Letter to the Editor: Ottawa Sun - May 26, 2013

RE: Spy Land, Ottawa Sun - May 26, 2013 (Huguette Young)

The story noted above contains several inaccuracies that CSE feels compelled to correct.

The Communications Security Establishment (CSE) is Canada's national cryptologic agency. The Government of Canada has publicly acknowledged the existence of CSE since 1983.

CSE Signals Intelligence activities relate exclusively to foreign intelligence. CSE is prohibited by law from directing its activities at Canadians anywhere or anyone in Canada. Therefore CSE is prohibited from taking action towards Canadians in Quebec as incorrectly stated in the article of May 26. Since 1996, the independent CSE Commissioner who reviews CSE activities to ensure compliance with the law, has determined that all of CSE's activities reviewed complied with the law.

The current CSE campus relies on 50-year old infrastructure that no longer meets the needs of the organization. After an extensive study, the Government determined that a Public Private Partnership procurement option would provide the best value for money, and cost and construction schedule certainty. The project is currently on time and on budget.

The new CSE facility Request for Proposal (RFP) process was subject to an extensive evaluation in accordance with Treasury Board policies and Canada's international obligations. A third party Fairness Monitor concluded that the competitive procurement process was conducted in a fair manner free from personal favouritism and political influence, and encompassed the elements of openness, competitiveness, integrity, transparency and compliance. The selected proponent, Plenary Group, is a Canadian company with offices in Toronto, Vancouver and Edmonton.

As communicated to Huguette Young in response to her inquiry, the bank and daycare facility located adjacent to the CSE site are commercial ventures, operated by the private sector and are not part of the CSE facility. A skating rink was proposed by Plenary Properties as part of their winning bid. The Government did not request this feature in the RFP and subsequently rejected this suggested feature.

Jean Plamondon

Director, Public Affairs and Communications Services

Communications Security Establishment (CSE)

Ottawa, Ontario