Wednesday, May 03, 2006

US wiretap scandal leads to closer look at Canada's CSE

Recent scandal in the United States over warrantless wiretapping by the NSA under the USA Patriot Act has led to increased scrutiny of Canada's Communications Security Establishment and its actions under the Anti-terrorism Act. Gist: | U.S. wiretapping scandal sparks Canadian inquiry:

OTTAWA -- Allegations of illegal eavesdropping by U.S. spies prompted pointed questions from the federal watchdog who oversees their Canadian counterparts, newly released records reveal.

Correspondence obtained by The Canadian Press shows the public controversy about U.S. National Security Agency spying on American citizens led to a series of highly classified exchanges in Ottawa.

John Adams, chief of the ultra-secret Communications Security Establishment, was forced to respond to detailed inquiries spanning two months from the office of Antonio Lamer, the former Supreme Court chief justice who, as CSE commissioner, serves as watchdog over the spy outfit.


But it is clear from the records, obtained under the Access to Information Act, that Lamer's office wanted to ensure the CSE, a wing of the Defence Department, wasn't contravening Canadian law by conducting excessive snooping in the fight against terrorism.


The CSE works closely with the signals intelligence services of allied countries, including the massive Maryland-based National Security Agency, which boasts more than 30,000 employees.


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