June 2015 CSE staff size
(If you click through on the link and get a different figure, it's probably because the Canada Public Service Agency has updated its website; they update the numbers once a month.)
Monitoring Canadian signals intelligence (SIGINT) activities past and present.
I am writing with respect to Bill C-51, Part 1, Security of Canada Information Sharing Act, which allows the sharing of information among Government of Canada institutions for national security purposes. Following my reading of the Bill, I question why the existing security and intelligence review bodies are not included in this proposed legislation.That would be the amendments that the government promised were a legislative priority EIGHT years ago.
As I stated in my public annual report, tabled in Parliament last August, and as my predecessor also stated, there is a limited amount of co-operation that can occur among the review bodies within existing legislative mandates. However, an explicit authority to co-operate and share information would strengthen review capacity and effectiveness. This authority becomes that much more important in the evolving context of ever greater co-operation between the intelligence and security agencies.
Sharing of information among the existing review bodies would allow one to alert another as to what information was being shared, to follow the trail of that information and to ensure that the sharing of information complied with the law and that the privacy of Canadians was protected.
On a separate but nonetheless related issue, permit me to make an additional point.
I regret that an opportunity has not been seized to introduce amendments to the National Defence Act to eliminate ambiguities that were long ago identified by my predecessors. Eliminating these ambiguities seeks to clarify key terms in CSE’s legislated authority and resolve legal interpretation issues.
From 1944 until 1946, [Marion] Booth worked with the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service — also known as the Wrens — in Victoria, British Columbia. Practicing wireless telegraphy, she used short wave radio, typing and morse code to intercept Japanese communications.
“I think the messages intercepted were between (Japanese) battle ships,” she said.
“I had a Japanese typewriter, and I typed out what I heard (in morse code). I couldn’t read it, but I passed it along to be read and decoded,” she said.
After the war ended, she returned to Ottawa, her hometown, and was faced with a choice: attend university or continue spying for the Canadian government. The Communications Branch of the National Research Council had been recruiting her.
“The $20 or $25 (per month) they offered looked pretty good. That’s why (close friend) Sally Coates and I decided we’d stay on with CB and go to university later,” she said.
Booth trained in the Russian division, while Coates was sent to the Chinese division.
As the Cold War deepened, Booth learned, intercepted and translated Russian. While at the National Research Council, she collaborated with fellow spies at Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters at Bletchley Park and the National Security Administration [sic], the latter of which took her to Washington DC for a year.
Sitting in her bright, corner suite apartment in west-central Calgary, Booth seems uninterested in the Russian messages she intercepted.
“I didn’t see anything that was world shattering. Most of the things I saw were pretty plebeian. They were just a lot of five-year quotas (of grain) in Russia,” she said.
All [criminal intelligence] information which may be used in the investigation or prosecution of an alleged contravention of any law of Canada or a province shall be reported to the Service [i.e., CSIS]. (See PDF page 16.)Note the "shall" in that statement. The next paragraph seems to suggest that CSE's provision of such information to CSIS may be subject to various conditions or limitations, but we can't know whether or to what degree that may be true because all the subsequent details are redacted.