shamima Begum and Amira Abase, crossed into Syria after boarding a flight from London to Istanbul on February 17. They took a bus from Istanbul to the south-eastern Turkish city of Sanliurfa close to the Syrian border, from where they are believed to have crossed the frontier.

AFP, Reuters
March 13, 2015

Find this story at 13 March 2015

Copyright © 2015 Fairfax Media

Canadian spy said to be detained in Turkey for helping British teens join ISIS

MONTREAL – Turkish authorities say they have detained a spy for helping three British girls join Islamic State, and reports say the detainee worked for Canada’s spy agency.

Turkey hasn’t officially identified the spy’s home country.

However, foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the spy is from the military coalition against Islamic State and is not from Europe or the United States.

Several Turkish media, citing government sources, have said the detained spy was working for Canadian intelligence.

Tahera Mufti, spokeswoman for CSIS, did not respond to a written request for comment.

The office of Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney, the federal minister responsible for CSIS, issued a brief statement.

“We are aware of these reports,” said Blaney’s office. “We do not comment on operational matters of national security.”

A source in the Canadian government told QMI Agency that the individual held in Turkey was not a Canadian citizen.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also claimed the individual was not “an employee of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.”

The source wouldn’t say if the detainee was a freelance or contracted intelligence agent.

The Turkish Prime Ministry’s Office of Public Diplomacy also released a statement on the matter, saying the capture of the intelligence officer “showcased a complex problem involving intelligence wars.”

“This incident should be a message to those always blaming Turkey on the debate on the flow of foreign terrorist fighters, and shows it is a problem more complicated than a mere border security issue,” said the office. “Turkey will continue its call for stronger intelligence sharing, and is worried about the lack of intelligence sharing in a matter involving the lives of three young girls.”

Shamima Begum, 15, Amira Abase, 15, and Kadiza Sultana, 16, crossed into Syria to join militants after leaving Britain last month.

The Canadian government is currently proposing a law that would formally authorize CSIS to conduct foreign operations “without regard to any other law, including that of any foreign state.”

Blaney told senators just this week that the proposed law would be aimed at tackling the threat posed by Canadians who become foreign fighters in unstable countries.

CSIS has already engaged in several foreign operations, including in Afghanistan, and once even had a secret station somewhere inside Turkey. It is unclear if that station is still open.

Ray Boisvert, a former CSIS deputy director of operations, told QMI on Thursday that people have claimed they work for an intelligence service but that doesn’t mean it’s always true.

“There could be a political agenda or somebody who is overstating their connectivity to the service,” he added. “Turkey is a very complicated environment. I’m a little suspicious.”

ANDREW MCINTOSH, QMI AGENCY
Mar 12, 2015, Last Updated: 3:51 PM ET

Find this story at 12 March 2015

Copyright cnews.canoe.ca

Syrian agent ‘worked as courier to deliver money to IS’

Ankara (AFP) – An agent who helped three British schoolgirls cross into Syria to join the Islamic State group was also working as a courier to transfer money to jihadists, a Turkish newspaper reported on Sunday.

Media reports in Turkey have said he was working for Canadian intelligence — a claim rejected by Ottawa.

The Milliyet newspaper reported that the man, a dentist using the name “Doctor Mehmed Resid”, told Turkish police during questioning that he received the money sent from abroad before it was delivered to IS militants.

The agent said he withdrew the cash from a branch of Western Union and delivered it to Syrian jewellers working in the southeastern Turkish city of Sanliurfa close to the Syrian border, Milliyet reported.

The jewellers then contacted their colleagues in Syria and a middleman would come to their shops.

The agent told investigators that his brother, who lives in the Syrian city of Raqa, an Islamic State stronghold, received the money from the jewellers and delivered it to IS militants, according to Milliyet.

The report did not reveal who sent the money in the first place, only that it came from abroad.

Video footage emerged Friday purportedly showing the same man helping the British girls into a car in Sanliurfa on their way to Syria.

Close friends Kadiza Sultana, 16, and 15-year-olds Shamima Begum and Amira Abase, crossed into Syria after boarding a flight from London to Istanbul on February 17.

They took a bus from Istanbul to Sanliurfa, from where they are believed to have crossed the frontier.

AFP
March 15, 2015 6:22 AM

Find this story at 15 March 2015

Copyright news.yahoo.com

Tories secretly gave Canadian military OK to share info despite torture risk

Harper facing criticism from human rights groups

The four-page, 2010 framework document, sent to then-Defence Minister Peter MacKay, says when there is a “substantial risk” that sending information to – or soliciting information from – a foreign agency would result in torture, the matter should be referred to the responsible deputy minister or agency head.
The four-page, 2010 framework document, sent to then-Defence Minister Peter MacKay, says when there is a “substantial risk” that sending information to – or soliciting information from – a foreign agency would result in torture, the matter should be referred to the responsible deputy minister or agency head. Pawel Dwulit/Canadian Press

The Conservative government has secretly ordered the Canadian military to share information with allies even when there’s a serious risk it could lead to torture.

The Defence Department was making good progress on developing a directive from the minister to put the policy into effect, a newly declassified memo shows.

The memo reveals Defence was slated to be the fifth and final federal agency to apply the Harper government’s instruction to exchange information with a foreign agency when doing so may give rise to a “substantial risk” of torture.

TIMELINE: Spies and Canada’s secrets
Security gaps found in destruction of top-secret military data
The others are the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the RCMP, the Canada Border Services Agency and Communications Security Establishment Canada, the electronic eavesdropping agency known as CSE.

The Canadian Press obtained a copy of the November 2011 memo under the Access to Information Act.

National Defence cannot release a copy of the resulting directive on information sharing — nor say when it was completed and issued — because it’s a classified document, said department spokeswoman Tina Crouse.

“We don’t have any comment right now,” she said.

Effectively condones torture
The federal policy has drawn sharp criticism from human rights advocates and opposition MPs, who say it effectively condones torture, contrary to international law and Canada’s United Nations commitments.

The war in Afghanistan is a stark illustration of the fact Canadian military forces can and do develop close relationships with foreign security forces that are unquestionably responsible for torture, said Alex Neve, secretary general for Amnesty Canada.

”Analyze the situation. If you think that sharing this information is likely to contribute to torture abroad, don’t do it.’- Justice Dennis O’Connor
A policy that leaves the door open for the possibility of collaboration even if torture may result “is particularly troubling,” Neve said in an interview.

