Communications Security Establishment, Canada's Electronic Spy Service, Takes Prominent Role Against ISIS

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OTTAWA — The Communications Security Establishment, Canada's electronic spy service, is set to play a more prominent role in the war against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Multiple sources familiar with the plans, speaking on condition of anonymity owing to the sensitivity of the matter, tell The Canadian Press that the government is deploying a capability that only a "handful of countries" in the world can provide.

communications security establishment ottawa
The Communications Security Establishment complex is pictured in Ottawa on Oct. 15, 2013. (Photo: Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

A spokesman for the agency acknowledged the spy agency is helping the Canadian Forces under the umbrella of Operation Impact, but would not get into specifics.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan has for weeks been signalling that the military would introduce a "more robust" intelligence-gathering regime, but has refused to discuss specifics.

The capability being deployed is similar to the one CSE and the Canadian military used to combat the Taliban during the war in Afghanistan.

Separately, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale is confirming that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service will also play a stepped-up role in the fight, but he refused to discuss details.

Canada's ISIS Mission: Then & Now
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