Amusing to see both NaPo and the G&M are hosting remarks from former CSIS deputy director Ray Boisvert dismissing the recent Snowden/Greenwald docs which revealed CSEC spied on Brazil's Mines and Energy Ministry.
Snowden was present at the Five Eyes conference where the CSEC presentation on their Olympia spying program on Brazil took place.
Boisvert in both papers:
“We were all too busy chasing bad guys who can actually kill people. The idea that we spend a lot of time, or any time at all, on a country like Brazil is pretty low margin stuff, not likely to happen.”The docs probably only represent "a war gaming exercise", says Boisvert, just “paper exercises” :
'OK, let’s say our target in counter-terrorism lives in Mali and we have to go up against the Malian telecommunications system.’ They’ll go look at another country and say, ‘OK, well they have a similar network so let’s do a paper exercise and say ‘what do we need?’” he said. “I think that’s all this was.'Because when you're "busy chasing bad guys who can actually kill people" and stuff, naturally your anti-terrorism war games will entail a cyber-espionage program searching for corporate secrets in a country where 40 of your own country's mining corporations are operating.
Wouldn't have anything to do with looking for info on Brazil wanting to block a Canadian mining company from opening the largest open pit gold mine in Brazil, would it? Brazilian prosecutors say the company has failed to study the impact on local Indian communities and has advertized on its own website "plans to build a mine twice the size of the project first described in an environmental assessment it gave state officials."
Ok, foreign media. The Guardian, today :
Canadian spies met with energy firms, documents reveal
The Canadian government agency that allegedly hacked into the Brazilian mining and energy ministry has participated in secret meetings in Ottawa where Canadian security agencies briefed energy corporations.
According to freedom of information documents obtained by the Guardian, the meetings – conducted twice a year since 2005 – involved federal ministries, spy and police agencies, and representatives from scores of companies who obtained high-level security clearance.
Meetings were officially billed to discuss "threats" to energy infrastructure but also covered "challenges to energy projects from environmental groups", "cyber security initiatives" and "economic and corporate espionage".
The documents – heavily redacted agendas – do not indicate that any international espionage was shared by CSEC officials, but the meetings were an opportunity for government agencies and companies to develop "ongoing trusting relations" that would help them exchange information "off the record", wrote an official from the Natural Resources ministry in 2010.Thank you, Enbridge, for providing the snacks for the one in May 2013.
Keith Stewart, an energy policy analyst with Greenpeace Canada, said:
"There seems to be no limit to what the Harper government will do to help their friends in the oil and mining industries. They've muzzled scientists, gutted environmental laws, reneged on our international climate commitments, labelled environmental critics as criminals and traitors, and have now been caught engaging in economic espionage in a friendly country. Canadians, and our allies, have a right to ask who exactly is receiving the gathered intelligence and whose interests are being served."Good question. And did no Canadian media request these same FOIs?
You know, I think I blogged about government security briefings to energy companies a few years ago - I'll see if I can find it.
Meanwhile, would be interesting to hear Boisvert's explanation as to why the CSEC logo appeared on another NSA doc about intercepting phone calls and emails of ministers and diplomats at the 2009 G20 summit in London.
More "paper exercises"? Filling in an empty spot on the page while chasing bad guys?
And re the recent NSA spying on Brazil PM Dilma Rousseff and the state oil company Petrobras. Did CSEC help out its Five Eyes partner there too?
Back in 1983, CSEC spied on two of Margaret Thatcher's cabinet ministers on behalf of Thatcher and Britain's spy agency GCHQ, so this wouldn't exactly be new territory for CSEC.
Fun fact : The annual report on CSEC produced by its independent watchdog commissioner must first be vetted by CSEC "for national security reasons" before it can be released. [head/desk]
P.S. I pillaged the CSEC slide at top from Lux ex Umbra, where you can view the rest of them.
Friday update : Don't shrug at spying.