CSEC aided in U.S.-led spying efforts on diplomats

New revelations indicate that Canada’s ultra-secretive spy agency CSEC may have taken part in U.S.-led efforts to spy on diplomats.

Canada has used diplomatic facilities abroad to house electronic eavesdropping operations allied with American global surveillance programs, according to a recently leaked U.S. document.

A slide presentation leaked to Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine suggests that Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) took part in a broader U.S.-led effort known as “Stateroom” that collect “SigInt” (signals intelligence) from secret installations inside embassies and consulates. Such spying often takes place without the knowledge of the diplomats posted to these missions, the document says.

CSEC could not immediately respond to questions about the leaked document, but generally says it does not break Canadian laws and that it cannot comment on the methods that it uses to collect foreign intelligence.

The document recording Canada’s participation in “Stateroom” was published this week by Der Spiegel magazine in a broader piece about U.S. spying in Germany. The report focused on evidence that Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone was targeted for surveillance. The disclosure has prompted German officials to openly mull expelling U.S. diplomats.

Relying “mostly” on leaked NSA documents from former U.S. contractor Edward Snowden, Der Spiegel published a leaked “Stateroom Guide” glossary that directly referenced CSEC. On Monday, Canadian blogger Bill Robinson drew attention to the passage on his “Lux Ex Umbra” intelligence blog.

“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 or CSE (at Canadian diplomatic facilities).”

No locations are given for the alleged CSEC outposts in embassies abroad.

The leaked U.S. document goes on to says that such surveillance equipment is concealed – “in false architectural features or roof maintenance sheds” –– and that such operations are highly compartmentalized. “They are covert, and their true mission is not known by the majority of diplomatic staff at the facility where they are assigned.”

Article by Colin Freeze for The Globe and Mail

Find this article at 29 October 2013

© Copyright 2013 The Globe and Mail Inc.

Spy agency won’t say if it uses Canadian embassies; The national eavesdropping agency is refusing to comment on allegations that it mounts foreign operations through Canada’s embassies abroad.

The German magazine Der Spiegel this week cites presentation slides leaked by Edward Snowden, a former contractor with the National Security Agency, CSEC’s American counterpart.
OTTAWA—The national eavesdropping agency is refusing to comment on allegations that it mounts foreign operations through Canada’s embassies abroad.

Lauri Sullivan, a spokeswoman for Communications Security Establishment Canada, says the agency does not comment “on our foreign intelligence collection activities or capabilities.”

German magazine Der Spiegel says Canada is using diplomatic facilities to support surveillance operations in league with key allies the United States, Britain and Australia.

Word of the Canadian reference — first reported by blogger Bill Robinson, who closely tracks CSEC — came as the NDP unsuccessfully sought support in the House of Commons to create a parliamentary committee that would look into stronger oversight for the intelligence community.

The magazine report published this week cites presentation slides leaked by Edward Snowden, a former contractor with the National Security Agency, CSEC’s American counterpart.

One slide indicates the Canadian spy agency hosts “Stateroom” sites — a term for covert signals-intelligence gathering bases hidden in consulates and embassies.

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

Der Spiegel alleges that the U.S. NSA, Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters and Australia’s Defense Signals Directorate also host such covert stations, with equipment installed on rooftops or upper floors of embassy buildings — protected from view by screens or false structures.

It’s just the latest of several references to the Ottawa-based spy service in Snowden’s cache of leaked materials.

Earlier documents suggest Canada helped the U.S. and Britain spy on participants at the London G20 summit four years ago. Britain’s Guardian newspaper published slides describing the operation, including one featuring the CSEC emblem.

More recently, Brazil demanded answers following accusations CSEC initiated a sophisticated spy operation against the South American country’s ministry of mines and energy.

CSEC, tasked with gathering foreign intelligence of interest to Canada, has a staff of more than 2,000 — including skilled mathematicians, linguists and computer analysts — and a budget of about $350 million.

The recent revelations — including concerns that CSEC gathers information about Canadians in the course of its foreign spying — have sparked criticism from civil libertarians and opposition politicians.

An NDP motion put forward Tuesday by defence critic Jack Harris called for a special committee to study the intelligence oversight systems of other countries and make recommendations “appropriate to Canada’s unique circumstances.” The committee would have reported its findings by May 30 next year.

The motion quickly went down to defeat. The Conservative government maintains CSEC is already subject to scrutiny by an independent commissioner who has never found an instance of the spy service straying outside the law.

By: Jim Bronskill The Canadian Press, Published on Tue Oct 29 2013

Find this story at 29 October 2013

© Copyright Toronto Star Newspapers Ltd. 1996-2013

Slides reveal Canada’s powerful espionage tool

Security experts say that Canadian intelligence has developed a powerful spying tool to scope out and target specific phones and computers so as to better set up hacking and bugging operations.

The outlines of the technology are contained in the slides of a PowerPoint presentation made to allied security agencies in June, 2012. Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) called the tool “Olympia,” showing how its analysts sifted through an immense amount of communications data and zeroed in on the phones and computer servers they determined merited attention – in the demonstration case, inside the Brazilian Ministry of Energy and Mines.

Within weeks, CSEC figured out who was talking to whom by plugging phone numbers and Internet protocol addresses into an array of intelligence databases. In this way it “developed a detailed map of the institution’s communications,” Paulo Pagliusi, a Brazilian security expert who examined the slides, told The Globe.

The slides are part of a large trove of documents that have been leaked by Edward Snowden, the former contractor with the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) whose disclosures have set off a debate over whether the agency has improperly intruded on the privacy of Americans. Other disclosures have raised questions about its spying on foreign governments, sometimes with the assistance of allied intelligence agencies.

The Globe and Mail has collaborated with the Brazil-based American journalist Glenn Greenwald, based on information obtained from the Snowden documents. Mr. Snowden, who went into hiding in Hong Kong before the first cache of NSA documents was leaked, has been charged by the United States with espionage and theft of government property. Russia has granted him temporary sanctuary.

Canadian officials declined to comment on the slides. Responding to an e-mail requesting comment on whether Canada co-operated with its U.S. counterpart in tapping into Brazilian communications, CSEC spokesman Andy McLaughlin said the agency “cannot comment on its foreign intelligence activities or capabilities.” Prime Minister Stephen Harper said earlier this month that he is “very concerned” about reports CSEC focused on the Brazil ministry.

Any ability to sift through telecommunications data for specific leads can be valuable for electronic-eavesdropping agencies, especially the capacity to map out – without necessarily listening into – an organization’s Internet or voice communications. This, in turn, can help isolate specific devices for potential hacking operations. By developing “Olympia” as a method for doing just this, Canada added to its spymasters’ toolkit.

The PowerPoint presentation by CSEC was first reported by Brazil’s Fantastico TV program, which earlier reported the NSA spying, in conjunction with Mr. Greenwald. Brazilian officials expressed outrage at the United States, but their criticism of Canada was more fleeting. They say they now intend to put public employees on an encrypted e-mail system.

The CSEC presentation – titled Advanced Network Tradecraft – described a technological reconnaissance mission aimed at the Brazilian energy ministry in April and May of 2012. According to the presentation, the agency knew very little about the ministry going in, apart from its Internet domain name and a few associated phone numbers. The presentation never makes clear CSEC’s intentions for targeting the Brazilian ministry.

The leaked slides also suggest Canada sought to partner with the NSA, with one slide saying CSEC was “working with TAO to further examine the possibility” of a more aggressive operation to intercept Internet communications.

“TAO” refers to “tailored access operations,” said Bruce Schneier, a privacy specialist for the Berkman Center for the Internet and Society at Harvard. “It’s the NSA ‘blackbag’ people.” (A “blackbag job” refers to a government-sanctioned break-and-enter operation – hacking in this case – to acquire intelligence.)

It is not clear whether CSEC or the NSA followed up with other actions involving the Brazilian ministry.

COLIN FREEZE AND STEPHANIE NOLEN
WASHINGTON and RIO DE JANEIRO — The Globe and Mail
Published Saturday, Oct. 19 2013, 8:00 AM EDT

Find this story at 19 October 2013

© Copyright 2013 The Globe and Mail Inc.

Canadian spies met with energy firms, documents reveal; Government agency that allegedly spied on Brazil had secret meetings with energy companies

Observers have suggested that Canada’s actions are related to potential competition to its tar sands. Photograph: Orjan F Ellingvag/Corbis

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, it has emerged.

Claims of spying on the ministry by Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) come amid the Canadian government’s increasingly aggressive promotion of resource corporations at home and abroad, including unprecedented surveillance and intelligence sharing with companies.

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.

At the most recent meeting in May 2013, which focused on “security of energy resources development”, meals were sponsored by Enbridge, a Canadian oil company trying to win approval for controversial tar sands pipelines.

Since coming to power, Conservative prime minister, Stephen Harper, has used his government apparatus to serve a natural resources development agenda, while creating sweeping domestic surveillance programs that have kept close tabs on indigenous and environmental opposition and shared intelligence with companies.

Harper has transformed Canada’s foreign policy to offer full diplomatic backing to foreign mining and oil projects, tying aid pledges to their advancement and jointly funding ventures with companies throughout Africa, South America and Asia.

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.”

Observers have suggested that Canadian spying on Brazil is related to the country’s auctioning of massive offshore oil finds, potential competition to Canada’s tar sands, and Canada’s desire to gain competitive advantage for more than 40 Canadian companies involved in Brazil’s mining sector.

“There is very substantial evidence that the spying Canada was doing for economic reasons aimed at Brazil is far from an aberration,” Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald told Canadian media on Tuesday. Greenwald hinted that he will be publishing further documents on CSEC.

“We’ve already seen how Canadian embassies around the world essentially act as agents for Canadian companies – even when they’re implicated in serious human rights abuses,” said Jamie Kneen of MiningWatch Canada, an NGO watchdog. “We just had no idea how far they were willing to go.”

Martin Lukacs and Tim Groves
theguardian.com, Wednesday 9 October 2013 12.08 BST

Find this story at 9 October 2013

© 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

Brazil spying allegations part of a ‘war game scenario,’ former official says

A former high-ranking member of Canada’s spy service says he suspects the leaked documents that purport to show Ottawa was spying on Brazil are in fact part of a pretend “wargame scenario.”

“There’s no smoking gun here. It’s again more little snippets and snapshots from the Snowden revelations; they actually mislead more than they inform,” says Ray Boisvert, until last year a deputy director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

“I don’t believe it’s likely Brazil was targeted.”

A Brazilian television report on Sunday said Canada’s electronic eavesdropping agency, the Communication Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) targeted the ministry that manages the South American nation’s vast mineral and oil resources. The report was based on documents leaked by former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

Mr. Boisvert, who left the Canadian Security Intelligence Service in 2012, said the top priority for CSIS and CSEC is counter-terrorism. The directive from on high was national security, not infiltrating a Brazilian government department of mining.

“When I worked there, very closely with CSEC and I was a top-line operational leader, we were all too busy chasing bad guys who want to kill people,” the former CSIS official said.

“At the end of the day CSIS and CSEC have a mandate to go after foreign powers if those are acting in a way that’s inimical to our interests, so the poster child for that would be Iran. Everything from nuclear proliferation to state-sponsored terror,” he said.

“Brazil seems highly unlikely to me,” Mr. Boisvert said.

He said one regular practice of security organizations, however, is war-gaming.

“I’m more inclined to think that this is probably a case of a hypothetical scenario,” Mr. Boisvert said.

“CSEC does war gaming just like the military and in their case they look at [computer] networks. Before they go after a target, they will play a game on paper,” he said.

“I have got a funny feeling that is all Snowden has: is just that exploratory war game piece saying ‘OK, what would we do, boys and girls, if we had to do this?’ ”

When pressed Monday for comment on allegations that CSEC spied on Brazilians, the Harper government gave repeated indirect answers to the question, saying the CSE does not conduct surveillance on Canadians.

“This organization cannot and does not target Canadians under Canadian law,” Defence Minister Rob Nicholson said.

Canadians and Brazilians are both working on a United Nations peacekeeping mission in Haiti and Mr. Nicholson rejected the suggestion the revelations might hurt relations between Canada and Brazil.‎ “I believe our collaboration and friendship will continue,” Mr. Nicholson said.

“It’s wise not to get involved with commenting on foreign intelligence gathering activities and so I don’t do that.”

Mr. Boisvert said he assumes the Canadian government is reaching out to Brazil to explain what really happened.

STEVEN CHASE
OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Oct. 07 2013, 1:12 PM EDT

Find this story at 7 October 2013

© Copyright 2013 The Globe and Mail Inc.

Charges that Canada spied on Brazil unveil CSEC’s inner workings

Leaked documents showing that Canada’s electronic intelligence-gathering agency targeted the Brazilian government threaten to disrupt relations between the countries – and thrust the secretive CSEC into the public spotlight.

On Sunday night, Brazil’s flagship Fantastico investigative program on the Globo television network revealed leaked documents suggesting that Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) has spied on computers and smartphones affiliated with Brazil’s mining and energy ministry in a bid to gain economic intelligence.

The report, attributed to documents first obtained by the former U.S. government contractor Edward Snowden, includes frames of a CSEC-earmarked presentation that was apparently shared with the United States and other allies in June, 2012.

“Brazilian Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME),” a title page of the leaked case study reads. “New target to develop.”

The presentation then rhetorically asks “How can I use the information available in SIGINT [signals-intelligence] data sources to learn about the target?” before delving into specific hacking techniques.

The documents were part of a collaboration with Globo by Glenn Greenwald. The Rio de Janeiro-based journalist and confidante of Mr. Snowden has spent the past four months steadily disclosing a treasure trove of leaked materials recording the electronic eavesdropping practices of the United States and its allies.

Washington has been reeling from the disclosures. In Brazil, they have caused the most serious rift between the two nations in years – after the first revelations about NSA espionage were made last month, Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff canceled an official state visit to Washington; it was to be the first in 18 years and was intended to showcase the growing economic and political ties between the two countries. Instead Ms. Rousseff went to the UN General Assembly where she complained of “totally unacceptable” U.S. spying in her country. She gained a considerable bump in personal approval ratings after lashing out at the U.S. over the NSA activity, which has elicited a reaction of deep offense from many Brazilians.

***

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/five-highlights-from-the-canada-brazil-spying-revelations/article14721506/

Five highlights from the Canada-Brazil spying revelations Add to

GLOBE STAFF

The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Oct. 07 2013, 11:02 AM EDT

Canada’s signals-intelligence agency has been spying on Brazil’s Mines and Energy Ministry, according to documents the former U.S. government contractor Edward Snowden leaked to Brazil’s Globo television network.

Globo obtained a copy of a slide presentation made by someone at the Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC). The document was shown at a June 2012 gathering of members of the “Five Eyes,” the signals-intelligence alliance of Canada, the United States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand.

Here are some highlights that can be gleaned from the slides:

1. Using a program called Olympia, CSEC took aim at Brazil’s Ministry of Mines and Energy, describing it as a “new target to develop” despite “limited access/target knowledge.”

2. One of the slide shows that CSEC focused on ministry portable devices and was able to identify their carriers (such as Brasil Telecom S.A. or Global Village Telecom), the kind of hardware being used (for example a Nokia 3120 or an Android-based Motorola MRUQ7) and metadata about where calls were placed, in countries such as Peru, Venezuela, Poland, Singapore, Great Britain.

Another slide in the presentation explains how analysts cross-referenced a handset’s SIM card with the network telephone number assigned to it and the handset’s unique number (IMEI).

3. CSEC metadata collection included calls made from the Ministry of Mines and Energy to the Brazilian embassy in Peru and the head office of OLADE, the Latin American Energy Organization, in Quito, Ecuador.

One slide titled showed how the Canadians connected an IP addresses assigned to the ministry to e-mail communications with Canada, Eritrea, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Afghanistan, Jordan and South Africa.

4. Another phone monitored by CSEC belonged to Paulo Cordeiro de Andrade Pinto, a career diplomat who was ambassador to Canada from 2008 to 2011, and is now Brazil’s Under Secretary for Middle East and Africa.

5. CSEC’s next step was going to be the collection of e-mails and cooperation with a hacking specialists working for a secret unit of the U.S. National Security Agency.

“I have identified MX [email] servers which have been targeted to passive collection by the Intel analysts,” says a slide titled “Moving Forward.”

The slide mentions TAO (Tailored Access Operations), an NSA unit specializes in installing spyware and tracking devices and has been reported to have played a role in the hunt for Osama Bin Laden.

“I am working with TAO to further examine the possibility for a Man on the Side operation,” the CSEC slide says, alluding to a form of online eavesdropping.

The impact for Canada of these revelations could be equally grave: they come at a time when Brazil has become a top destination for Canadian exports, when a stream of delegations from the oil and gas industries are making pilgrimages to Rio de Janeiro to try to get a piece of the booming offshore oil industry, and when the Canadian government is eager to burnish ties with Brasilia. Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird visited Brazil in August, and spoke repeatedly about the country as a critical partner for Canadian business.

American lawmakers have introduced several bills that aim to rein in the U.S. National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance programs.

Throughout all this, Canada’s electronic eavesdropping agency has kept a relatively low profile, never before emerging as the central figure in any Snowden-leaked spying program. Although it has existed since the Second World War, CSEC has rarely discussed any of its operations in public.

CSEC has a $350-million budget and 2,000 employees. By law, it has three mandates – to safeguard Canadian government communications and computers from foreign hackers, to help other federal security agencies where legally possible, and to gather “foreign intelligence.”

The federal government is building a new $1-billion headquarters for CSEC on the outskirts of Ottawa.

Given wide latitude by its political and bureaucratic masters to collect what “foreign intelligence” it can, CSEC is exceedingly discreet. The spy agency’s leaders rarely make any public remarks. When they do, they tend only to speak vaguely of the agency’s role in fighting terrorism.

But economic espionage appears to be a business line for CSEC. Former Carleton University Professor Martin Rudner has pointed out that the spy agency started recruiting economists and business analysts in the mid-1990s.

“CSE[C] operations in economic intelligence have gone rather beyond the strictly defensive to also help promote Canadian economic competitiveness,” Mr. Rudner wrote in an essay published in 2000. He added that the spy agency is rumoured to have given the Canadian government a leg up during NAFTA negotiations with Mexico, and also eavesdropped on the 1997 APEC summit.

Mr. Rudner added that Ottawa officials don’t necessarily share with Canadian businesses what CSEC surveillance turns up. Instead, he writes, they “sometimes provide advice and counsel by way of helping to promote Canadian trade, without necessarily revealing their sources in economic intelligence.”

While CSEC’s role in conducting economic espionage has been alluded to before, how it does this job has not. The significance of the documents obtained by Globo in Brazil is that they speak to how “metadata” analysis by CSEC can be used to exploit a rival country’s computer systems.

The CSEC-labeled slides about the “Olympia” program describe the “Brazilian Ministry of Mines and Energy” as a “new target to develop” despite “limited access/target knowledge.”

The presentation goes on to map out how an individual’s smartphone – “target’s handset” – can be discerned by analysis, including by cross-referencing the smartphone’s Sim card with the network telephone number assigned to it and also to the handset’s unique number (IMEI).

