Sunday, March 16, 2008

February 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've been updating the numbers once a month recently.)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Shacking up with CSIS

The Supplementary Estimates (B) for 2007-08 confirm that CSE is getting a new building. The project definition phase of the Mid-Term Accommodations Project is budgeted at $1.296 million. "Mid-Term" presumably means that the building is not a short-term response to the agency's growth, like the two new buildings recently constructed beside the Tilley and Drake buildings, but still not a long-term solution to CSE's scattered accommodations.

According to the Mid-Term Accommodations Project page in the Canadian Environmental Assessment Registry, the four-storey 6000-square-metre building will not be constructed on the current CSE campus. Instead, the plan is to build it on a greenfield site at Bathgate Drive and Ogilvie Road in Ottawa's east end. Why so far from the rest of CSE? Availability of land may be one factor. But it probably has more to do with the site's neighbour immediately to the northeast. That triangular building is CSIS headquarters. The much increased focus on security intelligence within CSE in recent years presumably gives the two agencies much to talk about.

Given its size, the new building will likely accommodate only about 200–300 people, or about 15% of CSE's staff, confirming that it is not the solution to CSE's overall accommodation needs that was promised by then-Chief Keith Coulter in 2005. It also presumably does not account for very much of the $43 million promised to CSE in the recent federal budget, suggesting that the supercomputer hypothesis may be the more likely explanation.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Strip-mining for data

The Wall Street Journal reported on 10 March that NSA is conducting massive data mining of U.S. communications and other transactions in its attempts to identify possible terrorists, sifting through transactional data related to cellphone and landline telephone calls, e-mail, internet use, travel, and financial transactions, among other information (Siobhan Gorman, "NSA's Domestic Spying Grows As Agency Sweeps Up Data," Wall Street Journal, 10 March 2008). Looks like earlier reports and speculations (see here and here) were pretty much on the mark.

The NSA picture is gradually becoming clear(er), but we have yet to find out exactly what CSE—can't make myself call it CSEC—is doing in its own data mining efforts. Maybe a little transactional analysis of its own? Chief Adams certainly seemed interested in the subject in his 30 April 2007 testimony to the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence (relevant bit quoted in this post).

Medina Katrina

According to this posting, the Canadian detachment at Medina RSOC helped out with Hurricane Katrina relief in 2005. So said (evidently) the CANSLO/W. BZs all around.

Sunday, March 02, 2008


In January the Communications Security Establishment's name was changed to Communications Security Establishment Canada.

No, really.