Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Second World War origins of Canadian post-war SIGINT cooperation

A fascinating new article on the Second World War origins of Canadian post-war SIGINT cooperation was published in May in the journal Intelligence and National Security (Maria A. Robson: The third eye: Canada’s development of autonomous signals intelligence to contribute to Five Eyes intelligence sharing).

Robson argues that the Canadian SIGINT program has supplied three core benefits for Canada: "first, directly bolstering Canadian national security, second, indirectly bolstering it through increased knowledge of threats to Canada stemming from partners’ intelligence products, and third, alliance tending: producing a product of value to ensure inclusion in postwar intelligence alliances." The last of these, ensuring inclusion in what became the Five Eyes intelligence partnership, she identifies as the dominant driver of Canada's decision to create a post-war Canadian SIGINT organization. 

Drawing on archival research (including previously unreported material from the UK National Archives) and previous scholarship by Wesley Wark, Kurt Jensen, and others, the article also adds to our knowledge of Canada's efforts to insinuate itself into the wartime signals intelligence partnership as an independent — albeit always minor — player capable of dealing directly with both London and Washington.

Well worth reading!


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