Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Bossenmaier testimony to Senate National Security and Defence Committee

CSE Chief Greta Bossenmaier testified before the Senate National Security and Defence Committee on 21 March 2016.

The transcript of the session won't be available until later [Update 20 April 2016: now available here], but the meeting was televised and can be watched here. The part of the session involving Bossenmaier begins around 14:08.

Nothing much of substance is revealed: There's only one, brief discussion of the metadata mess, for example, at the end of the session (around 15:02).

Other than that and some scare numbers about port scans (previously plugged here), there's not much to see.

[Update 20 April 2016: Nice to see the 100 million "malicious cyberactions" in Bossenmaier's testimony acknowledged as "network scans" in Minister Sajjan's speech.]

Media coverage:

Amanda Connolly, "CSE chief says federal departments need to ‘get on’ Shared Services’ cyber defences," iPolitics, 21 March 2016.

Friday, March 18, 2016

February 2016 CSE staff size


(If you click through on the link and get a different figure, it's probably because the Treasury Board has updated its website; they update the numbers once a month.)

Sunday, March 06, 2016

History of the Examination Unit

The Examination Unit was Canada's first code-breaking agency. Hidden within the National Research Council, the XU, as it was typically known, operated from 9 June 1941 until its dissolution in August 1945, in the final days of the Second World War.

Canada had monitored U-boat transmissions and other signals intelligence targets from the very beginning of the war (and even to a limited extent beforehand), but it was the creation of the XU that opened the way for high-level SIGINT cooperation between Ottawa, London, and Washington and thus laid the groundwork for Canada's participation in the post-war Five Eyes intelligence-sharing community.

As its activities were winding down, an internal, classified history of the XU was compiled under the editorship of Gilbert deB. Robinson. (More on Robinson here.)

That highly secret history remained hidden from the public for many decades, but eventually a redacted version was released following an Access to Information request. I obtained a copy of it shortly afterwards, in 1991.

Now you can read it here:

G. deB. Robinson (ed.), A History of the Examination Unit: 1941-1945, Examination Unit, July 1945.


Update 25 May 2022:

An entirely unredacted version of the document has also long been available to consult at Library and Archives Canada. Here is a copy of that unredacted document.