Tuesday, October 08, 2013

The boys in Brazil

CSE's recent target development work on the Brazilian Ministry of Mines and Energy was not the first occasion on which CSE has shown interest in Brazil.

In 1994, former CSE employee Mike Frost and journalist Michel Gratton wrote the book Spyworld: Inside the Canadian and American Intelligence Establishments.

Among the CSE operations reported in Spyworld was a series of "surveys" undertaken during the early 1980s to determine whether selected Canadian embassies would be suitable for hosting intercept equipment to monitor local radio, cell phone, and microwave telephone traffic.

According to Frost, one of the sites surveyed around 1981-1982 was the Canadian embassy in Brasilia (see pages 142 and 182).

The book doesn't say whether a permanent intercept operation was set up in Brasilia following the survey (it may be that Frost didn't know one way or the other). It did report, however, that a number of permanent sites were subsequently set up. The first permanent site approved under the program was established in 1984 in New Delhi following approval in mid-1983.

The "Olympia" documents note that "Very little collection" was available to CSE at the beginning of the recent effort, which may suggest that in the end no permanent intercept site was established in Brasilia, or that if there was a site, it was removed sometime earlier.

Either way, however, it is clear that Canadian interest in Brazil has been around for quite a while.

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