Probe of Canadian spy agency CSEC found ‘serious breaches’ of ethics code

Probe of Canadian spy agency found ‘serious breaches’ of ethics code by Jim Bronskil, The Canadian Press, March 16, 2014, The Globe and Mail
An investigation at Canada’s secretive eavesdropping agency has uncovered misuse of public assets and “serious breaches” of the spy outfit’s values and ethics code. … However, CSEC will say little more about the episode – leading opposition MPs to accuse the spy agency of needless secrecy as it comes under intense scrutiny due to widely publicized leaks by former American intelligence contractor Edward Snowden. … CSEC spokesman Ryan Foreman said that for privacy reasons he could not release any information about “specific employees involved in this disclosure of wrongdoing.” Foreman also refused to discuss the number and type of employees implicated, whether anyone was disciplined or fired, what kind of public assets were involved or their value.

“They basically tell you nothing,” said Liberal public safety critic Wayne Easter. NDP defence critic Jack Harris said the response “shows an unwillingness to be up-front with the public.” … Easter, who advocates creation of a full-fledged national security committee of parliamentarians, said the finding of wrongdoing at CSEC – and the lack of public information about it – underscores the need for such a review body. “We do not have the checks and balances in place in this country that other countries do with their oversight agencies.”

Classified material leaked by Snowden showed that the U.S. National Security Agency, CSEC’s American counterpart, had quietly obtained access to a broad sweep of e-mails, chat logs and other information from major Internet companies, as well as data about a huge volume of telephone calls. The revelations have sparked widespread concern among privacy and civil liberties advocates. Documents Snowden handed to journalists also indicated that Canada had helped the United States and Britain spy on participants at the London G20 summit in 2009. Other material suggested CSEC once monitored Brazil’s department of mines and energy. [Emphasis added]

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