The “top secret” presentation also refers to attacks on email servers.

“I have identified MX [email] servers which have been targeted to passive collection by the Intel analysts,” one slide says, without explaining who the speaker is.

The slide suggests the presenter hoped to reach out to American superhackers – the NSA’s “Tailored Access Operations” group – for a more specialized operation: “I am working with TAO to further examine the possibility for a Man on the Side operation.”

A “Man on the Side” operation is a form of interception. According to a recent Guardian column, the NSA has installed secret servers on the Internet that can be used “impersonate a visited Web site” that a target plans to visit. The rerouting of the target’s traffic opens his or her computer or mobile device to invasion by the impersonating website.

The “Top Secret” presentation obtained by Globo is an exceedingly rare disclosure. In Ottawa, CSEC’s employees are sworn to secrecy and visitors to its complex have to check their smartphones, iPads, laptops and memory sticks at the door.

The CSEC-labeled presentation appears to have been shared with the NSA, the agency Mr. Snowden once worked for. He had retained access to the NSA’s data repositories as a security-cleared private contractor, prior to copying reams of material early this year and then flying with it to Hong Kong this summer.

Mr. Snowden leaked the materials to Mr. Greenwald in Hong Kong, prior to flying to Russia to seek asylum. The U.S. government wants to try him on espionage charges.

The leaked “CSEC – Advanced Network Tradecraft” presentation about the Olympia spying program kicks off with an allusion to Greek mythology.

It alludes to how Zeus and his sibling deities waged a 10-year battle to overthrow an older order of gods, known as the Titans. “And they said to the Titans ‘Watch Out OLYMPIAns in the house!” reads a slide in the presentation.

COLIN FREEZE AND STEPHANIE NOLEN
TORONTO AND RIO DE JANEIRO — The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Oct. 07 2013, 7:14 AM EDT

Find this story at 7 October 2013

© Copyright 2013 The Globe and Mail Inc.

American and Canadian Spies target Brazilian Energy and Mining Ministry

TV Globo’s Fantastico obtains exclusive access to another document leaked by former NSA analyst Edward Snowden

The Plaza of Ministries. The heart of power in Brazil. One of these buildings houses the Ministry of Mines and Energy. On the ground floor, one room is special. Its doors open only to a select few, identified by their thumbprints.
The huge noise in the small room comes from the air conditioning, used to preserve the machines. All of the ministry’s communications go through them – phone calls, e-mail, internet.

They store files with all data on the country’s energy and mineral resources. The room, called The Safe, has steel walls and is disaster-proof. According to the IT specialist, not even a fire or a collapse of the building would harm The Safe. And the protection is not just physical. This is the most secure network on the Plaza of Ministries. It has the same kind of security used by banks, for example. And yet it has been mapped by spies in surprising detail.

The Ministry of Mines and Energy has been targeted by American and Canadian spies.

Fantastico obtained exclusive access to another document leaked by former NSA intelligence analyst Edward Snowden, now exiled in Russia. This document was only identified last week. It was among thousands delivered by Snowden in Hong Kong last June to American journalist Glenn Greenwald, co-author of this story with TV Globo Reporter Sonia Bridi.

Greenwald explains that there are thousands of documents, and it takes time to read, to understand and to make the connections between them.

Over the last ten days, Bridi and Greenwald analyzed and checked the documents with help from specialists in data protection. One presentation showcases the tools employed by the Communications Security Establishment Canada – CSEC.

The target is the Ministry of Mines and Energy of Brazil. This presentation was shown last June at a yearly meeting of analysts from intelligence agencies from five countries. The group is called Five Eyes – the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Edward Snowden was present at the conference.

According to Greenwald, the documents are shared so that all are aware of what the others are doing. A computer program called Olympia shows step-b-step how all the ministry’s telephone and computer communications – including e-mails – were mapped.
The caption on one of the slides reveals the aim of the Canadian agency:
“Discover contacts of my target” – the Ministry of Mines and Energy of Brazil.
The result of this monitoring is a detailed map of the Ministry’s communications during a period not specified in the document.

Phone calls made from the Ministry to other countries were used as examples. In Ecuador, the numbers called more often are those of OLADE, the Latin American Energy Organization.
In Peru, the number belongs to the Brazilian Embassy.

Via the internet, the Canadian agency accessed communications between the Ministry’s computers and computers in countries from the Middle East, in South Africa, and in Canada itself.
Information security expert Paulo Pagliusi says He was astonished by the power of these tools. He was specially surprised by the detailed and straightforward way in which the process is explained to intelligence agents, and how thoroughly the Brazilian Ministry’s communications were dissected.

The tool identified cell phone numbers, chip registry and even make and model of the cell phones.
We found out one of them is used by the International Department of the Ministry.
Also by phone, we found another user: Paulo Cordeiro, the former Ambassador of Brazil in Canada, currently posted in the Middle East Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Contacted by Fantastico, He declined to comment.

On Friday in Brasilia, the Minister of Mines and Energy, Edison Lobão, considered the issue a very serious one. “This is a grave fact which needs to be condemned. President Dilma Rousseff already has done so strongly at the United Nations,” said Lobão.
In her speech last month at the U.N. General Assembly, President Rousseff declared, “Telecommunication and information technologies cannot become a new battlefield between States.”

President Rousseff herself and Petrobras, the oil company associated with the Ministry, have also been targeted by American spies, as Fantastico has shown exclusively. And both may have been monitored indirectly by accessing the Ministry’s servers.

These servers use private encryption, which means they are protected by a series of codes. One of the servers, for instance, is used to contact the National Oil Agency, Patrobras, Eletrobras, the National Department of Mineral Production and even the President of the Republic. These are State conversations, government strategies which no one should be able to eavesdrop.

Minister Lobão explains that the ministry often contacts different authorities, including the President, by videoconference. “It’s regrettable that all of this is being exposed to espionage.”
Three of the world’s four largest mining companies are based in Canada.

Minister Lobão claims Canada has interests in Brazil, and particularly in the mining sector. “Several Canadian companies have shown interest in our country. Whether that means the aim of this espionage is to boost business for certain groups, I can’t say.”

The main data on Brazil’s mineral reserves is public, and spying is not required to access it.
But the Ministry’s system holds strategic information. Besides Petrobras, the Ministry of Mines and Energy’s network is connected to Eletrobras; the energy research company; the National Electric Energy Agency, which regulates bids for power plant contracts; and the National Oil Agency, in charge of auctions for exploration of the pre-salt layer.

Former Eletrobras President Pinguelli Rosa considers that this information can give a competitive advantage to companies bidding at these auctions. “Whoever knows what will happen beforehand can form partnerships, or estimate the values needed to win the auction and act accordingly. This is not a trifle, it’s a game of billions of dollars.”

Greenwald concludes that the aim of this espionage, which targets a specific ministry of one country, is clearly economic. “That’s what Snowden told me in the interview three months ago in Hong Kong.”

There is no indication in the documents that the content of these communications has been accessed – only who spoke to whom, when, where, and how.

But the author of the presentation makes the next steps very clear: among the actions suggested is a joint operation with a section of the American NSA, TAO, which is the special cyberspy taskforce, for an invasion known as “Man on the Side”.

All incoming and outgoing communications in the network can be copied, but not altered.
It’s like working on a computer with someone looking over your shoulder.
For Minister Lobão, Brazil is obviously the target of an international system of surveillance.
“What kind of damages are we risking, besides the attack on our sovereignty and individual rights? Business issues, for instance. This has not been evaluated yet, and may only surface in the long run.”

The Embassy of Canada in Brasilia declared it does not comment on intelligence and security issues.

The Communications Security Establishment issued a statement declaring that the CSE does not comment on foreign signals intelligence activities.
In another statement, the National Security Agency of the United States declared: “We are not going to comment publicly on every specific alleged intelligence activity, and as a matter of policy we have made clear that the United States gathers foreign intelligence of the type gathered by all nations. As the President said in his speech at the UN General Assembly, we’ve begun to review the way that we gather intelligence, so that we properly balance the legitimate security concerns of our citizens and allies with the privacy concerns that all people share.”

TV Globo – Fantástico
Edição do dia 06/10/2013
06/10/2013 22h39

Find this story at 6 October 2013

© Copyright 2013 Globo Comunicação e Participações S.A.

NSA Documents Show United States Spied Brazilian Oil Giant

One week after revealing USA surveillance of the presidents of Brazil and Mexico, Fantastico brings another exclusive.

One of the prime targets of American spies in Brazil is far away from the center of power – out at sea, deep beneath the waves. Brazilian oil. The internal computer network of Petrobras, the Brazilian oil giant partly owned by the state, has been under surveillance by the NSA, the National Security Agency of the United States.

The spying is confirmed by top secret documents leaked by Edward Snowden, and obtained exclusively by Fantastico. Snowden, an ex-intelligence analyst employed by the NSA, made these and thousands of other documents public last June. He has been given asylum by Russia.
These new disclosures contradict statements by the NSA denying espionage for economic purposes.
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The information was found by journalist Glen Greenwald, co-author of this story along with TV Globo Reporter Sonia Bridi, amid the thousands of documents given to him by Edward Snowden in June.

This statement addressed to “The Washington Post” this week highlights that ‘The department does ***not*** engage in economic espionage in any domain, including cyber.'”

However, a top secret presentation dated May 2012 is used by the NSA to train new agents step-by-step how to access and spy upon private computer networks – the internal networks of companies, governments, financial institutions – networks designed precisely to protect information.

The name of Petrobras – Brazil’s largest company – appears right at the beginning, under the title: “MANY TARGETS USE PRIVATE NETWORKS.”

