Friday, December 13, 2013

Inside the Senate Committee on National Security

On Monday the Senate Committee on National Security and Defence heard from the watchdogs of both CSIS and CSEC - Chuck Strahl, Chair of the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC), and CSEC Commissioner Jean-Pierre Plouffe.

Here Plouffe is explaining to Senator Romeo Dallaire why Justice Mosley slapped down CSIS for outsourcing their spying to their Five Eyes partners (US, UK, NZ, and Australia) via CSEC. Plouffe :
"CSIS has a jurisdiction which is limited to Canada, whereas CSE's jurisdiction reaches abroad. So CSIS, in accomplishing its activities, believes it has need of assistance from allies abroad and in order to obtain this, CSIS has to go through CSE because CSE deals directly with allies. In Justice Mosley's decision, CSIS asked for assistance from CSE because both individuals in question were abroad. And what happened is unfortunately CSIS did not disclose to Justice Mosley that they sought assistance from Five Eyes. So it is legal for CSE to call on the Five Eyes, however in this case there was a warrant from the court that specified it be within Canada not abroad. Mosley said CSIS was lacking in candor and good faith." 
Plouffe added this has "complicated" CSEC's relationship with the NSA and other partners.
The impression you get from listening to Plouffe is that the Five Eyes partners share just about anything and everything, with the Canadian contact being CSEC.

CSIS watchdog Chuck Strahl addressed this as problem for the privacy of Canadians, saying "we must put legal caveats on CSIS/CSE-generated intel" shared with Five Eyes partners and third parties :
 "CSIS is concerned with erosion of control of intelligence given to CSEC and by extension to the Five Eyes community." 
"CSIS has developed information privacy protocols with only one Five Eyes partner."
While Strahl doesn't reveal which Five Eyes partner it is we do have a privacy protocol with, a 2009 Memo of Understanding between the NSA and its Israeli counterpart does mention one between NSA and Canada. This was the Snowden-leaked doc which revealed an NSA agreement purporting to share raw unfiltered intelligence data with Israel, who is not a Five Eyes member, with the proviso that Israel weed out intel about Americans and other Five Eyes citizens .

Or as Strahl put it : "A Five Eyes partner may act independently on CSIS-originated info."

He said his office was limited to the oversight of CSIS and so his investigators were unable to follow threads that led into CSEC. Likewise Plouffe said his office could not stray into investigating CSIS. 
This was not, Strahl said, what O'Connor and Iacobucci had in mind when they each recommended a joint oversight, adding there is "no provision in current legislation, which is 30 years old, for parliamentary oversight", the only Five Eyes partner not to have any.
On Abdelrazik, Strahl said CSIS created an "exaggerated threat assessment" and "inappropriately disclosed classified information". 

The senators seemed far more concerned with what new measures had been put in place to prevent a "Snowden nightmare" in Canada than in the content his leaks revealed. They didn't ask a single question of Plouffe or Strahl about spying on the G20 in Canada and Brazil or allowing the NSA to build backdoors into internet encryption under our watch.
Not one.
For his part, Strahl said "Snowden has caused us to question how we work and that's good."

Asked what possessed him to come out of retirement last year to head up SIRC, Strahl laughed and said it was classified. 
I'll bet. SIRC has had an interim chair since the former SIRC chair and fraudster appointed by Harper, Dr. Arthur Porter, resigned in disgrace in 2011.
Dec 20 Update : Plouffe's explanation above - on Justice Mosley chastising CSEC/CSIS for outsourcing their spying on Canadians to Five Eyes partners - goes public :

CSIS asked foreign agencies to spy on Canadians, kept court in dark, judge says

Canada's spy agencies chastised for duping courts
Canada’s spy agencies have deliberately misled judges to expand their eavesdropping powers unlawfully
Update : Senate Committee transcript up.


Boris said...

Consider that all this is happening because 12 years ago some cheeky asshole managed to talk some other deluded assholes into some flying planes into some buildings. gh

Anonymous said...

Not really. It was all in place before 9/11. The planes flying into buildings provided the pretext to implement and expand it.

