Poor Training, Communication Bedevilled Canada's Five Eyes Liaisons: Evaluation

By Bronskill, Jim | The Canadian Press, November 19, 2014 | Go to article overview

Poor Training, Communication Bedevilled Canada's Five Eyes Liaisons: Evaluation


Bronskill, Jim, The Canadian Press


Poor training hampered electronic spy envoys

--

OTTAWA - Lack of training, poor communication with head office and sketchy expectations hampered the Canadian liaison teams embedded in the electronic spy agencies of Ottawa's Five Eyes partners, says a newly declassified evaluation.

The Ottawa-based Communications Security Establishment's foreign relations program is key to helping the spy service do its work, given the importance of relations with counterparts in the United States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand, the internal evaluation concludes.

But it calls for several changes to "achieve greater effectiveness and efficiencies."

The Canadian Press obtained a heavily censored copy of the August 2012 evaluation -- originally classified "Secret/Canadian Eyes Only" -- under the Access to Information Act.

The CSE monitors foreign communications of intelligence interest to Canada, and exchanges a large amount of information on terrorism, espionage and international crime and with its four main allies.

CSE has special liaison offices at the U.S. National Security Agency and Britain's Government Communications Headquarters, as well as one in Canberra that provides representation to the electronic spy services of Australia and New Zealand.

In turn, Canada hosts members of the four foreign agencies.

The study found advance briefings for Canadian liaison staff sent overseas was largely limited to information about living and working abroad.

"Operational training offered to posted employees is scarce and self-initiated," the evaluation report says.

Staff heading to the foreign posts had to book meetings with CSE directors or enrol in internal courses. However, some noted that formal classroom training was not necessarily helpful.

"Rather, they felt that spending some time working with various operational areas during the pre-posting phase was often very beneficial."

In addition, liaison directors "seldom received feedback" on the initial planning documents they submitted to superiors. …

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