The memo says the Defence directive was to flow from a federal framework that “establishes a consistent process of decision making” across departments and agencies when the exchange of national-security related information puts someone at serious risk of being tortured.

The four-page, 2010 framework document, previously released under the access law, says when there is a “substantial risk” that sending information to — or soliciting information from — a foreign agency would result in torture, the matter should be referred to the responsible deputy minister or agency head.

Certain factors considered
In deciding what to do, the agency head will consider various factors, including the threat to Canada’s national security and the nature and imminence of the threat; the status of Canada’s relationship with — and the human rights record of — the foreign agency; and the rationale for believing that sharing the information would lead to torture.

arar_maher040122
Maher Arar, a Syrian-born Canadian, was detained in New York in September 2002 and deported soon after by U.S. authorities. A federal commission of inquiry concluded that faulty information the RCMP passed to the Americans likely led to the Ottawa engineer’s traumatic detention. ((CBC))

The framework says it applies primarily to sharing with foreign government agencies and militaries, but also with military coalitions, alliances and international organizations.

In 2011, then-public safety minister Vic Toews issued directives to CSIS, the RCMP and the federal border agency that closely followed the wording of the government-wide framework.

That same year, MacKay issued a similar directive to CSE, which reports to the defence minister.The newly released memo, prepared for Peter MacKay — defence minister at the time — says the directive for his department was being “tailored to recognize the unique operational needs of a military organization.”

Maher Arar, a Syrian-born Canadian, was detained in New York in September 2002 and deported soon after by U.S. authorities — ending up in a vile Damascus prison cell. Under torture, he gave false confessions to Syrian military intelligence officers about involvement with al-Qaeda.

IN DEPTH: Maher Arar
A federal commission of inquiry, led by Justice Dennis O’Connor, concluded that faulty information the RCMP passed to the Americans very likely led to the Ottawa telecommunications engineer’s traumatic detention.

O’Connor recommended that information never be provided to a foreign country where there is a credible risk it will cause or contribute to the use of torture.

Critics say the recent federal directives on information sharing are squarely at odds with that recommendation.

It would have been easy to write a policy that conforms with it, Neve said.

“Analyze the situation. If you think that sharing this information is likely to contribute to torture abroad, don’t do it.”

The Canadian Press
Posted:Apr 13, 2014 1:29 PM ET
Last Updated:Apr 13, 2014 1:29 PM ET

Find this story at 13 April 2014

© The Canadian Press, 2014

Singapore, South Korea revealed as Five Eyes spying partners

Singapore and South Korea are playing key roles helping the United States and Australia tap undersea telecommunications links across Asia, according to top secret documents leaked by former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden. New details have also been revealed about the involvement of Australia and New Zealand in the interception of global satellite communications.

A top secret United States National Security Agency map shows that the US and its “Five Eyes” intelligence partners tap high speed fibre optic cables at 20 locations worldwide. The interception operation involves cooperation with local governments and telecommunications companies or else through “covert, clandestine” operations.

The undersea cable interception operations are part of a global web that in the words of another leaked NSA planning document enables the “Five Eyes” partners – the US, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and New Zealand – to trace “anyone, anywhere, anytime” in what is described as “the golden age” signals intelligence.

The NSA map, published by Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad overnight, shows that the United States maintains a stranglehold on trans-Pacific communications channels with interception facilities on the West coast of the United States and at Hawaii and Guam, tapping all cable traffic across the Pacific Ocean as well as links between Australia and Japan.

The map confirms that Singapore, one of the world’s most significant telecommunications hubs, is a key “third party” working with the “Five Eyes” intelligence partners.

In August Fairfax Media reported that Australia’s electronic espionage agency, the Defence Signals Directorate, is in a partnership with Singaporean intelligence to tap the SEA-ME-WE-3 cable that runs from Japan, via Singapore, Djibouti, Suez and the Straits of Gibraltar to Northern Germany.

Australian intelligence sources told Fairfax that the highly secretive Security and Intelligence Division of Singapore’s Ministry of Defence co-operates with DSD in accessing and sharing communications carried by the SEA-ME-WE-3 cable as well as the SEA-ME-WE-4 cable that runs from Singapore to the south of France.

Access to this major international telecommunications channel, facilitated by Singapore’s government-owned operator SingTel, has been a key element in an expansion of Australian-Singaporean intelligence and defence ties over the past 15 years.

Majority owned by Temask Holdings, the investment arm of the Singapore Government, SingTel has close relations with Singapore’s intelligence agencies. The Singapore Government is represented on the company’s board by the head of Singapore’s civil service, Peter Ong, who was previously responsible for national security and intelligence co-ordination in the Singapore Prime Minister’s office.

Australian intelligence expert, Australian National University Professor Des Ball has described Singapore’s signal’s intelligence capability as “probably the most advanced” in South East Asia, having first been developed in cooperation with Australia in the mid-1970s and subsequently leveraging Singapore’s position as a regional telecommunications hub.

Indonesia and Malaysia have been key targets for Australian and Singaporean intelligence collaboration since the 1970s. Much of Indonesia’s telecommunications and Internet traffic is routed through Singapore.

The leaked NSA map also shows South Korea is another key interception point with cable landings at Pusan providing access to the external communications of China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

South Korea’s National Intelligence Service has long been a close collaborator with the US Central Intelligence Agency and the NSA, as well as the Australian intelligence agencies. The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation recently engaged in legal action in an unsuccessful effort to prevent publication of details of South Korean espionage in Australia. ASIO Director-General David Irvine told the Federal Court that Australian and South Korean intelligence agencies had been cooperating for “over 30 years” and that any public disclose of NIS activities would be “detrimental” to Australia’s national security.

The NSA map and other documents leaked by Mr Snowden and published by the Brazilian O Globo newspaper also reveal new detail on the integration of Australian and New Zealand signals intelligence facilities in the interception of satellite communications traffic by the “Five Eyes” partners.

For the first time it is revealed that the DSD satellite interception facility at Kojarena near Geraldton in Western Australia is codenamed “STELLAR”. The New Zealand Government Communications Security Bureau facility at Waihopai on New Zealand’s South Island is codenamed “IRONSAND”. The codename for DSD’s facility at Shoal Bay near Darwin is not identified. However all three facilities are listed by the NSA as “primary FORNSAT (foreign satellite communications) collection operations”.