Besides Petrobras, e-mail and internet services provider Google’s infrastructure is also listed as a target. The company, often named as collaborating with the NSA, is shown here as a victim.

Other targets include French diplomats – with access to the private network of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France – and the SWIFT network, the cooperative that unites over ten thousand banks in 212 countries and provides communications that enable international financial transactions. All transfers of money between banks across national borders goes through SWIFT.

Names of other companies and institutions on the list were blacked out in order not to compromise operations involving targets linked to terrorism.

Greenwald defends the decision to omit the names. “It’s a question of responsible journalism”, says Greenwald. “These documents contain information regarding spying against terrorists, matters of national security which should not be published, because nobody doubts that the United States, just as any other country, has the right to spy in order to guarantee national security. But there is much more information on spying on innocents, against people who have nothing to do with terrorism, or on industrial issues, which need to be made public.”

The documents are classified as “top-secret”, to be seen only by those named by the Americans as “Five Eyes” – the five countries allied in spying: the United States, Australia, Canada, Great Britain and New Zealand.

The name of Petrobras appears on several slides, as the training goes deeper in explaining how date from the target companies is monitored.

Individual folders are created for each target – and contain all the intercepted communications and IP addresses – the identification of each computer on the network – which should be immune to these attacks.

Paulo Pagliusi has a PhD in information security and has written books on the subject. He analyzed the documents for Fantastico.

“The networks in the presentation all belong to real companies. These are not made-up situations”, says Pagliusi. “Some details stand out. For instance, some numbers were blacked out. Why would they be blacked out if they weren’t real? It’s as if the instructors didn’t want the trainees to see them.”

Pagliusi points to signs that this is part of systematic spying. “You don’t obtain all of this in a single run. From what I see, this is a very consistent system that yields powerful results; it’s a very efficient form of spying,” he says.

Pagliusi concludes that this has been going on for a while: “There’s no place for amateurs in this area.”

The yearly profits of Petrobras are over 280 billion reais – US$ 120 billion. More than the GDP of many countries. And there are plenty of motives for spies to want access to the company’s protected network.

Petrobras has two supercomputers, used mainly for seismic research – which evaluate oil reserves from samples collected at sea. This is how the company mapped the Pre-salt layer, the largest discovery of new oil reserves in the world in recent years.

There is no information on the extent of the spying, nor if it managed to access the data contained in the company’s computers. It’s clear Petrobras was a target, but no documents show exactly what information the NSA searched for. But at any rate, Petrobras has strategic knowledge of deals involving billions of dollars.

For example, the details of each lot in an auction set for next month: for exploration of the Libra Field, in the Bay of Santos, part of the Pre-salt. Whether the spies had access to this information is one of the questions the Brazilian government will have to put to the United States.

Former Petrobras Director Roberto Villa considers this the greatest action in the history of oil exploration. “It’s a very peculiar auction. The auction of an area where we already know there’s oil, there’s no risk”, he says. What no one else should know, Villa says, is which are the richest lots. “Petrobras knows. And I hope only they know.” He considers that such information, if stolen, could give someone an advantage. “Someone would have an edge. If this information was leaked and someone else has obtained it, he would be in a privileged position at the auction. He’ll know where to invest and where not to. It’s a handy little secret.”

Another former Petrobras Director considers this a serious matter. “Commercially, internationally, this means a game with marked cards for some places, some countries, some friends,” says Antonio Menezes.

The Pre-salt oil is found at high seas, at depths of two thousand meters – below a layer of rocky salt, four kilometers below the ocean floor. Reaching this oil requires a lot of technology, and Petrobras is a world leader in deep-sea oil extraction.

Adriano Pires, a specialist in infrastructure, considers that spies could be specially interested in ocean-floor exploration technology. “Petrobras is the world’s number one in drilling for oil at sea. Pre-salt layers exist all around the world – there’s a pre-salt in Africa, in the Gulf of Mexico, in the North Sea. If I have this technology, I can drill for oil anywhere I want,” says Pires.

The NSA presentation contains documents prepared by the GCHQ – the British Spy agency, from a country that appears as an ally of the United States in spying. The British agency shows how two spy programs operate. “Flying Pig” and “Hush Puppy” also monitor private networks which carry supposedly secure information. These networks are known as TLS/SSL.

The presentation explains how data is intercepted, through an attack known as “Man in the Middle”. In this case, data is rerouted to the NSA central, and then relayed to its destination, without either end noticing.

A few pages ahead, the document lists the results obtained. “Results – what do we find?” “Foreign government networks”, “airlines”, “energy companies” – like Petrobras – and “financial organisations.”

TLS/SSL networks are also the security system used in financial transactions, such as when someone accesses their bank account through an ATM. The connection between a remote terminal and the bank’s central goes through a sort of secure tunnel through the internet. No one is supposed to see what travels through it.

Later, the NSA presentation shows in detail how the data of a chosen target is rerouted through spy filters beginning at the very source, until they reach the NSA’s supercomputers.

In this document the NSA names Latin America as a key target of the “SILVERZEPHYR” program, which collects the contents of voice recordings, faxes, as well as metadata, which is the overall information being transmitted in the network.

Last Sunday, Fantastico showed exclusively how the President of Brazil is a direct target of espionage.

On Thursday, President Dilma Rousseff met American counterpart Barack Obama at the G20 Summit in Russia, and she demanded explanations.

“This is what I asked: It’s very complicated for me to learn about these things through the press. I read something one day, then two days later I learn something else, and this goes on piece by piece. I’d like to know what exists (about spying). I want to know what’s going on. If there is something or not, I want to know. Is it real or not? Besides what’s been published by the press, I want to know everything they have regarding Brazil. The word ‘everything’ is very comprehensive. It means all. Every bit. In English, ‘everything’.” – the President told a press conference on Friday.

On the day Rousseff and Obama met, a story published simultaneously by British newspaper The Guardian and the American New York Times revealed that the NSA and the British GCHQ broke the protected communication codes of several internet providers – enabling them to spy on the communications of millions of people, and also on banking transactions.

The story shows that cryptography, the system of codes provided by some internet operators, comes with a built-in vulnerability, inserted on purpose by the NSA, which allows the spies to enter the system, copy, snoop, even make alterations, without leaving footprints. There is also evidence that some equipment put together in the United States comes with factory-installed spying devices.

The “New York Times” says this was done with at least one foreign government that bought American computers. But it does not reveal which government payed to be spied upon.

Lastly, another document obtained by Fantastico shows who are the spies’ clients – who gets the information obtained: American diplomats, the intelligence agencies, and the White House. It proves that spying doesn’t have as its sole purpose the fight against terrorism. On this list of objectives are also diplomatic, political and economic information.

Petrobras declined to comment. President Dilma Rousseff awaits clarifications by the U.S. government later this week.

The NSA has sent a statement attributed to James Clapper, director of National Intelligence, declaring that the agency collects information in order to give the United States and their allies early warning of international financial crises which could negatively impact the global economy and also to provide insight into other countries’ economic policy or behavior which could affect global markets.

The statement also stresses that the collected intelligence is not used “to steal the trade secrets of foreign companies on behalf of – or give intelligence we collect to – US companies to enhance their international competitiveness or increase their bottom line.”

The UK Foreign Office in London and the British Embassy in Brasilia declared they do not comment on intelligence-related issues.

Globo TV – Fantástico
Edição do dia 08/09/2013
08/09/2013 22h52 – Atualizado em 09/09/2013 00h07

Find this story at 9 September 2013

© Copyright 2013 Globo Comunicação e Participações S.A. Política de Privacidade

NSA Spied On Brazil, Mexico Leaders, Glenn Greenwald Says

RIO DE JANEIRO — The Brazilian government condemned a U.S. spy program that reportedly targeted the nation’s leader, labeled it an “unacceptable invasion” of sovereignty and called Monday for international regulations to protect citizens and governments alike from cyber espionage.

In a sign that fallout over the spy program is spreading, the newspaper Folha de S.Paulo reported that President Dilma Rousseff is considering canceling her October trip to the U.S., where she has been scheduled to be honored with a state dinner. Folha cited unidentified Rousseff aides. The president’s office declined to comment.

The Foreign Ministry called in U.S. Ambassador Thomas Shannon and told him Brazil expects the White House to provide a prompt written explanation over the espionage allegations.

The action came after a report aired Sunday night on Globo TV citing 2012 documents from NSA leaker Edward Snowden that indicated the U.S. intercepted Rousseff’s emails and telephone calls, along with those of Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, whose communications were being monitored even before he was elected as president in July 2012.

Mexico’s government said it had expressed its concerns to the U.S. ambassador and directly to the U.S. administration.

Brazilian Foreign Minister Luiz Alberto Figueiredo said, “We’re going to talk with our partners, including developed and developing nations, to evaluate how they protect themselves and to see what joint measures could be taken in the face of this grave situation.”

He added that “there has to be international regulations that prohibit citizens and governments alike from being exposed to interceptions, violations of privacy and cyberattacks.”

Justice Minister Eduardo Cardozo said at a joint news conference with Figueiredo that “from our point of view, this represents an unacceptable violation of Brazilian sovereignty.”

“This type of practice is incompatible with the confidence necessary for a strategic partnership between two nations,” Cardozo said.

Earlier, Sen. Ricardo Ferraco, head of the Brazilian Senate’s foreign relations committee, said lawmakers already had decided to formally investigate the U.S. program’s focus on Brazil because of earlier revelations that the country was a top target of the NSA spying in the region. He said the probe would likely start this week.

“I feel a mixture of amazement and indignation. It seems like there are no limits. When the phone of the president of the republic is monitored, it’s hard to imagine what else might be happening,” Ferraco told reporters in Brasilia. “It’s unacceptable that in a country like ours, where there is absolutely no climate of terrorism, that there is this type of spying.”

