Schneier on Security
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June 30, 2009
Growth of the CSE
The Communication Security Establishment (CSE, basically Canada's NSA) is growing so fast they're running out of room and building new office buildings.
Posted on June 30, 2009 at 6:32 AM
• 12 Comments
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And they are outsourcing the construction and management of the new building to private companies (http://communities.canada.com/shareit/blogs/news/archive/2009/06/09/defence-union-to-hold-demo-outside-cse-in-ottawa-to-warn-about-privatization-concerns.aspx).
I can understand, they outsource the construction, but to have a private company manage the day to day operation (including security) makes me a bit uneasy.
The CSE employee rooster is secret for now... But with a private company having access to it, this will probably not be the case for long anymore.
Several months ago I had an opportunity to listen to Brig Gen John Turnbull, CF the Chief of Military SIGINT of the Communications Security Establishment Canada talk at an AFCEA conference in Omaha, NE. It was interesting to hear how little funding their program received. At that time it sounded as though they had to plead and scrap for dollars and man power just as a majority of corporate America does. Based on the information in this article it sounds as though something may have changed. Interesting.
Two points of concern/interest,
1, "The problem is that the agency’s workforce is rising rapidly,"
Why would the workforce be "rising rapidly"?
2, the terms outlined sound suspiciously like the discredited PFI / PPI in the UK.
With regard expansion both GCHQ at Cheltenham and F&CO/MI6 at Hanslope Park have both expanded fairly rapidly in the past decade (have a look at the "secret bases" web site for overhead pictures.
Also I have heard that the NSA is getting a masive influx of infrestructure over and above that expected for the "new rolls" that have been outlined.
I guess CyberSec and Elint in it's many forms are boom business for the "spooks" irespective of what has been said publicaly.
The existing CSE campus is actually not all that large. It's not too surprising to hear that they need more space.
One would hope that the problem is that 'the size of the workforce is growing rapidly'.
If the problem is really that "the workforce is rising rapidly", then they need either a taller space or they need to just move outside. And if the workforce is taking on ballistic trajectories, Human Resources need to plan for downrange recovery.
Reminder: it is often unlawful under local law to spy on one's own citizens. Spying on someone else's citizens is perfectly lawful. Perhaps "I'll watch yours if you'll watch mine?"
@ known by CSE already,
"Spying on someone else's citizens is perfectly lawful. Perhaps "I'll watch yours if you'll watch mine?"
It's been "officialy" going on longer than most people have been alive.
Look up the BRUSA agrement to do just that.
It has been extended many times and includes most WASP countries now.
I've posted about this and some of the bits and pieces about it before on Bruce's blog.
@Emmanuel Pirsch - intelligence agencies routinely partner with private companies. There's a tight cluster of contractors that make up a lot of Fort Meade. And, for a while at least, during the war run up in 03 were bringing in contract labor to work as analysts.
If it's a matter of trust. These guys really know how to develop trust. If only they'd write it down .
Why are you posting to someone else's blog, Clive? You should start your own blog - your comments are usually pretty informative and you'd get more feedback on them.
"You should start your own blog"
It's not the first time it has been sugested to me.
A glib answer would be look at the reason Michal Cain never becaim a director.
Or because I'm kind of lazy (true but in a good way).
The real answer is partly because of the pain the admin duties brings.
I'm sure if you asked Bruce if he would start his blog today he would have second thoughts.
I don't know how much time is spent (by the "Moderator") cleaning out all the fake "link" posts and finding "sock puppets" and all the other (nearly) hidden activities which help make this blog a nice place to be, but I'm sure it is by no means a trivial effort even with "scripting" help.
Then there is the issue of source material. I'm fairly sure that Bruce get's "fed" quite a few pointers by his "readers" but turning those into thoughtfull posts is again not a trivial task.
Also I've seen many a "security blog" go from one or two postings a week to maybe once or twice a year as the owners find out just what it is they have taken on.
If people ask nicely I'm sure Bruce would let them know just how much work is involved.
Echelon has always been about mutual observation. Nicky Hagar's book "Secret Power - New Zealand's Role in the International Spy Network" exposed much of it.
"but to have a private company manage the day to day operation (including security) makes me a bit uneasy."
Reminds me of 20 or so years ago, when the Russians built the new U.S. embassy in Moscow. Didn't they install a bug about every five feet?
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