Coverage of satellite communications across Asia and the Middle East is also supported by NSA facilities at the United States Air Force base at Misawa in Japan, US diplomatic premises in Thailand and India, and British Government Communications Headquarters facilities in Oman, Nairobi in Kenya and at the British military base in Cyprus.

The leaked NSA map also shows that undersea cables are accessed by the NSA and the British GCHQ through military facilities in Djibouti and Oman, thereby ensuring maximum coverage of Middle East and South Asian communications.

November 25, 2013
Philip Dorling

Find this story at 25 November 2013

Copyright © 2013 Fairfax Media

New Snowden leaks reveal US, Australia’s Asian allies

Singapore and South Korea are playing key roles helping the United States and Australia tap undersea telecommunications links across Asia, according to top secret documents leaked by former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden. New details have also been revealed about the involvement of Australia and New Zealand in the interception of global satellite communications.

A top secret United States National Security Agency map shows that the US and its “Five Eyes” intelligence partners tap high speed fibre optic cables at 20 locations worldwide. The interception operation involves cooperation with local governments and telecommunications companies or else through “covert, clandestine” operations.

The undersea cable interception operations are part of a global web that in the words of another leaked NSA planning document enables the “Five Eyes” partners – the US, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and New Zealand – to trace “anyone, anywhere, anytime” in what is described as “the golden age” signals intelligence.

The NSA map, published by Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad overnight, shows that the United States maintains a stranglehold on trans-Pacific communications channels with interception facilities on the West coast of the United States and at Hawaii and Guam, tapping all cable traffic across the Pacific Ocean as well as links between Australia and Japan.

The map confirms that Singapore, one of the world’s most significant telecommunications hubs, is a key “third party” working with the “Five Eyes” intelligence partners.

In August Fairfax Media reported that Australia’s electronic espionage agency, the Defence Signals Directorate, is in a partnership with Singaporean intelligence to tap the SEA-ME-WE-3 cable that runs from Japan, via Singapore, Djibouti, Suez and the Straits of Gibraltar to Northern Germany.

Australian intelligence sources told Fairfax that the highly secretive Security and Intelligence Division of Singapore’s Ministry of Defence co-operates with DSD in accessing and sharing communications carried by the SEA-ME-WE-3 cable as well as the SEA-ME-WE-4 cable that runs from Singapore to the south of France.

Access to this major international telecommunications channel, facilitated by Singapore’s government-owned operator SingTel, has been a key element in an expansion of Australian-Singaporean intelligence and defence ties over the past 15 years.

Majority owned by Temask Holdings, the investment arm of the Singapore Government, SingTel has close relations with Singapore’s intelligence agencies. The Singapore Government is represented on the company’s board by the head of Singapore’s civil service, Peter Ong, who was previously responsible for national security and intelligence co-ordination in the Singapore Prime Minister’s office.

Australian intelligence expert, Australian National University Professor Des Ball has described Singapore’s signal’s intelligence capability as “probably the most advanced” in South East Asia, having first been developed in cooperation with Australia in the mid-1970s and subsequently leveraging Singapore’s position as a regional telecommunications hub.

Indonesia and Malaysia have been key targets for Australian and Singaporean intelligence collaboration since the 1970s. Much of Indonesia’s telecommunications and Internet traffic is routed through Singapore.

The leaked NSA map also shows South Korea is another key interception point with cable landings at Pusan providing access to the external communications of China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

South Korea’s National Intelligence Service has long been a close collaborator with the US Central Intelligence Agency and the NSA, as well as the Australian intelligence agencies. The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation recently engaged in legal action in an unsuccessful effort to prevent publication of details of South Korean espionage in Australia. ASIO Director-General David Irvine told the Federal Court that Australian and South Korean intelligence agencies had been cooperating for “over 30 years” and that any public disclose of NIS activities would be “detrimental” to Australia’s national security.

The NSA map and other documents leaked by Mr Snowden and published by the Brazilian O Globo newspaper also reveal new detail on the integration of Australian and New Zealand signals intelligence facilities in the interception of satellite communications traffic by the “Five Eyes” partners.

For the first time it is revealed that the DSD satellite interception facility at Kojarena near Geraldton in Western Australia is codenamed “STELLAR”. The New Zealand Government Communications Security Bureau facility at Waihopai on New Zealand’s South Island is codenamed “IRONSAND”. The codename for DSD’s facility at Shoal Bay near Darwin is not identified. However all three facilities are listed by the NSA as “primary FORNSAT (foreign satellite communications) collection operations”.

Coverage of satellite communications across Asia and the Middle East is also supported by NSA facilities at the United States Air Force base at Misawa in Japan, US diplomatic premises in Thailand and India, and British Government Communications Headquarters facilities in Oman, Nairobi in Kenya and at the British military base in Cyprus.

The leaked NSA map also shows that undersea cables are accessed by the NSA and the British GCHQ through military facilities in Djibouti and Oman, thereby ensuring maximum coverage of Middle East and South Asian communications.

November 24, 2013
Philip Dorling

Find this story at 24 November 2013

Copyright © 2013 Fairfax Media

CSEC and Brazil: “Whose interests are being served”? (2013)

Amusing to see both NaPo and the G&M hosting remarks from former CSIS deputy director Ray Boisvert dismissing the recent Snowden/Greenwald docs which revealed CSEC spied on Brazil’s Mines and Energy Ministry.

Snowden was present at the Five Eyes conference where the CSEC presentation on their Olympia spying program on Brazil took place.

Boisvert in both papers:

“We were all too busy chasing bad guys who can actually kill people. The idea that we spend a lot of time, or any time at all, on a country like Brazil is pretty low margin stuff, not likely to happen.”

The docs probably only represent “a war gaming exercise,” says Boisvert:

“They have to do paper exercises and say, ‘OK, let’s say our target in counter-terrorism lives in Mali and we have to go up against the Malian telecommunications system.’ They’ll go look at another country and say, ‘OK, well they have a similar network so let’s do a paper exercise and say ‘what do we need?’” he said. ‘I think that’s all this was.’”

Because when you’re “busy chasing bad guys who can actually kill people” and stuff, naturally your anti-terrorism war games will entail a cyber-espionage program searching for corporate secrets in a country where 40 of your own country’s mining corporations are operating.