During the Sunday night TV program, U.S. journalist Glenn Greenwald, who lives in Rio de Janeiro and first broke the story about the NSA program in Britain’s Guardian newspaper after receiving tens of thousands of documents from Snowden, told the news program “Fantastico” that a document dated June 2012 shows that Pena Nieto’s emails were being read. The document’s date is the month before Pena Nieto was elected.

The document indicated who Pena Nieto would like to name to some government posts, among other information.

It’s not clear if the spying continues.

As for Brazil’s leader, the NSA document “doesn’t include any of Dilma’s specific intercepted messages, the way it does for Nieto,” Greenwald told The Associated Press in an email. “But it is clear in several ways that her communications were intercepted, including the use of DNI Presenter, which is a program used by NSA to open and read emails and online chats.”

The U.S. targeting mapped out the aides with whom Rousseff communicated and tracked patterns of how those aides communicated with one another and also with third parties, according to the document.

In July, Greenwald co-wrote articles in the O Globo newspaper that said documents leaked by Snowden indicate Brazil was the largest target in Latin America for the NSA program, which collected data on billions of emails and calls flowing through Brazil.

The spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Brazil’s capital, Dean Chaves, said in an emailed response that U.S. officials wouldn’t comment “on every specific alleged intelligence activity.” But he said, “We value our relationship with Brazil, understand that they have valid concerns about these disclosures, and we will continue to engage with the Brazilian government in an effort to address those concerns.”

In Mexico City, the Mexican foreign ministry said it sent a diplomatic note to the U.S. asking for a thorough investigation of the report’s claims. It said officials also summoned the U.S. ambassador to express Mexico’s concerns.

“Without assuming the information that came out in the media is accurate, Mexico’s government rejects and condemns any espionage activity on Mexican citizens that violate international law,” the Foreign Relations Department said. “This type of practice is contrary to the Charter of the United Nations and the International Court of Justice.”

The U.S. Embassy in Mexico highlighted the “close cooperation” of Mexico and the U.S. in many areas, but said it wouldn’t comment on the NSA program or its alleged targeting of the Mexican leader.

Associated Press writer Bradley Brooks reported this story in Rio de Janeiro and Marco Sibaja reported in Brasilia. Associated Press writer Michael Weissenstein in Mexico City contributed to this report.

By BRADLEY BROOKS and MARCO SIBAJA 09/02/13 07:38 PM ET EDT

Find this story at 2 September 2013

Copyright © 2013 TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc.

NSA ‘spied on Brazil and Mexico’ – Brazilian TV report

Brazil says it will demand an explanation from the US after allegations that the National Security Agency (NSA) spied on Brazilian government communications.

The allegations were made by Rio-based journalist Glenn Greenwald in a programme on TV Globo on Sunday.

Mr Greenwald obtained secret files from US whistle-blower Edward Snowden.

Communications from the Mexican president were also accessed by the NSA, Mr Greenwald said.

The US ambassador to Brazil, Thomas Shannon, was briefly summoned to the Brazilian foreign ministry, “to explain” the claims made by the American journalist.

He did not speak to reporters when he left, and there have been no comments from the foreign ministry either.
‘Attack on sovereignty’

Mr Greenwald, a columnist for the British Guardian newspaper, told TV Globo’s news programme Fantastico that secret documents leaked by Edward Snowden showed how US agents had spied on communications between aides of Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff.

Brazil’s Justice Minister Jose Eduardo Cardozo said that “if these facts prove to be true, it would be unacceptable and could be called an attack on our country’s sovereignty”.

According to the report, the NSA also used a programme to access all internet content that Ms Rousseff visited online.

Her office said the president was meeting top ministers to discuss the case.

The BBC’s Julia Carneiro in Sao Paulo says that the suspicion in Brazil as to why the United States is allegedly spying Brazilian government communications is because Brazil is a big player and there are lots of commercial interests involved.
Mexican connection

The report also alleges that the NSA monitored the communications of Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, even before he was elected in July last year.

Mr Greenwald said that a document dating from June 2012 showed that Mr Pena Nieto’s emails were being read.

A spokesman for the Mexican foreign ministry told the Agence France Presse news agency that he had seen the report but had no comment.

The documents were provided to Mr Greenwald by ex-US intelligence analyst Edward Snowden, who was granted temporary asylum in Russia after leaking secret information to media in the US and Britain.

Mr Greenwald was the first journalist to reveal the secret documents leaked by Mr Snowden on 6 June. Since then, he has written a series of stories about surveillance by US and UK authorities.

The detention last month for nine hours at London’s Heathrow airport of Mr Greenwald’s partner, David Miranda, caused widespread controversy in the UK and abroad.

Mr Greenwald said the detention of his partner amounted to “bullying” and was “clearly intended to send a message of intimidation” to those working on the NSA revelations.

2 September 2013 Last updated at 12:20 ET

Find this story at 2 September 2013

BBC © 2013 The BBC

Is CSE metadata-mining Canadian call records?

The recent confirmation that NSA is performing data mining on the telephone records of Americans raises an important question for Canadians, is CSE likewise mining the call records of people in Canada?

The short answer is I don’t know. But there are some telling indications that CSE is interested in undertaking such monitoring and that it may well be doing it to one degree or another.

First, let’s look at the program in the U.S. From the original Guardian report and subsequent revelations (see, for example, Shane Harris, “What We Know About the NSA Metadata Program,” Dead Drop blog, 6 June 2013) we now know quite a lot about the NSA’s domestic phone records monitoring program, including the following features about it:
Current procedures date from 2006, but the program began shortly after 9/11
Entails data mining of nationwide telephone call records
Focus on metadata, not content
Network analysis involved
Undertaken as part of counter-terrorism effort
Now consider this description of data mining research conducted in 2006 by CSE and the Mathematics of Information Technology and Complex Systems (MITACS) project, a Canadian network of academia, industry, and the public sector (originally posted here but subsequently removed; archived version here; first blogged by me here):
As part of ongoing collaborations with the Communications Security Establishment (CSE), we are applying unsupervised and semi-supervised learning methods to understand transactions on large dynamic networks, such as telephone and email networks. When viewed as a graph, the nodes correspond to individuals that send or receive messages, and edges correspond to the messages themselves. The graphs we address can be observed in real-time, include from hundreds to hundreds of thousands of nodes, and feature thousands to millions of transactions. There are two goals associated with this project: firstly, there is the semi-supervised learning task, and rare-target problem, in which we wish to identify certain types of nodes; secondly, there is the unsupervised learning task of detecting anomalous messages. For reasons of efficiency, we have restricted our attention to meta-data of message transactions, such as the time, sender, and recipient, and ignored the contents of messages themselves. In collaboration with CSE, we are studying the problem of counter-terrorism, a semi-supervised problem in which some terrorists in a large network are labeled, but most are not…. Another common feature of counter-terrorism problems is the fact that large volumes of data are often “streamed” through various collection sites, in order to provide maximal information in a timely fashion. A consequence of efficient collection of transactions on very large graphs is that the data itself can only be stored for a short time. This leads to a nonstandard learning problem, since most learning algorithms assume that the full dataset can be accessed for training purposes. Working in conjunction with CSE, we will devise on-line learning algorithms that scale efficiently with increasing volume, and need only use each example once. [Emphasis added.]
Note these features:
Applicable to telephone and email networks
Thousands to millions of transactions
Metadata, not content, examined
Counter-terrorism related

Familiar looking?

Consider also this comment made by then-CSE Chief John Adams to the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence on 30 April 2007:
What is your interpretation of intercept, if I were to ask? If you asked me, it would be if I heard someone talking to someone else or if I read someone’s writing. An intercept would not be to look on the outside of the envelope. That is not an intercept to me. Unfortunately, that is not everyone’s interpretation of intercept, so the suggestion is that we should define that in the legislation…. Intercept is defined in another piece of legislation, and that is where people would probably look if they were searching for a definition of intercept. They are saying that could be troublesome for us, so we had better define it in our act to avoid that problem. That sort of thing has not come up as an issue, but it could.

As I noted in an earlier post, that sounds an awful lot like something you would say if you wanted to collect phone call metadata (number called, duration of call, etc.) and similar addressing information for e-mails and other communications — and felt you already had the legal basis to do so.

Would such monitoring be legal in Canada? I don’t know. (Usual disclaimer about not being a lawyer applies.)

Michael Geist suggests that s. 21 of the CSIS Act might be used to authorize the activity; CSE’s participation would then be based on CSIS’s authority.

Another possibility is that CSE might consider its foreign intelligence mandate (processing the records as part of the hunt for foreign terrorists) sufficient to authorize such monitoring. It is possible that this somewhat cryptic passage in the CSE oversight commissioner’s 2010-11 Annual Report is referring in whole or in part to such activities:

CSEC conducts a number of activities for the purposes of locating new sources of foreign intelligence. When other means have been exhausted, CSEC may use information about Canadians when it has reasonable grounds to believe that using this information may assist in identifying and obtaining foreign intelligence. CSEC conducts these activities infrequently, but they can be a valuable tool in meeting Government of Canada intelligence priorities. CSEC does not require a ministerial authorization to conduct these activities because they do not involve interception of private communications. However, a ministerial directive provides guidance on the conduct of these activities.

In recent years, three reviews have involved some degree of examination of these activities: a Review of CSEC’s foreign intelligence collection in support of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) (Phase II) (2006); a Review of CSEC’s activities carried out under a (different) ministerial directive (2008); and a Review of CSEC’s support to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) (2008).

