Saturday, April 04, 2015

CSE Commissioner pleads for cash?

The 2015-2016 departmental reports on plans and priorities, otherwise known as Part III of the Estimates, were tabled in parliament on Tuesday, March 31st.

That annual event doesn't usually draw much attention at this blog, because CSE doesn't publish a Report on Plans and Priorities. (When CSE was part of the Department of National Defence, DND did include a roughly two-page section on CSE in the departmental RPP, but CSE chose not to maintain this reporting when it became a stand-alone agency in 2011. In true Orwellian fashion, the agency then described this entirely needless retreat from what was already a minimal level of transparency as "enhanced" reporting.)

Unlike CSE, however, the agency's watchdog the CSE Commissioner does publish a Report on Plans and Priorities, and this year's report managed most unusually to make the news:

- Alex Boutilier, "Review body for Canada’s electronic spy agency warns it can’t keep up," Toronto Star, 1 April 2015.

- Justin Ling, "The Guy Who Oversees Canada’s Cyberspy Agency Is Cash-Strapped and Worried," Vice, 2 April 2015.

- Ian MacLeod, "Watchdog worried about keeping up with Canada's electronic spying activities," Ottawa Citizen, 3 April 2015.

I'm not totally persuaded that this year's report was intended to be read as a warning that OCSEC is starved for cash and resources, but that's certainly the way it has been interpreted, and the Commissioner clearly did express concern about the effects of fiscal restraint on his ability to oversee CSE:
Cost sharing related to central agency initiatives and fiscal restraint measures are reducing the flexibility of the office's available funding. CSE, however, is growing and its activities are changing in response to its changing environment. The risk that the capacity of the office to conduct sufficient review to provide the necessary assurances to the Minister will be exceeded is a constant concern. An increase in funding, if required, would resolve the capacity issue and enable the Commissioner to continue to provide the necessary assurances to the Minister and to Canadians as to whether CSE is complying with the law and has due regard for the privacy of Canadians.
Over at Vice, this became "Financial reports released on Tuesday show the commissioner is going to have to cut back his review processes due to lack of funds." I think that probably overstates the message that the Commissioner intended to send.

Vice also commented that the Commissioner "doesn't have the power to compel information from CSE."

This is not correct.

As the National Defence Act makes clear, the CSE Commissioner "has all the powers of a commissioner under Part II of the Inquiries Act." Which means the Commissioner
(a) may enter into and remain within any public office or institution, and shall have access to every part thereof;
(b) may examine all papers, documents, vouchers, records and books of every kind belonging to the public office or institution;
(c) may summon before them any person and require the person to give evidence, orally or in writing, and on oath or, if the person is entitled to affirm in civil matters on solemn affirmation; and
(d) may administer the oath or affirmation under paragraph (c).
What the Commissioner says in the Report on Plans and Priorities is that "The office has no authority to enforce specific actions by CSE". In other words, the Commissioner can make recommendations for changes in CSE's policies and operations, but he does not have the power to compel the Minister or CSE to accept those recommendations.

Also relevant is this follow-up report:

- Laura Beaulne-Stuebing, "Canada’s security watchdog needs more power, says Liberal MP," Yahoo News, 3 April 2015.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michael And Ingrid Heroux said

My wife and I will be contacting Honourable Jean-Pierre Plouffe this week. We have been waiting for CSEC to get back to us and they won't even answer our requests. No one wants to deal with the 30-08 warrants but the Justice Department Of Canada says CSIS and CSEC has our information. SIRC won't even answer us, they should of got back to us this week and instead tuesday they tabled a letter in parliament saying they can't investigate CSIS because they can't follow the intelligence threads of the foreign agencies that would involve the FIVE EYES and the 30-08 warrants.

We finally got our first trickle of intelligence investigation documents on us from the government after being denied them for over a year now. It is just a start but it should be enough to help us secure a lawyer to try and pry the rest of our intelligence information on us from them. The agents were falsefying violent intelligence investigation on us to make it look like they were doing some serious investigations. Some of the information was redacted but we do remember inviting the agents into our home to party and they turned around and falsely claimed they were doing serious intelligence operation against us. They made up stuff about being in our home on other days we didn't even meet them. Some of the agents we even had to kick out of our home for selling drugs, they wanted to sell drugs out of our home to entrap people and we wouldn't let them and when asked to leave they wouldn't leave so we had to forcefully remove them and they went back to their headquarters and filed reports that they were doing violent intelligence investigations on us, stuff we were never charged with but it makes us look bad. No wonder people have been treating us like we are terrorists. Some of the agents claims against us we were not even in the province when they claimed to be investigating us, we were in a different province and we have proof. Thanks for reading.

If anyone knows of a good lawyer so we can keep the rest of our family alive please get ahold of us. You can contact us on our website. Thanks

April 05, 2015 12:09 am  

Post a Comment

<< Home