Wouldn’t have anything to do with looking for info on Brazil wanting to block a Canadian mining company from opening the largest open pit gold mine in Brazil, would it? Brazilian prosecutors say the company has failed to study the impact on local Indian communities and has advertised on its own website “plans to build a mine twice the size of the project first described in an environmental assessment it gave state officials.”

Ok, foreign media. The Guardian, today:

Canadian spies met with energy firms, documents reveal

“The Canadian government agency that allegedly hacked into the Brazilian mining and energy ministry has participated in secret meetings in Ottawa where Canadian security agencies briefed energy corporations.

According to freedom of information documents obtained by the Guardian, the meetings – conducted twice a year since 2005 – involved federal ministries, spy and police agencies, and representatives from scores of companies who obtained high-level security clearance.

Meetings were officially billed to discuss ‘threats’ to energy infrastructure but also covered ‘challenges to energy projects from environmental groups,’ ‘cyber security initiatives’ and ‘economic and corporate espionage.’

The documents – heavily redacted agendas – do not indicate that any international espionage was shared by CSEC officials, but the meetings were an opportunity for government agencies and companies to develop ‘ongoing trusting relations’ that would help them exchange information ‘off the record,’ wrote an official from the Natural Resources ministry in 2010.”

Thank you, Enbridge, for providing the snacks for the one in May 2013.

“Keith Stewart, an energy policy analyst with Greenpeace Canada, said: ‘There seems to be no limit to what the Harper government will do to help their friends in the oil and mining industries. They’ve muzzled scientists, gutted environmental laws, reneged on our international climate commitments, labelled environmental critics as criminals and traitors, and have now been caught engaging in economic espionage in a friendly country. Canadians, and our allies, have a right to ask who exactly is receiving the gathered intelligence and whose interests are being served.’”

Good question. And did no Canadian media request these same FOIs?

You know, I think I blogged about government security briefings to energy companies a few years ago — I’ll see if I can find it.

Meanwhile, would be interesting to hear Boisvert’s explanation as to why the CSEC logo appeared on another NSA doc about intercepting phone calls and emails of ministers and diplomats at the 2009 G20 summit in London.

More “paper exercises”? Filling in an empty spot on the page while chasing bad guys?

And re the recent NSA spying on Brazil PM Dilma Rousseff and the state oil company Petrobras: Did CSEC help out its Five Eyes partner there too?

Back in 1983, CSEC spied on two of Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet ministers on behalf of Thatcher and Britain’s spy agency GCHQ, so this wouldn’t exactly be new territory for CSEC.

Fun fact : The annual report on CSEC produced by its independent watchdog commissioner must first be vetted by CSEC “for national security reasons” before it can be released.

P.S. I pillaged the CSEC slide at top from Lux ex Umbra, where you can view the rest of them.

Posted by admin on October 10, 2013 · Leave a Comment
By Alison@Creekside

Find this story at 10 October 2013

Copyright © 2013

Stateroom

STATEROOM sites are covert SIGINT collection sites located in diplomatic facilities abroad. SIGINT agencies hosting such sites include SCS (at U.S> diplomatic facilities), Government Communications headquarters or GCHQ (at British diplomatic facilities), Communication Security Establishments or CSE (at Canadian diplomatic facilities), and Defense Signals Directorate (at Australian diplomatic facilities). These sites are small in size and in the number of personnel staffing them. They are covert, and their true mission is not known by the majority of the diplomatic staff at the facility where they are assigned.”

Find this story at 27 October 2013

No bugs found in former Nortel building, Defence officials now say

The Conservative government says Defence officials have assured it that no listening devices have been found at the former Nortel campus,

OTTAWA — The Conservative government says Defence officials have assured it that no listening devices have been found at the former Nortel campus, contradicting previous security concerns raised by both former Nortel and government intelligence employees.

Former Nortel employees have contacted the Citizen to say that the listening devices were found when Department of National Defence officials did their initial security sweeps of the facility, purchased for DND’s new home.

DND documents also indicate that concerns about the security surrounding the former Nortel campus were raised last year within the department. A briefing document for then-Defence minister Peter MacKay warned that the public announcement that the DND was moving into the complex before it could be properly secured created a major problem.

“This not only raises the level of difficulty of verifying appropriate security safeguards in the future, it will probably dramatically increase security costs and cause delays to reach full operational capability,” MacKay was told in April 2012 by Canadian Forces security officers.

Last year senior Nortel staff acknowledged that the company had been the subject of a number of spy and computer hacking operations over a decade, with the main culprits suspected of being associated with China.

Michel Juneau-Katsuya, a former senior officer with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, said the spy agency also determined that Nortel had been targeted. “We knew it was well penetrated,” he told the Citizen. “When I was the Chief of Asia-Pacific we warned Nortel.”

But Julie Di Mambro, spokeswoman for Defence Minister Rob Nicholson, said Tuesday the government has now received assurances from DND. “Security officials have assured us that they have not discovered any bugs or listening devices,” she noted in an email. “Our government continues to be vigilant when it comes to maintaining the security of information and personnel.”

No further details were provided.

The purchase and refit of the Nortel campus has emerged as a political issue, with opposition MPs and others questioning whether the Conservative government’s plan to spend almost $1 billion on the purchase and renovations of the site makes financial sense. Retired lieutenant-general Andrew Leslie, now an adviser for Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, told CTV on Monday that he thought it was a bad idea to spend such a large amount of money on a new military headquarters.

The government spent $208 million to buy the property, with an additional $790 million to be spent on renovating the buildings for DND’s needs, according to a presentation made to the Senate by Treasury Board officials. The cost to prepare the site involves everything from creating new offices to installing secure computer networks.

Asked last week for details about the listening devices and whether they were still functioning, the DND responded with a statement to the Citizen that it takes security at its installations seriously. “The Department of National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces cannot provide any information regarding specific measures and tests undertaken to secure a location or facility for reasons of national security,” noted an email from DND spokeswoman Carole Brown. “The DND/CAF must maintain a safe and secure environment at all of its facilities, in order to maintain Canada’s security posture at home and abroad.”

In February, MacKay was also briefed about the poor state of DND security. Among the points raised in the presentation was that the Defence Department’s “security posture does not currently meet government standards,” according to documents obtained by Postmedia.