In his 2006–2007 Annual Report, the late Commissioner Gonthier questioned whether the foreign signals intelligence part of CSEC’s mandate (part (a) of its mandate) was the appropriate authority in all instances for CSEC to provide support to the RCMP in the pursuit of its domestic criminal investigations. In his 2007–2008 Annual Report, Commissioner Gonthier stated that pending a re-examination of the legal issues raised, no assessment would be made of the lawfulness of CSEC’s activities in support of the RCMP under the foreign signals intelligence part of CSEC’s mandate. He also noted that CSEC’s support to CSIS raised similar issues. Commissioner Gonthier emphasized that although he was in agreement with the advice that the Department of Justice had provided to CSEC, he questioned which part of CSEC’s mandate — part (a) or part (c), the assistance part of CSEC’s mandate — should be used as the proper authority for conducting the activities.

Subsequent to these reviews and statements in the annual reports, the Chief of CSEC suspended these activities. CSEC then made significant changes to related policies, procedures and practices.

Review rationale

These activities involve CSEC’s use and analysis of information about Canadians for foreign intelligence purposes. Specific controls are placed on these activities to ensure compliance with legal, ministerial and policy requirements. Major changes to certain policies, procedures and practices have recently occurred. This was the first review of these activities since the Chief of CSEC allowed their resumption under new policies and procedures.

None of the above proves that CSE has been analyzing Canadians’ call records. But with NSA examining U.S. records, you can bet that CSE at the very least has taken a good, hard look at the possibility of doing the same in Canada. And some of the above certainly suggests that they may have gone well beyond just considering the possibility.

When the question of whether CSE was data mining Canadian call records came up in 2006, CSE was quick to make a perhaps carefully worded denial. This time around, not so much (Mitch Potter & Michelle Shephard, “Canadians not safe from U.S. online surveillance, expert says,” Toronto Star, 7 June 2013):

the Toronto Star contacted CSEC for comment Friday about its own metadata collection program, but received a boilerplate statement stressing that the agency is “prohibited by law from directing its activities at Canadians anywhere in the world or at any person in Canada” and “operates within all Canadian laws.”

“The Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) cannot comment on its methods, operations and capabilities. To do so would undermine CSEC’s ability to carry out its mandate. It would also be inappropriate to comment on the activities or capabilities of our allies,” the statement said.

Which doesn’t prove anything either.

[Update 10 June 2013: But it would appear that this article does prove that metadata monitoring is being done: Colin Freeze, “Data-collection program got green light from MacKay in 2011,” Globe and Mail, 10 June 2013.]

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Find this story at 9 June 2013

Canadian intelligence caught off guard by Arab Spring: government report

OTTAWA — The 2011 Arab Spring uprising in the Middle East came as a surprise to the Canadian government, which risks getting caught off-guard again without a new approach to gathering intelligence, an internal government report says.

Among other developments, analysts underestimated the repercussions of regime change in Tunisia, the Egyptian military’s efforts to control dissent and the duration of the civil war in Libya, says the assessment of how well the Privy Council Office did in keeping an eye on the Middle East two years ago.

The Privy Council Office, or PCO, is the bureaucratic arm of the prime minister’s office and includes an Intelligence Assessment Secretariat, which provides a regular range of reports to senior government officials.

Earlier this year, the research arm of the Department of National Defence published an analysis of how accurate their predictions were as part of a broader look at the state of human analytics.

“With regard to the Arab Spring, the study found that the wave of protests and regime changes that swept the Middle East in 2011 had not been anticipated,” the report concluded.

However, the privy council was no different in that respect than most academics, reports, think-tanks, private sector analysts or even other governments, the report found.

That includes the analysts in the U.S., U.K., Australia and New Zealand, which along with Canada make up the so-called Five Eyes network.

“There is no reason to believe that IAS did any worse than other Five Eyes and allied agencies in its analysis of the Arab Spring, and in a few areas it appears to have done somewhat better,” the report says.

Canadian analysts had a handle on the crises once they were underway, with the report suggesting there was good analysis of the “dogs that barked” — events in the Middle East that were getting press and policy attention.

But they need to look further afield, the report found.

“In general, there has been little attention to the ‘dogs that didn’t bark’ — that is, underlying medium-and long-term trends in countries without ongoing protests or civil violence,” the report said.

“Failure to do so may set the stage for future Arab Spring-type strategic surprises.”

The potential implications of the gaps in Canadian intelligence aren’t discussed in the report, but it recommends a rethink of how intelligence is gathered and shared.

It suggests that a reliance on briefings of just two or three sentences needs to be shelved in favour of more substantial examinations.

“For some time to come there may be a particular need in Middle East assessment to flag wildcards and low probability/high impact developments that could result in rapid and substantial shifts in otherwise apparently stable political trajectories,” the report said.

The 26-page-report had been approved for publication by Defence Research and Development Canada, and was briefly posted online in April by the lead researcher from McGill University.

Defence Research and Development Canada did not return repeated calls for comment.

Stephanie Levitz
Mon May 06 2013 18:35:00

Find this story at 6 May 2013

© Copyright 2013 Metroland Media Group Ltd.

RCMP files on Tommy Douglas remain secret: SCOC

OTTAWA – Secret RCMP files on Tommy Douglas will remain secret, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled on Thursday.

The Court dismissed a request by Canadian Press reporter Jim Bronskill to force Library and Archives Canada to release a large part of the file on the former Saskatchewan premier and founding leader of the federal NDP.

By Brigitte Pellerin, Parliamentary Bureau

Find this story at 28 March 2013

Copyright © 2013, Canoe Inc.

Supreme Court won’t hear appeal in Tommy Douglas case: Canadian Press reporter fought to have 1,149-page RCMP file on Douglas made public

The Supreme Court said it won’t hear an appeal by a Canadian Press reporter who wants a 1,149-page RCMP file on Tommy Douglas made public.

The Supreme Court of Canada has ended an effort by The Canadian Press to lift the shroud of secrecy over an intelligence dossier compiled on socialist trailblazer Tommy Douglas.

The high court has denied reporter Jim Bronskill leave to appeal in his case to have information in the Douglas file made public.

The Canadian Press Posted: Mar 28, 2013 1:33 PM CST Last Updated: Mar 28, 2013 10:32 AM CST

Find this story at 28 March 2013

© The Canadian Press, 2013

Fight over secret Tommy Douglas file goes to top court ‘It is about the balance between history and security’

The Supreme Court of Canada is being asked to settle a seven-year battle to lift the shroud of secrecy over a decades-old intelligence dossier on former NDP leader Tommy Douglas.

The Supreme Court of Canada is being asked to settle a seven-year battle to lift the shroud of secrecy over a decades-old intelligence dossier on socialist trailblazer Tommy Douglas.

Jim Bronskill, a reporter with The Canadian Press, is seeking leave to appeal the case to the country’s highest court.

According to Bronskill’s lawyer says it’s not just about gaining access to the file.

In essence, the top court is being asked to be the final arbiter on whether national security should trump the public’s right to see historical documents.

“It is about the balance between history and security and when national security information can and should be withheld,” Paul Champ said in an interview.

“Our simple position is that information that’s gathered for intelligence or national security should not be hidden away from Canadians for all time. At some point, that information can and should become available to historians and journalists and the Canadian public so that we can better understand our history.”

In 2005, Bronskill applied under the Access to Information Act to see the intelligence file compiled by the now-defunct RCMP Security Service on Douglas, a former Saskatchewan premier, father of medicare and first federal NDP leader.

Library and Archives Canada, which is now in possession of the file, eventually released just over 400, heavily redacted pages from the 1,142-page file. Bronskill launched a court challenge after the federal information commissioner agreed with the government that most of the file should remain under wraps.
More than 300 pages released last year

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service, which replaced the Mounties’ security service and advised Library and Archives on release of the Douglas file, has argued strenuously against full disclosure.

Although some information in the file dates back almost 80 years, the agency maintains uncensored release of the dossier would reveal secrets of the spy trade, which could jeopardize the lives of confidential informants and compromise the agency’s ability to conduct secret surveillance.

Last year, just days before the case was heard in Federal Court, the government released more than 300 additional pages from the file.
‘Hundreds of documents about Tommy Douglas – some over 70 years old – will be permanently withheld from the Canadian public.’
—Lawyer Paul Champ

Nevertheless, Justice Simon Noel subsequently ruled that Library and Archives failed to take into account its mandate to preserve historically significant documents and make them accessible to Canadians when responding to Bronskill’s access request.

Having painstakingly reviewed all the pages in the file, Noel attached an annex to his judgment, listing the page numbers which contained information he believed should be further disclosed.

The government appealed to the Federal Court of Appeal which, after hearing three hours of legal arguments last October, issued a brief oral ruling overturning Noel’s decision.

While the panel of three justices agreed that the historical value of documents should be a factor in considering access requests, it also struck down Noel’s annex.
Canadian history ‘seriously damaged’

In an application seeking leave to appeal to the Supreme Court, Champ argues that the Federal Court of Appeal ruling means “hundreds of documents about Tommy Douglas – some over 70 years old – will be permanently withheld from the Canadian public.”

Moreover, he says it means access legislation “will continue to be interpreted in a manner that generally restricts disclosure of historically significant documents. The study of Canadian history, and its salutary influence on the practice of democracy, is seriously damaged by this result.”

Champ also argues the appeal court should not have so “lightly overturned” Noel’s ruling, given the amount of time he’d spent personally reviewing the Douglas file.

The government has 30 days in which to respond to Champ’s application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court.

The Canadian Press Posted: Dec 9, 2012 1:36 PM ET Last Updated: Dec 9, 2012 1:34 PM ET Read 360

(Chris Schwarz/The Canadian Press)

Find this story at 9 December 2012

Copyright © CBC 2013

RCMP spied on Tommy Douglas, files reveal

RCMP spies shadowed Prairie politician Tommy Douglas for more than three decades, according to documents obtained by the Canadian Press.

