01/26/2015 05:25 EST | Updated 03/28/2015 05:59 EDT

John Forster Leaves CSEC To Become Deputy Defence Minister


OTTAWA - Prime Minister Stephen Harper has moved to fill some vacancies among senior officials in defence and security.

John Forster has been given the post of deputy defence minister, effective Feb. 2.

As head of the Communications Security Establishment Canada, Forster was in the public spotlight over allegations that the electronic eavesdropping service had been spying on Canadian travellers through airport wireless systems.

Forster told a Senate committee last year that the secretive agency was merely collecting electronic metadata — or data trails about messages — and not the actual content of those messages and calls.

He is being replaced at CSEC by Greta Bossenmaier, who is currently senior associate deputy minister for international development.

And in another move, John Turner, the head of the defence department's beleaguered purchasing division, is being promoted to associate deputy defence minister.

What that means for the list of outstanding military projects on the books is unclear.

Defence has been in a state of flux since Harper tapped former deputy minister Richard Fadden to become his top national security adviser a few weeks ago.

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