The case of Royal Canadian Navy officer Jeffrey Delisle, who spied for the Russians, was specifically mentioned on the same page as the presentation noted that “repeated audits have called for improvement, but insufficient action has occurred.” Those audits calling for improved security included reviews by internal auditors and the federal auditor general’s office.

Phil McNeely, Liberal MPP for Ottawa-Orléans, said he is concerned the government and the DND did not do its due diligence before the Nortel campus was purchased. McNeely, who opposes the DND move to Nortel, said he is worried taxpayers are “now stuck with a $208 million lemon.”

An internal security study by Nortel suggested that the hackers had been able to download research and development studies and business plans starting in 2000. The hackers also placed spyware so deep into some employee computers it escaped detection, the Wall Street Journal reported last year.

Another spy operation was launched against Nortel from the Philippines, security officials determined. That operation involved freelance computer hackers who were working for a “foreign power.”

By David Pugliese, OTTAWA CITIZEN October 1, 2013

Find this story at 1 October 2013

© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen

Mysterious listening devices found at future headquarters of defence department

Former Nortel campus was subject of decade-long industrial espionage
A bird’s eye view of the former Nortel campus in Ottawa, bought by the Department of National Defence in 2010.

OTTAWA — Workers preparing the former Nortel complex as the new home for the Department of National Defence have discovered electronic eavesdropping devices, prompting new fears about the security of the facility.

It’s not clear whether the devices were recently planted or left over from an industrial espionage operation when Nortel occupied the complex.

Asked for details about the listening devices and whether they were still functioning, the DND responded with a statement to the Citizen that it takes security at its installations seriously.

The DND/CAF must maintain a safe and secure environment at all of its facilities

“The Department of National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces cannot provide any information regarding specific measures and tests undertaken to secure a location or facility for reasons of national security,” noted an email from DND spokeswoman Carole Brown. “The DND/CAF must maintain a safe and secure environment at all of its facilities, in order to maintain Canada’s security posture at home and abroad.”

Recently released DND documents, however, indicate that concerns about the security surrounding the former Nortel campus at 3500 Carling Ave. were raised last year.

A briefing document for then Defence Minister Peter MacKay warned that the public announcement the DND was moving into the complex before it could be properly secured created a major problem. “This not only raises the level of difficulty of verifying appropriate security safeguards in the future, it will probably dramatically increase security costs and cause delays to reach full operational capability,” MacKay was told in April 2012 by Canadian Forces security officers.

The briefing note was released under the Access to Information law.

Last year it was also revealed that Nortel had been the target of industrial espionage for almost a decade, with the main culprits thought to be hackers based in China. An internal security study by Nortel suggested that the hackers had been able to download research and development studies and business plans starting in 2000.

The hackers also placed spyware so deep into some employee computers it escaped detection, the Wall Street Journal reported last year.

The Conservative government has earmarked almost $1 billion for its plan to move military personnel and Department of National Defence staff to the former Nortel campus. That includes $208 million to buy the property, with an additional $790 million to be spent to renovate the buildings for DND’s needs, according to a presentation made to the Senate by Treasury Board officials. The cost to prepare the site involves everything from creating new offices to installing secure computer networks.

Recently, however, the federal government has noted it could be open to revisiting its plans to have the DND occupy the facility. Public Works has been considering whether other government departments might make their home there instead.

“Public Works and Government Services Canada is currently reviewing its plans for the renovation and future occupancy of the Carling Campus in light of the current environment of fiscal restraint to ensure that the use of the campus provides best value for taxpayers,” Brown added in her email.

The DND originally estimated the cost of preparing the Nortel site for its needs would be $633 million, according to department documents obtained by the Citizen through the Access to Information law.

Although DND is planning for the move, cabinet has not yet made the final decision authorizing the department to occupy the Nortel site.

Some have questioned the move at a time of cost-cutting, particularly since the DND will still continue to occupy key buildings such as its main headquarters, the Major-General George R. Pearkes Building on Colonel By Drive, as well as its facility on Star Top Road. The DND’s presence in the Louis St. Laurent Building, the National Printing Bureau building and the Hotel de Ville building in Gatineau will also continue.

The department has estimated it would save $50 million a year by moving many of its employees in the Ottawa area into the Nortel campus but it has not provided a breakdown on how it came up with that figure.

In justifying the move, the department noted it would save money through reduced cab fares, less need for commissionaires to guard offices and an atmosphere that allows people to work better together.

David Pugliese, Ottawa Citizen
Published: September 30, 2013, 10:38 am

Find this story at 30 September 2013

© COPYRIGHT – POSTMEDIA NEWS

Canada’s electronic watchers enjoy secrecy second to none

Unlike in Britain and the United States, Parliament is not involved in holding Canada’s intelligence gathering agency to account.