A newly declassified file on Douglas shows the Mounties attended his speeches, dissected his published articles and, during one Parliament Hill demonstration, eavesdropped on a private conversation.
The RCMP’s file on Tommy Douglas, shown after re-election in November, 1965, contains articles noting Douglas’s concern about rumours of RCMP surveillance of Canadians.
(Canadian Press)

Douglas, a trailblazing socialist committed to social reform, drew the interest of RCMP security officers through his longstanding links with left-wing causes, the burgeoning peace movement and assorted Communist party members.

In the late 1970s, as the veteran politician neared retirement, the Mounties recommended keeping his file open based on the notion “there is much we do not know about Douglas.”

The 1,142-page dossier, spanning nine volumes, was obtained by the Canadian Press from Library and Archives Canada under the Access to Information Act.

Personal files compiled by the RCMP’s security and intelligence branch can be released through the access law 20 years after a subject’s death. Douglas died of cancer at age 81 in February 1986.

Widely hailed as the father of medicare for championing universal health services, the influential Saskatchewan politician was voted the greatest Canadian of all time in a popular CBC contest two years ago.

Daughter Shirley married fellow actor Donald Sutherland. Their son, Kiefer Sutherland, stars in the hit television series 24.

A Baptist minister, Douglas entered politics upon seeing the toll the Great Depression took on families.
Attracted attention in 1939

It appears he first attracted the RCMP’s attention in February 1939 when, as a Co-operative Commonwealth Federation MP, Douglas urged a group of labourers in downtown Ottawa to push for legislation beneficial to the unemployed.

An RCMP constable quietly attended the session, filing a secret two-page account to superiors.

A few years later, Douglas became leader of Saskatchewan’s Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, soon heading up the first socialist government in North America.

As premier, he ushered in public auto insurance, guaranteed hospital care and a provincial bill of rights.
‘Setting people to spy on one another is not the way to protect freedom.’
— Tommy Douglas

The RCMP file reflects Douglas’s interest in anti-war causes, including opposition to nuclear weapons and criticism of UN policy on Korea.

There are also occasional references to allegations that the CCF harboured members with Communist ties.

Douglas was chosen leader of the federal New Democratic Party in 1961 and served for 10 years. The rise to national prominence only fuelled interest in his political associations.

In late 1964, the RCMP received a letter alleging that Douglas had once been an active member of the Communist party at the University of Chicago, where he had done postgraduate studies.

A top secret memo from a senior RCMP security officer to the force’s deputy commissioner of operations indicates there was no reliable information to substantiate the tip.

“We have never asked the FBI for information on the matter because of Douglas’ position as leader of a national political party.”

During a March 1965 rally on Parliament Hill, an RCMP constable “observed a meeting” between Douglas and missionary peace activist James Endicott.

A report notes that Endicott, after congratulating Douglas on his speech, mentioned he had recently been to Saigon, where war would soon boil over.

Douglas asked: “How are things down there?”

Endicott replied: “Terrible, just terrible.”

The secret report records their plans to have lunch the next week, duly noting later that no “information could be obtained” as to whether the meal took place.
Comments about Pearson

In May 1965, a confidential source provided information for an account of Douglas’s appearance at a Communist party meeting in Burnaby, B.C.

The NDP leader took aim at Liberal prime minister Lester Pearson for not opposing U.S. actions in southeast Asia.

“Douglas states that Australia has already ‘been taken in’ and is sending troops to Vietnam,” the memo reads. “He stated that he [Douglas] will fight with every drop of blood in his body against the Vietnam affair.”

The file contains articles noting Douglas’s concern about rumours of RCMP surveillance of Canadians, though there is no indication the politician suspected he was being watched.

“Setting people to spy on one another is not the way to protect freedom,” he wrote while NDP leader.

RCMP security and intelligence officers amassed files on 800,000 Canadians and actively monitored thousands of organizations, from church and women’s groups to media outlets and universities.
More than 650 secret dossiers in ‘VIP program’

Markings indicate Douglas’s file is one of more than 650 secret dossiers the RCMP kept on Canadian politicians and bureaucrats as part of a project known as the “VIP program.”

While many of these files were destroyed, some with historical significance have been retained by the Library and Archives.

Last Updated: Monday, December 18, 2006 | 9:39 AM ET The Canadian Press

Find this story at 18 December 2006

© The Canadian Press, 2006

Canadian diplomats spied on Cuba for CIA in aftermath of missile crisis: envoy

In a little-known chapter of the Cold War, Canadian diplomats spied for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency in Cuba in the aftermath of the 1962 missile crisis – and for years afterward.

A major part of that story is told in a forthcoming memoir by retired Canadian envoy John Graham. Mr. Graham was one of a series of Canadian diplomats recruited to spy for the CIA in Havana. The missions went on for at least seven years, during the 1960s.

“We didn’t have a military attaché in the Canadian embassy,” explained Mr. Graham, who worked under the cover of Political Officer. “And to send one at the time might have raised questions. So it was decided to make our purpose less visible.”

Mr. Graham said he worked as a spy for two years, between 1962 and 1964. His mandate was to visit Soviet bases, identify weapons and electronic equipment and monitor troop movements.

The espionage missions began after President John Kennedy asked Prime Minister Lester Pearson – at their May, 1963, summit in Hyannis Port, Mass. – whether Canada would abet American intelligence-gathering efforts in Cuba.

As a result of the crisis, which brought the superpowers to the brink of nuclear war, the Soviets had agreed to withdraw nuclear missiles from Cuban territory, in exchange for Washington’s pledge to remove its own missile batteries from Turkey and Italy.

To monitor Russian compliance, the United States needed to supplement data gleaned from almost daily U-2 reconnaissance flights. It had few assets on the ground. Its networks of Cuban agents had been progressively rolled up by Castro’s efficient counterintelligence service. And having severed diplomatic relations with Cuba in 1961, it had no embassy of its own through which to infiltrate American spies.

Soon after the summit meeting, Ottawa sent diplomat George Cowley to Havana.

Now deceased, Mr. Cowley, who had served in the Canadian embassy in Japan and sold encyclopedias in Africa, spent about two months in Havana in the late spring of 1963.

He was followed by Mr. Graham, seconded from his post as chargé d’affaires in the Dominican Republic.

His formal training, he told The Globe and Mail, was minimal – a few days at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va. At the end of it, an agency officer offered him a farewell gift – a sophisticated camera with an assortment of telephoto lenses.

He declined the present, arguing that if he were ever caught with it, he’d surely be arrested.

“But how will we know what the Soviet military convoys are carrying?” a CIA officer asked him. “We need precision. Configuration is essential for recognition.”

“I’ll draw you pictures,” Mr. Graham said. “It was a bit like the character in Graham Greene’s Our Man in Havana, but that’s what I did.”

In the Greene novel, an inept salesman, recruited to spy for Britain, sends illustrations of vacuum cleaner parts to his handler, calling them drawings of a military installation.

Mr. Graham’s sketches, however, were the real thing. To get them to Canada, he flew to Mexico City – the only regional air connection – and deposited the drawings at the Canadian embassy. From there, they were dispatched by diplomatic courier to Ottawa. Copies were subsequently sent to the CIA and, Mr. Graham later heard, to the Kennedy White House.

His written reports, sent by ciphered telegram to the Canadian embassy in Washington and then to Ottawa, contained details of electronic arrays in use at Soviet bases. “That information,” he said, “could tell an expert what weapons systems they had.”

Although Moscow had removed its nuclear arsenal by the time Mr. Graham arrived, it maintained a significant military presence. Russian soldiers typically dressed in civilian clothes, usually in plaid sport shirts, khaki pants and running shoes.

To fit in, Mr. Graham adopted the same ensemble – purchased at a Zellers store in Ottawa. Although many missions involved early morning surveillance of naval facilities, he was never followed. He was stopped only once by the police, roaming through a secure section of a communications building. He pretended to be a bumbling tourist and was let go.

On several occasions, Mr. Graham conducted joint reconnaissance with an agent of another Western country that he declines to identify. “He was brilliant and altogether remarkable. At parties, he composed Monty-Python-like lyrics to pet and lingerie commercials, accompanying himself on the piano.”

To relieve the stress of their missions, they would stop for seaside picnics on the way home. “Mr. X would pull out two crystal goblets and a Thermos of premixed martinis. I supplied the olives.”

Canadian officials, he said, went to extraordinary lengths to protect his identity as an agent. He stamped his sketches with the words, “For Canadian Eyes Only, Confidential.” But in Ottawa they were given an additional security designation – “Secret, Ottawa Only, Protect Source,” a classification he had never seen, before or since.

In 1964, Mr. Graham was promoted within the embassy and replaced in his espionage work by Alan McLaine.

In fact, he said, Canada’s role as CIA surrogate in Cuba continued for several years, even under the government of Pierre Trudeau, who had developed a personal friendship with Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

MICHAEL POSNER

OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail

Published Monday, Oct. 15 2012, 9:56 PM EDT

Last updated Tuesday, Oct. 16 2012, 5:02 AM EDT

Find this story at 15 October 2012

© Copyright 2013 The Globe and Mail Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Canadian spy’s guilty plea closes lid on serious breach

A CANADIAN spy who compromised Australian intelligence information has pleaded guilty to espionage, having reportedly sold secrets to Russia for $3000 a month.

Canadian naval officer Jeffrey Paul Delisle’s guilty plea in Nova Scotia’s supreme court on Wednesday has ensured that the Canadian, United States and Australian governments will not be embarrassed by a jury trial that would have revealed details of one of the worst Western security breaches since the end of the Cold War.

