Assistance to Federal Partners and Intelligence Partners

As Canada’s national cryptologic agency, CSE has unique capabilities and expertise. Because our expertise can help other Government of Canada organizations keep Canadians safe and secure, CSE is authorized to provide technical and operational assistance to federal law enforcement and security agencies, such as RCMP, CSIS, CBSA, as well as the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and the Department of National Defence (DND).

CSE provides various forms of assistance, such as collecting and processing communications, providing linguistic support, designing technical solutions or conducting operations. Under the CSE Act, CSE is also permitted to assist DND and CAF with cyber operations to meet military objectives and protect our forces. For example, CAF could leverage CSE’s advanced techniques to disrupt their adversaries’ ability to communicate with each other.

Our assistance draws on our knowledge, tradecraft and technology from our cyber security, foreign intelligence and foreign cyber operations mandates. CSE has helped law enforcement and security agencies be more successful in delivering their mandates without needing to replicate costly and hard-won capabilities.

It’s important to note that CSE can only provide assistance when it is requested. And in assisting, CSE acts under the legal authority of the requesting agency and in accordance with any restrictions or conditions on that authority. So under our assistance mandate, CSE may in fact target a Canadian or an individual in Canada, but it is doing so under the legal authority (such as a court-issued warrant) of the agency it is assisting.

Assistance activities are subject to review by the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency and the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians.