Thursday, December 29, 2016

ATIpper #2: A flock of CROs

More from the Access to Information (ATI) files:

One of the primary ways CSE disseminates its intelligence products is through Client Relations Officers (CROs) embedded with various customer departments and agencies.

Here's the list of customers that hosted CROs in November 2015 (from Access release A-2015-00067, p. 40):

The list includes the usual outfits you might expect to be SIGINT consumers, but also a few that might be a little more surprising.
  • Privy Council Office/Prime Minister's Office (PCO/PMO)
  • Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD), now Global Affairs
  • Department of National Defence (DND)
  • Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS)
  • Public Safety Canada
  • Industry, now Innovation, Science and Economic Development
  • Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development (AAND), now Indigenous and Northern Affairs
  • Natural Resources Canada (NRCan)
  • Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO)
  • Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA)
  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada/Canadian Food Inspection Agency (AAFC/CFIA)
  • Transport
  • Environment, now Environment and Climate Change Canada
  • Finance
Interestingly, the RCMP isn't on the list of organizations hosting CROs. The Mounties had a CRO in 2006, and they're certainly still a significant SIGINT client, so maybe they were left off the list by mistake.

Also worthy of note is the introductory comment noting that "CSE is an intelligence collector and compiler; CSE does not currently conduct intelligence assessments." Currently?

Does CSE harbour ambitions to change that role?

[Or, as Stephanie Carvin speculates, might they have produced assessments at some time in the past?

A 1990 document does mention that CSE "also provides long-term military assessments and conference papers", which presumably were related primarily to Soviet and Warsaw Pact forces at that time. But the Cold War was just wrapping up by 1990, so that role may well have ended not long afterwards.]


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