Delisle’s sale of top-secret intelligence to Russian agents was the subject of high-level consultation between the Australian and Canadian governments last January and was discussed at a secret international conference of Western security agencies at Queenstown, New Zealand, in February.

Fairfax Media reported in July that Australian security sources had privately acknowledged the massive security breach compromised Western intelligence information and capabilities.
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The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation was also briefed on the case through liaison with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

Sub-Lieutenant Delisle worked at the Royal Canadian Navy’s Trinity intelligence and communications centre at Halifax, Nova Scotia. A naval intelligence and security analyst, he had access to a top-secret computer network code-named Stone Ghost that connects the defence intelligence agencies of the US, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Australian security sources say much of the information Delisle sold was top-secret signals intelligence collected by the five agencies.

Delisle’s guilty plea means that few details of the espionage case have or will be made public.

However, newly released information from Delisle’s bail hearing in January has revealed that facing chronic financial difficulties, he began a four-year espionage career by walking into the Russian Embassy in Ottawa in 2007. Wearing civilian clothes, Delisle displayed his Canadian military identification badge and asked to meet someone from GRU, the Russian military intelligence service.

October 12, 2012
Philip Dorling

Find this story at 12 October 2012

Copyright © 2013 Fairfax Media

Canada: RCMP spied on Rae during student days: documents

Bob Rae: Interim Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada and Former Premier of Ontario

OTTAWA – The RCMP spied on Bob Rae during his student activist days and likely amassed a personal dossier on the future Liberal leader, newly declassified documents reveal.

Mountie security agents, wary of late-1960s campus turmoil, kept a close eye on the University of Toronto student council — apparently relying on a secret informant to glean information about Rae and other council members.

The RCMP Security Service conducted widespread surveillance of universities, unions, peace groups and myriad other organizations during the Cold War in an effort to identify left-wing subversives.

A surprised Rae says he had no idea the RCMP was watching him.

“The notion that any of this posed a kind of a threat to the established order certainly would have come as news to all of us,” he said in an interview.

“The only thing sinister, frankly, in all of this is how much of it was being recorded and reported and presumably being put in a file somewhere.”

Hundreds of pages of RCMP files on the Students’ Administrative Council at the University of Toronto were released to The Canadian Press by Library and Archives Canada.

The RCMP’s intelligence branch was disbanded in 1984 following a series of scandals, and a new civilian agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, took over most domestic spying duties.

In 1968-69, Rae was a member of the student council led by Steven Langdon who, like Rae, would later serve as a New Democrat MP. The two were seen as moderates on a council that included more extreme representatives on both the left and right of the political spectrum.

Rae also helped put together large conferences, known as teach-ins — one on China and a followup on religion and politics for which Michael Ignatieff, another Liberal leader in the making, served as a principal organizer.

“It was an exciting time,” Rae recalled. “We did manage to reform the governance of the University of Toronto. There was a lot of activism and discussion about ideas and about politics.

“That’s what you do in university. The idea that there’s a cop at the back of the room who’s writing everything down — I guess that was also a reality of the time.”

Rae became interim Liberal leader following Ignatieff’s resignation from the post last year. As the party prepares for a biennial conference in Ottawa this weekend, there is renewed speculation that Rae is eyeing a run at the permanent leadership next year.

As a budding student politician, Rae was seized with issues including the university’s plans for increasing graduate program enrolment and renovations to campus residences.

A secret and heavily redacted memo prepared by an RCMP sergeant on Nov. 4, 1968 — likely based on details from an informant — notes seven individuals including Rae were planning to meet to discuss student business.

A space after Rae’s name is blacked out — almost certainly cloaking the number of the personal file the RCMP would have opened on him, said Steve Hewitt, author of Spying 101: The RCMP’s Secret Activities at Canadian Universities, 1917-1997.

“So they’re obviously interested in monitoring student politicians — who are the ones they need to keep a longer-term watch on, who are the real radicals?” said Hewitt.

For privacy reasons, the public is allowed access to RCMP files on individuals only 20 years after the person’s death. While a number of files of historical value — including a large one on former NDP leader Tommy Douglas — were transferred to Library and Archives, many were destroyed.

Hewitt believes the RCMP file on Rae would have been preserved for posterity given that he was a young member of Parliament in the early 1980s before going on to become the first NDP premier of Ontario.

In an odd twist, Rae would later serve on the Security Intelligence Review Committee — the federally appointed watchdog that keeps an eye on CSIS — before re-entering politics as a Liberal. At the review committee he directly wrestled with the tension between the legitimate right to protest and security officials’ fears of extremist activity.

The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012 7:09AM EST

Find this story at 12 January 2012

More on Bob Rae

© 2012 All rights reserved.

Naval intelligence officer sold military secrets to Russia for $3,000 a month

A Canadian naval intelligence officer has pleaded guilty to spying for Russia, a public admission of an embarrassing espionage scandal that has damaged Canada’s reputation among allies and will likely reverberate for years.

In a Halifax court Wednesday, Sub-Lieutenant Jeffrey Delisle, 41, pleaded guilty to two charges under the Security of Information Act of “communicating with a foreign entity,” and a Criminal Code offence of breach of trust.

His admission lifts a publication ban placed on details of the Crown’s case against SLt. Delisle. A prosecutor at bail hearings in the spring said Russia was the beneficiary of SLt. Delisle’s four-and-a-half years of espionage, and cited intelligence sources who feared it could push Canada’s relations with allied intelligence organizations “back to the Stone Age.”

The sailor, whose last post was the ultra-secure Trinity naval intelligence gathering centre in Halifax, had access to top military secrets – databases with protected information from Canada and the country’s allies through intelligence-sharing systems such as the “Five Eyes” network linking Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Britain and the United States.

SLt. Delisle, the court was told, searched military databases for the term “Russia,” smuggled the details out of his office using a USB memory stick – and handed the fruits of his labours over to agents for Moscow every 30 days.

The information was mostly military but also contained reports on organized crime, political players and senior defence officials. It included e-mails, phone numbers and a contact list for members of the intelligence community.

The naval officer has been held in custody at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Halifax since his arrest in January and will not be sentenced until early next year.

SLt. Delisle could be looking at a long stay behind bars but not life imprisonment, his lawyer suggested.

The Crown, meanwhile, will be scouring the world for case law to convince a judge that the sailor must remain imprisoned as there are no precedents in law. This is the first time anyone in Canada will be sentenced under the Security of Information Act, which was created more than a decade ago in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

SLt. Delisle was a rare catch for the Russian government: a spy who walked in from the cold.

It was back in mid-2007 that the Canadian Forces member first embarked on his traitorous side career. He strode into the Russian embassy in Ottawa, volunteering to sell out his country. He would earn about $3,000 a month for this service.

“I said I wanted to talk to a security officer, which are usually GRU,” SLt. Delise said of Russian military intelligence, in a statement read by a Crown prosecutor this spring. “I showed my ID card. They took me into an [office] … asked me a bunch of questions, took my name and off I go.”

It would be the only time SLt. Delisle would meet personally with a Russian handler on Canadian soil.

SLt. Delisle had an escape plan in place – one he never got a chance to use, the court heard. If he needed to seek refuge or re-establish contact with the Russians, he was told he could walk into a Russian embassy – preferably not the one in Ottawa – and inform them he was “Alex Campbell.”

The Russians would then ask him “Did I meet you at a junk show in Austria?” And he was supposed to reply: “No, it was in Ottawa.”

The “day I flipped sides,” as SLt. Delisle described it to his Canadian police interrogators, came as his marriage of nearly a decade was unravelling.

The naval officer told authorities he didn’t do it for money but rather for “ideological reasons” – and was acutely aware his life as he knew it was now over.

“That was the end of my days as Jeff Delisle,” the sailor said, according to the Crown prosecutor. “It was professional suicide.”

The Canadian sailor was paid by wire transfer for the first four years. At first he was paid $5,000 but this quickly dropped to about $2,800 a month and then finally $3,000 every 30 days. This continued until about five months before he was caught, when the Russians changed how they paid him.

The Russians had devised a simple method for SLt. Delisle to hand over information. He and his Russian handler shared a single e-mail account on Gawab.com, a Middle Eastern provider.

The Canadian spy would log in and compose an e-mail. He’d copy and paste the stolen information into the body of the e-mail. But instead of sending the message he would save it in the draft e-mail folder and log out.

The Russians would subsequently log in to the Gawab account, retrieve the information and then write him a draft e-mail in reply – one that was saved but never sent.

In the months before they arrested SLt. Delisle, Canadian authorities managed to break into the Gawab account and trick the sailor into leaving purloined secrets for them.

He also felt pressured to comply with the Russians, who made not too subtle threats.

“They had photos of me. They had photos of my children. I knew exactly what it was for,” the Crown said SLt. Delisle told them.

The Canadian spy’s relationship with Moscow began to change in late summer of 2011. It started with a trip to Brazil to meet a Russian handler named “Victor.”

The Crown’s narrative has gaps in it but it appeared that either the sailor or the Russians believed his ability to gather intelligence might be curtailed.

Moscow proposed that the Canadian Forces member’s role change – that he become what they called “the pigeon” – the liaison between all agents in Canada working for Russia’s military intelligence unit.

STEVEN CHASE and JANE TABER

OTTAWA and HALIFAX — The Globe and Mail

Published Wednesday, Oct. 10 2012, 8:52 PM EDT

Last updated Wednesday, Oct. 10 2012, 10:50 PM EDT

Find this story at 10 October 2012

© Copyright 2012 The Globe and Mail Inc. All Rights Reserved.