Anonymous said...

CSEC watchdog muzzled, defanged: Greg Weston

so it's all just a sham then

Alison said...

Anon@8:44 Yes but it doesn't have to be surveillance state run amok.
7 years ago Justice Dennis O'Connor recommended an independent parliamentary joint oversight panel for intelligence agencies in Canada.
Other countries have managed it - even first past the post countries.
Good link to Greg Weston - thanks.

Anon@3:25 Either way, this is where we are now, no?

Boris : What surprises me is that Harper's so-called rightwing supporters have turned out to be such big fans of the resulting surveillance state.

Anonymous said...

"What surprises me is that Harper's so-called rightwing supporters have turned out to be such big fans of the resulting surveillance state."

Alison, have you lost it already? (tongue in cheek but I think your naivety kicked in today) And you gotta know that the right-wingers see them selves as exemplary and have nothing to hide. So they invite the spying to hopefully catch the commies, socialists and any leftie hiding somewhere in an oops pose.

They are pretty certain as right-wing little Harper Fascists that they are, if they get caught by surveillance doing anything no-no, because of their blind Harper loyalty, the surveillance AV will disappear and it would.

So now that we have crossed the rubicon of ultimate surveillance, you have to realise that the surveillance apparatus will only be actively engaged to remove/disengage the center to left of the political spectrum. That's why its so f--king dangerous. There are many proofs in history on this.

What I don't get is how the right especially the far right is so egotistically wired to perceive that its own way, which is;

- stealing the common good of resources and labor which should benefit all to benefit only self and screw the people it has to enslave or the planet it has to destroy to sit on its mountain of wretched stolen wealth whilst hiding behind secret religious brotherhood and government organizations -

...the only way??? What a bunch of losers. The gay folks had the strength to come out of the closet, but these wankers sure don't.

The surveillance state actually is the invented tool of the extreme right to enslave us all to corporate masters through dictatorial government called: fascism...

Stephen Harper I am not afraid to say you and your Con minions are pathetic.


kootcoot said...

I agree with Mogs last line.....

and Boris:

"Consider that all this is happening because 12 years ago some cheeky asshole managed to talk some other deluded assholes into some flying planes into some buildings. gh"

And Bu$h/DickHead Cheney were more than happy to let them do it so they could get on with the Plan for A New American Century of warfare and surveillance. All their friends needed a new enemy to replace the Soviet Union and what could be better, more vague and more permanent foe than a word....TERROR!

Orwell would be considered not a novelist but a journalist of the few!

Anonymous said...

Orwell who was of course first and foremost in his own time a journalist.

kootcoot said...

Anon, unlike you I guess I'm not old enough to have experienced Orwell'e journalism, and only know him from his novels and I'm pushing seventy. You must be really old, or have a lot of old newspapers laying around.

kootcoot said...

Actually anon, I take back my mild rebuke and will simply say you are full of SHITE.

orn Eric Arthur Blair in Motihari, Bengal, India, in 1903, George Orwell, novelist, essayist and critic, went on to become best known for his novels Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Early Life
Early Career
Later Works
Personal Life

Early Life

George Orwell was an English novelist, essayist, and critic most famous for his novels Animal Farm (1945) and Nineteen Eighty-four (1949).

His primary association with journalism was literary criticism. And he wrote essays. So eff you wise ass, good try troll!

Alison said...

Koots : I think a more charitable reading of Anon's comment to you was that he thought you might be unaware Orwell was for a time a journo with the BBC.

Mogs : Alison, have you lost it already?
Evidently ... *eyeroll* ;-)
Whatever the faults of the right, they do at least possess a coherent worldview and are useful for having their eye forever trained on the horizon searching for infractions against what it pleases them to consider their personal freedoms. I get confused when they betray this principle in favor of imagined solidarity with whoever is currently oppressing them.

kootcoot said...

With Harper running Canada and Christy the Clown running BeeCee, please forgive me Allison if I'm not feeling charitable...........

Alison said...

Koots : You be as cranky as you like here - certainly I am. ;-)

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