Creepy truth: American spies with access to everyone’s data do occasionally succumb to the urge to snoop illegally through their love lives, peering into the private communications of former paramours.
Creepier truth: if you’re Canadian, you have no way of knowing whether one of your own spies does it to you.
Hypothetically, they don’t. Legally, they can’t. But that’s the problem, say critics of the fast-growing Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC), the Ottawa agency that scours global telephone logs, email and Internet trails for worrisome patterns — with CSEC it’s all hypothetical because Canada’s electronic watchers enjoy a secrecy second to none.
Nearly six months after former computer specialist Edward Snowden began tearing back the curtain on America’s National Security Agency with a series of stunning disclosures about the true extent of U.S. mass surveillance, Canada’s CSEC remains a silent bystander.
Apart from a single report by journalist Glenn Greenwald accusing CSEC of eavesdropping on Brazil’s mining and energy ministry, Canada’s electronic spies have thus far escaped the brunt of Snowden’s cascading disclosures.
That’s good, right? Sure it is. But it also leaves Canadians, including Parliament, almost completely in the dark on what the underscrutinized CSEC actually does, even as outraged Americans and Britons shine a bright light on — and mobilize to change — the ways their own governments consume private data.
“Canadians who think they are in the clear on these ongoing scandals need to grasp that we are the ones who need the debate the most,” said Ron Deibert, director of the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab.
“The Canadian checks and balances just aren’t there. We have no parliamentary oversight of CSEC, no adequate independent entity to watch the watchers and act as a constraint on misbehaviour. It just doesn’t exist now.
“It’s not a question of people shrugging and saying, ‘Well, I’ve got nothing to hide.’ The real problem is oversight — and the potential for abuse if left unchecked.”
It’s an idea that even CSEC’s former chief, John Adams, concedes would be helpful.
Adams doesn’t think “oversight” is realistic, but supports the robust “review” of CSEC’s activities and sees the value in having a committee of security-cleared parliamentarians “fully briefed on what CSEC is doing.
“It would be an opportunity for them to provide feedback and observations and raise concerns perhaps about what CSEC is doing and CSEC could also use that forum as an opportunity to talk about what they might be doing or consider doing or to bounce off of them some thoughts,” said Adams.
“It would be an opportunity for (Parliament) to have some public debate but it would be a limited public debate because they’d have to be sworn to secrecy.”
This review does exist in the United States, though many argue the checks and balances have been abused and subverted in light of Snowden’s NSA disclosures.
Yet in the U.S., as the scandal grew, so too did Congressional scrutiny, with American politicians like Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon leading the pushback against secrecy.
A case in point came in August, when the leak of a top-secret document revealed the NSA broke privacy rules and overstepped its legal authority thousands of times a year after 2008, when the agency was granted broad new powers by Congress.
Most of the violations were “unintentional,” but that sparked congressional queries for details on cases involving wilful misconduct by NSA spies. As pressure mounted, the NSA took the extraordinary measure of a public statement, acknowledging that a handful of its officers had used the agency’s enormous eavesdropping power to spy on romantic interests.
Those instances, though rare, were common enough to warrant their own spycraft label — LOVEINT, or “love intelligence.” Most of the officials involved resigned, were dismissed or were demoted to a lower pay grade with limited security clearance, the agency said.
But that’s only one piece of a much broader debate taking place in Washington, as two competing pieces of legislation emerge with the intent to rein back NSA powers and place congressional checks and balances on a stronger footing. An important element of that debate is whether America’s massive metadata effort — the gathering up of the entire haystack of phone and Internet communications — is worth the cost.
These questions are hardly ever asked north of the border, even though Canada is a partner in the so-called Five Eyes, sharing intelligence-gathering chores alongside the U.S., Britain, Australia and New Zealand.
Little is known of what that entails, precisely, although the Globe and Mail penetrated one layer of the CSEC bubble in June. The newspaper disclosed that a secret Canadian metadata surveillance program first launched in 2005 under then-prime minister Paul Martin was frozen amid privacy concerns, only to be reinstated in 2011 under new rules.
Hundreds of pages of records on the program, obtained through Access to Information requests, came back with large passages blacked out on grounds of national security, the Globe reported.
The lone watchdog agency overseeing CSEC, the Office of the CSE Commissioner, has given its blessing to the metadata program. But critics say the office and its staff of eight, which until recently received its funding directly from the Department of National Defence, as does CSEC, remains too close to Canada’s security establishment to effectively safeguard privacy concerns.
Once a year CSEC’s watchdog reports to Canadians. But far more often, it reports secretly to the defence minister with recommendations for adjustments in how CSEC conducts its business. In his most recent public report, released in August, outgoing commissioner Robert Decary ended his three-year term proclaiming that all activities complied with Canadian law with the exception of “a small number of records (which) suggested the possibility that some activities may have been directed at Canadians, contrary to the law . . . I was unable to reach a definitive conclusion.”
Decary, in a final assessment of his time as CSEC watchdog, wrote that he saw little value in a confrontational relationship. “With my years of experience, I see the office more CSEC’s conscience than as a sword of Damocles,” he wrote.
But even Decary nudged Canada’s spymasters toward greater openness, writing that “I believe that the ice has been broken and that the security and intelligence agencies understand they can speak more openly about their work without betraying state secrets or compromising national security.
“The greater the transparency, the less skeptical and cynical the public will be.”
University of Ottawa scholar Wesley Wark, who specializes in national security and the history of intelligence agencies, says the CSEC watchdog is simply not enough.
Unlike Britain and the United States, Canadian oversight leaves a “gaping hole . . . a big gap” because Parliament is not involved in holding intelligence agencies to account as Adams suggested, Wark told The Star.
The issue has simmered for years, said Wark, with failed attempts, most recently in 2005, to create a British-style Committee of Parliamentarians on National Security.
But oversight actually grew worse in 2011, said Wark, when CSEC was deemed an independent agency within the Department of National Defence, effectively eliminating a requirement to report to the national security adviser and Privy Council office. “It took that away entirely,” said Wark, “and put it all within (DND), where it’s very easy for CSEC to disappear down its secret hole.
“There’s a question about who is really in charge and who’s deciding to apportion CSEC resources in terms of current operations,” he said.
Among the key questions Wark says remain unanswered is how much bang CSEC gets for its buck. And whether, in Canada’s haste to satisfy the obligations of its Five Eyes commitments, we sell Canadian interests short.
Deibert, who this year published Black Code: Inside the Battle for Cyberspace, argues that while parliamentary oversight remains an admirable goal, the evolving issue of privacy-versus-surveillance warrants something more ambitious.
“I would go further: There needs to be somebody who is not part of Ottawa culture, who is adversarial, something with the authority and credibility of the Privacy Commission’s office,” said Deibert.
“Parliamentary oversight is necessary. But you also need oversight that doesn’t depend on favours or look through the lens of partisan politics.
“I just don’t think, as a society, Canada has caught up with the epochal scope of what has changed in the last 10 years. We’ve gone through the most profound transformation in how we communicate. Mobile and broadband technologies have turned us inside out — and at the same time these Cold War agencies are now turning their gaze inwards on us.
“It’s no longer spy-versus-spy and concern over foreign states with nuclear weapons. Now it’s about somebody blowing themselves up in a shopping mall. And so the threat model has turned toward all of society.”
Canada’s security agencies cannot do their jobs in total transparency, of course. Some degree of secrecy is crucial. But that is no hindrance, if a committee of Parliament were to be vetted and cleared — a commonplace practice in other jurisdictions — and thus able to absorb firsthand the full heft of CSEC activities.
But if CSEC’s critics and former bosses agree on at least some increased scrutiny, Adams doesn’t buy into all the Snowden hype. He shrugs, for example, at the furor that followed October’s disclosure of U.S. eavesdropping on German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphone.
“Every leader in the world knows that people would love to know what they’re thinking, where they’re heading . . . anyone who doesn’t think that is happening is in never-never land,” Adams said.
“It’s not illegal but it’s embarrassing. There are 12 rules and 11 of them are, ‘Don’t get caught.’ ”

By: Mitch Potter Washington Bureau, Michelle Shephard National Security
Reporter, Published on Sat Nov 09 2013

Find this story at 9 November 2013

© Copyright Toronto Star Newspapers Ltd. 1996-2013

Canadian embassies eavesdrop, leak says

A new leak suggests that Canada is using some of its embassies abroad for electronic-eavesdropping operations that work in concert with similar U.S. programs.

