Newspaper article The Canadian Press

CSE Says Snowden Leaks Eroding Spy Agency's Long-Term Advantage over Foes

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

CSE Says Snowden Leaks Eroding Spy Agency's Long-Term Advantage over Foes

Article excerpt

CSE says leaks eroding spy agency's advantage


OTTAWA - Canada's electronic spy agency says leaks by former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden have "diminished the advantage" it enjoyed over terrorists and other targets, both in the short term and -- of more concern -- well into the future.

In newly released briefing notes, the Communications Security Establishment says Snowden's disclosures about CSE's intelligence capabilities and those of its allies "have a cumulative detrimental effect" on its operations.

The Ottawa-based CSE monitors foreign communications of intelligence interest to Canada, and exchanges a large amount of information with partner agencies in the United States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand.

The notes, obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act, were among the briefing materials prepared for CSE chief Greta Bossenmaier's March 25 appearance before the House of Commons committee on national defence.

Documents Snowden handed to the media revealed the U.S. National Security Agency -- the CSE's American counterpart -- had quietly obtained access to a huge volume of emails, chat logs and other information from major Internet companies, as well as massive amounts of data about telephone calls.

The documents also suggest Canada helped the United States and Britain spy on participants at a London G20 summit and that the CSE devised a sophisticated spy operation against Brazil's ministry of mines and energy.

Privacy advocates and civil libertarians have applauded Snowden, who fled the U.S. for safe haven in Russia, for revealing the vast reach and advanced techniques of the NSA and its allies.

"Taxpayers shouldn't have to rely on a courageous whistleblower willing to risk everything in order to get the truth out there," said David Christopher, a spokesman for, which fights for citizens' online rights. …

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