Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Canadian Sigint and Afstan

The Communications Security Establishment is hard at work:
Canada's ultra-secret electronic spy agency revealed yesterday it has been heavily involved in Afghanistan and has deployed a team to the country.

The Communications Security Establishment acknowledged its role in Afghanistan for the first time in testimony to the Standing Committee on National Security and Defence.

CSE chief John Adams gave few details but the agency is believed to have sent officers to Afghanistan to eavesdrop on the Taliban and other militant groups...

An intelligence expert said the CSE officers in Afghanistan had likely set up secret listening posts to pick up the Taliban's walkie-talkie and satellite telephone communications.

The information gleaned from the intercepted calls would be used to alert Canadian troops of Taliban attack plans, or passed to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Canadian International Development Agency.

In a measure of the CSE's involvement in Afghanistan, Mr. Adams said more than a quarter of the intelligence reports produced by the agency in the past year were related to the mission.

"While I cannot discuss details, I can say that CSE information has, for example, helped to advance the interests of Canada and its closest allies and has been directly responsible for protecting Canadian troops in combat."..

Professor Martin Rudner, who has written extensively on the CSE, said he was not surprised by the agency's disclosure that it had been busy in Afghanistan.

Of particular interest would be conversations between Taliban commanders and their forces in the field, he said. The CSE would also be monitoring calls between Taliban headquarters in Pakistan, field commanders in Afghanistan and outside actors in such places as Iraq.

"The only way you can communicate with Taliban headquarters in Pakistan, given where they are, is by telecommunication. They're in extremely remote country," said Prof. Rudner, Director of the Canadian Centre of Intelligence and Security Studies at Carleton University.

"We would want to intercept those communications. So we could be literally privy to their strategic plans and intentions, sources of supply, manpower recruitment, logistics, operational experience, for example, roadside bombs in Iraq.

"All this has to be communicated electronically by the adversary. We want to be privy to that information so we can take appropriate corrective action."..
Maj.Gen. (ret'd) Adams has been, amongst many other things, Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard. He is known, amongt other things, for this earthy language.


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