A U.S. National Security Agency document about a signals intelligence (SigInt) program codenamed “Stateroom” was published this week by Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine. The document, a guide to the program, was among material obtained by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

“STATEROOM sites are covert SIGINT collection sites located in diplomatic facilities abroad,” the leaked document says. “SIGINT agencies hosting such sites include … Communication Security Establishments [sic] or CSE (at Canadian diplomatic facilities).”

The leaked document does not give the locations of the alleged listening posts. It says that, in general, such surveillance equipment is often concealed “in false architectural features or roof maintenance sheds” atop embassies. “Their true mission is not known by the majority of diplomatic staff at the facility,” it adds

A Parliamentarian who on Tuesday introduced a motion to increase scrutiny of federal intelligence agencies said the document shows Canadians do not know enough about the Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC).

“We really don’t know what they’re up to,” said Jack Harris, the NDP’s long-serving defence critic. “… We’re dealing with the secret work of spies and intelligence and whether what is being done is what ought to be done.”

Government representatives at CSEC and Foreign Affairs declined to comment directly on the leak. A spokeswoman for Defence Minister Rob Nicholson, who gives CSEC its direction, also declined to comment.

In 1995, former CSEC employee Mike Frost wrote in his memoir, Spyworld, that he set up “listening posts” at Canadian embassies. His book says CSEC signals intelligence technicians during the Cold War were funded and mentored by NSA counterparts who taught them how to conceal a piece of spy machinery inside what appeared to be an office safe.

One 1972 caper recounted in the book involved agents cutting a five-foot satellite dish into 12 wedges and smuggling the equipment into Moscow before reassembling it in the attic of the Canadian embassy there. Reports were then passed back to Canada in diplomatic bags, according to the book. It was a standard courtesy for CSEC to turn off its listening gear in Moscow when important British or U.S. allies visited, according to Spyworld.

Newly leaked material indicates that close partnerships still exist among the so-called “Five Eyes” – the alliance of intelligence agencies from English-speaking countries that agree not to spy on each other while collecting intelligence on just about everybody else.

The Five Eyes agencies may have teamed up to spy on BlackBerrys belonging to foreign diplomats at a 2009 meeting of the G20 in London, according to a previously published leak from Mr. Snowden, who now lives in Moscow as the United States seeks to arrest him on espionage charges.

According to the Stateroom document, Britain, Canada, the United States and Australia still run interrelated surveillance operations from their embassies. (New Zealand, the fifth “eye,” is not mentioned.)

“It’s not surprising, but it is certainly significant that it is disclosed,” said Wesley Wark, a Canadian professor who specializes in intelligence matters. “… There is still great value in having close access to telecommunications around the world, particularly if you are interested in cellphone communications.”

Mr. Wark’s point about “close” spying contrasts with a more far-reaching 21st century surveillance methodology highlighted earlier this month.

A leaked 2012 presentation showed that CSEC officers analyzed communications flow around Brazil’s energy ministry. This suggests CSEC has access to vast databases of previously logged global telecommunications traffic – giving the agency a very far reach in determining which telephones and computer servers in the world might yield the most intelligence for Canada.

COLIN FREEZE
The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Oct. 29 2013, 11:59 AM EDT
Last updated Tuesday, Oct. 29 2013, 9:54 PM EDT

Find this story at 29 October 2013

© Copyright 2013 The Globe and Mail Inc.

Five reasons our international eavesdropping isn’t worth the cost

Few things can get a government leader into hot water with important international partners faster than getting caught intercepting their mail, literally or electronically, as both President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper can attest. Similarly, few things can be as seductive to government officials as intelligence, and few things more politically risky. What governments can do technologically should not dictate what they will do politically; capacity unbounded by a well-managed overarching political strategy can lead to errors in judgment with serious and far-reaching consequences.

The reality is that the value of intelligence can be, and frequently is, over-rated.

The revelations by Edward Snowden keep coming, undermining trust in the United States among its allies. The U.S. National Security Administration, one of reportedly 15 American intelligence agencies with an estimated cumulative budget of $75-billion, has been outed for gathering data from friend and foe alike. In France, the NSA apparently vacuumed up 70 million digital communications in a single month. In Spain, the number was reportedly 60 million electronic communications. The United Nations Secretary General has been a target as have Mexico’s current and former presidents and the German Chancellor. The Germans, who long endured the espionage predations of the old East German Stasi, and who considered themselves a steadfast ally of Washington, are particularly distressed that Chancellor Angela Merkel has been an NSA target.

What kind of ally would bug the German Chancellor’s mobile phone for a decade? In what respect exactly was Chancellor Merkel a security risk to the Americans? If Presidents Bush and Obama wanted to know what she thought, why did they not just pick up the phone and ask her, or meet with her at any of the numerous summits they attended together? The alleged bugging of the communications of 34 other leaders around the world that Mr. Snowden claims happened will doubtless produce more unhappy surprises. In Brazil the United States was revealed to be spying both on the communications of President Dilma Rouseff and on the Brazilian national oil company Petrobras. Meanwhile, Canada’s Communications Security Establishment was revealed to be spying on the Brazilian Ministry of Mining and Energy.

The repercussions are potentially very serious. The sheer scale of electronic eavesdropping and the impudence with which it is undertaken have hit nerves worldwide. Consumers in this digital age, who paradoxically are more ready to tolerate the pervasive incursions of foreign corporations into their lives than the snooping of foreign governments, are up in arms. Allied governments, whose outrage appears partly but not wholly tactical, are threatening a range of retaliations. The European Parliament has sent a delegation to Washington seeking explanations. The Germans, who want to be removed from the NSA targets list, as do others, have dispatched their intelligence chiefs to Washington this week to seek cooperation.

Meanwhile, the European Union parliament is threatening to delay U.S.-EU free trade negotiations and contemplating privacy legislation that would force American internet companies like Google and Yahoo on the pain of heavy fines to get EU approval before complying with U.S. warrants seeking e-mails and search histories of EU citizens. Germany and Brazil are promoting a resolution at the UN that would call on states to respect privacy rights under the 1976 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights particularly as regards the extraterritorial surveillance of private communications of citizens in foreign jurisdictions. Perhaps the most significant cost of the Snowden revelations is that American (and Canadian) policy to promote multi-stakeholder governance of the Internet and to limit its regulation by governments is in serious jeopardy. NSA meta-data dragnets around the world have made the case for greater national control of the Internet more persuasively than the Chinese, Russians and Iranians ever could. Meanwhile, Deutsche Telekom among others is launching a new encrypted service using only data centres located on German soil. The Balkanization of the Internet looms.

The gap between American words and American deeds has grown too wide for foreign governments and their publics to ignore. This week’s protestations by American leaders that American spying saves lives, including European lives, are seen as self-serving piffle. No lives were at stake in the German Chancellor’s office, nor were there any terrorists, as one Brazilian legislator observed, at the bottom of any Brazilian oil well. The excuse that ”they all do it” is equally unpersuasive. Although the French Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure, the German Nachtrichtendienst and the Brazilian Agência Brasileira de Inteligência do do it, the point is not who else is dissembling but how effective intelligence is and at what political, financial and moral costs it is purchased. In Washington, after initially blowing off others’ concerns, the Obama administration and Congress are having second thoughts about the wisdom of spying on allies.

Here are five lessons we can draw from all this for Canada.

First, secrets are hard to keep in the digital world. The intelligence leadership and their political masters should presume that they will see their decisions on The front page of the Globe and Mail one day.

Second, intelligence is a means not an end, and not all its purposes – national security, counter-terrorism, communications security, commercial secrets and economic advantage – are equally compelling. Mature judgment is a must if sound decisions are to be made about the risks that are worth running – or not. For example, at a time when our Governor-General, Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, Trade Minster and other ministers had visited Brazil to court the government, was it really worth spying on the Brazilian Ministry of Energy and Mines, as we are alleged to have done?

Third, membership in the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing group (the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand), which dates from the end of the Second World War, entails costs as well as benefits and needs to be kept under sober review. Rubbing shoulders with the American intelligence community can be intoxicating, a poor condition in which to make important judgments.

Fourth, intelligence can be and frequently is over-rated. Spending on intelligence and diplomacy needs to be re-balanced. While intelligence operates beyond the pale of international law, diplomacy is both legally sanctioned and uncontroversial, and effective, in its creation of trusting relationships, effective. It does not make sense at a time when intelligence expenditures have grown dramatically, and CSEC is erecting a billion-dollar building in Ottawa, that the Foreign Affairs department is selling off assets abroad to cover a shrinking budget.

Fifth, leadership matters. The key challenge is not so much to do things right as it is to do the right things. Oversight to ensure that Canadian laws are not being broken is important and needs reinforcement, but coherent, strategic policy leadership that ensures that the intelligence tail never wags the foreign policy dog is crucial. Technological capacity should never trump political judgment.

The Globe and Mail
Paul Heinbecker
Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Find this story at 30 October 2013

© Copyright 2013 The Globe and Mail Inc.

Canadian embassies in U.S.-led spying efforts: Der Spiegel documents; Documents leaked by Snowden say CSEC took part in spying

Canadian Prime Minster Stephen Harper responds to questions as German Chancellor Angela Merkel looks on during a joint news conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, Thursday August 16, 2012.
Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
comment

Canadian embassies have been used to house equipment that collected signals intelligence as part of a U.S.-led spying effort, according to documents reportedly leaked by whisteblower Edward Snowden.

German news magazine Der Spiegel published a series of documents provided by Snowden, a former contractor of the National Security Agency (NSA), that detail a surveillance program codenamed “Stateroom.” According to Der Spiegel, the NSA together with the CIA placed secretive eavesdropping stations at diplomatic outposts to collect signals intelligence, also known as SigInt, on the host countries.

At U.S.-owned facilities, this was known as the “Special Collection Service,” according to the documents. However, one leaked page also indicates that Canadian diplomatic facilities were used and suggests that Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) took part in the project.

The document also mentions the use of British and Australian diplomatic facilities. These monitoring stations, according to Der Spiegel, are concealed and typically placed on the upper floors or rooftops of embassies or consulates. The equipment is used to intercept communications, Der Spiegel reported.

“These sites are small in size and in number of personnel staffing them,” the document says. “They are covert, and their true mission is not know by the majority of the diplomatic staff at the facility where they are assigned.”

Der Spiegel notes: “The presence of these spying units ranks among the agency’s best-guarded secrets. After all, they are politically precarious: There are very few cases in which their use has been authorized by the local host countries.”

The documents were published along with stories looking at how the U.S. spies on European countries and specifically Germany. Last week, Der Spiegel reported they had documents showing the U.S. was monitoring German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone.

The report caused a diplomatic rift and Merkel’s government summoned the U.S. ambassador seeking answers. U.S. President Barack Obama has said he didn’t know the NSA was monitoring the communications of allied world leaders.

The document mentioning Canadian facilities is a glossary accompanying a Stateroom guide. Canada and CSEC are listed in the definition for “Stateroom sites,” which are “covert SIGINT collection sites located in diplomatic facilities abroad.”

Canada is part of Five Eyes, the name of a sort of allied club of Western countries that has pledged not to spy on one another. Australia and the U.K. — the two other countries named in the document — are also members along with the U.S. and New Zealand. There’s speculation that in the wake of Snowden’s leaks, some countries — like Germany — are going to want to join the club.

As Canadian intelligence blog Lux Ex Umbra points out, a book written by former CSEC employee Mike Frost in 1994 alleged that surveys were done in the 1980s by CSEC to find Canadian embassies suitable for monitoring stations. CSEC has never confirmed that allegation and according to the Canadian Press, will not comment on the latest report in Der Spiegel.

Lauren Strapagiel
Published: October 29, 2013, 4:16 pm
Updated: 2 weeks ago

Find this story at 29 October 2013

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