Canadian Gov't Responds To Spying Revelations By Saying It's All A Lie And Calling Glenn Greenwald A 'Porn Spy'

from the wtf? dept

We’ve seen various government officials act in all sorts of bizarre ways after revelations of illegal spying on their own people (and foreigners), but none may be quite as bizarre as the response from the Canadian government, following the release late last night from the CBC (with help from Glenn Greenwald) that they’re spying on public WiFi connections. That report had plenty of detail, including an internal presentation from the Canadian electronic spying agency, CSEC. In the Canadian Parliament today, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s parliamentary secretary, Paul Calandra, decided to respond to all of this by by insisting it’s all a lie and then flat out insulting both the CBC and Glenn Greenwald.

If you can’t watch the video, here’s what he says:

Mr. Speaker, last night the CBC aired a misleading report on Canada’s signals intelligence agency, Communications Security Establishment Canada. These documents were stolen by former NSA contractor, Edward Snowden and sold to the CBC by Glenn Greenwald. Canada’s signals intelligence agency has been clear that the CBC story is incorrect, yet the CBC went ahead and published it anyway.

Here are the facts: Before the story aired, CSEC made clear that nothing in the stolen documents showed that Canadians’ communications were targeted, collected, or used, nor that travellers’ movements were tracked.

In addition, CSEC’s activities are regularly reviewed by an independent watchdog who has consistently found it has followed the law.

Why is furthering porn-spy Glenn Greenwald’s agenda and lining his Brazilian bank account more important than maintaining the public broadcaster’s journalistic integrity?

Okay. Where to start? First off, the whole idea that Greenwald “sold” the documents to the CBC is just ridiculous. Every so often we’ve seen others raise this kind if idiotic argument and it’s just silly. Greenwald — like any other freelance journalist — gets paid to do journalism. No one is paying him for the documents. They’re paying him to work as a journalist, which, you know, is what he does. The attempt to portray it as selling the documents is just a completely bogus smear.

Second, for all the CSEC’s denials, note that Calandra makes no effort whatsoever to explain what’s in the actual (fairly damning) document that the CBC published. Instead, he’s playing games with words — games that you should be quite used to if you’ve followed the infamous NSA dictionary. Note that he says that none of Canadians’ “communications were targeted, collected, or used.” There are a few problems with that. No one’s talking about their communications here, but rather details of their locations and the kinds of devices they were using, which is exactly what’s shown in the powerpoint presentation.

Next, the fact that the CSEC’s activities are regularly reviewed is somewhat meaningless. Was this program reviewed? By whom? What did they find? As we’ve seen in the US, the claims of independent oversight of the NSA turned out to not mean very much once people looked at the details.

And then… there’s that last paragraph. First of all, what is a “porn spy” anyway, and how is Glenn Greenwald one of them? The word makes no sense at all. When government officials are talking gibberish, it does not bode well for them. Maybe he’s trying to repeat the smear from a former US government official who bizarrely called Snowden an espionage pornographer, which made no sense, but makes at least marginally more sense than a “porn spy.” And, yes, Glenn Greenwald lives in Brazil. Saying “Brazilian bank account” makes it seem, again, as if there’s something nefarious going on here, rather than a well-known, accomplished and celebrated freelance reporter who happens to live in Brazil, doing some work for the CBC.

If this is the Harper government’s official “response” to these revelations, they’re just asking for trouble. This is so over-the-top silly and defensive, without even remotely responding to the actual issues, that it suggests that Harper has no legitimate response, knows that more is probably on the way, and has resorted to throwing out nonsensical insults at reporters.

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Comments on “Canadian Gov't Responds To Spying Revelations By Saying It's All A Lie And Calling Glenn Greenwald A 'Porn Spy'”

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67 Comments
Robert says:

Re: Re:

The blatant contradiction. If it is all a lie, than he is not a spy he is a conspiracy theorist. If he is considered a spy by the Canadian government that he must be revealing factual evidence of activity.
So which is it?
Face it, we all know what it is about, setting up for the war of the 1% against the rest. The police state to actively oppress speech and to turn democracy into permanent oligarchy and enslavement of the majority.

edpo says:

CSEC Morons

The great thing about the NSA/CSEC/GCHQ/surveillance reporting by Glenn Greenwald and others is we don’t *have* to take their word for it. The underlying documents support their reporting.

If you’re claiming the underlying documents are false, good luck with that.

These morons at the NSA, CSEC and GCHQ honestly think that everyone else is as dumb as they are.

Anonymous Coward says:

wellI bit and went looking for porn spy all I found was an iphone app , maybe though I’m not 100% sure (not having an Iphone)
“Iphone porn spy. Spy on a cell phone by locating it, tracking it, as well as having access to SMS messages, contact lists, and call history.”

but for someone to know about this app I’m thinking his wife or kids are being naughty .. just sayin.

mattshow (profile) says:

I am so so so so so sick of hearing that “CSEC’s activities have been reviewed by an independent third party and have been found to be legal”

That’s not exactly what the independent third party (the Commissioner of CSEC) said. The Commissioner’s last annual report is available here. Flip over to page 20, where he discussed his “Review of certain foreign intelligence activities”.

Background
I examined CSEC?s acquisition, use and exchange of information relating to certain foreign intelligence activities that occurred a number of years ago.

Findings and recommendations
I had no concern with respect to the majority of the CSEC activities reviewed. However, a small number of records suggested the possibility that some activities may have been directed at Canadians, contrary to law. A number of CSEC records relating to these activities were unclear or incomplete. After in-depth and lengthy review, I was unable to reach a definitive conclusion about compliance or non-compliance with the law.

So no, the Commissioner did not say that everything CSEC has done was legal. What he said was that everything they did was legal, except for those things which maybe weren’t legal and which they conveniently did not keep complete records on.

Now, admittedly that’s not the most damning thing he could have said. He doesn’t make it sound like there was any massive scandal. But it’s still a lie to say that his report found CSEC always behaved lawfully.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: CSEC oversight

CSEC watchdog muzzled, defanged: Greg Weston, CBC :

“Of course, even if a commissioner did discover something seriously amiss at the electronic eavesdropping agency, there is a chance Canadians would never know.

Here’s how the system works:

Suppose the commissioner’s oversight sleuths discover that CSEC is illegally intercepting phone calls and hacking into the computers of certain Canadians.

The oversight commissioner is required to report his discovery in a top secret report to the defence minister.

That happens to be the same minister responsible for CSEC, and from whom the agency gets its government direction.

It is also the minister who would be at the centre of any CSEC scandal if news of this breach leaked out.

If the minister refuses to expose his own agency’s wrongdoing, the oversight commissioner can try to use his annual report to Parliament to do that.

But a funny thing happens on the way to Parliament.

First, CSEC gets to censor the entire report. Then it goes back to the same defence minister.

The minister is required to present the sanitized version of the report to Parliament, but has no obligation to mention it is not exactly as originally written.”

~Alison@Creekside

Anonymous Coward says:

@Mike – the “porn” comment probably a backhand reference to Greenwald’s former business — HOMOSEXUAL PORN.

Although that disreputable business venture ended years ago, all that kind of stuff comes out once a person make enemies. And it becomes a useful tool to rub in someone’s face again and again ….

Anonymous Coward #1 says:

Re: Re: Porn

To clarify, Mike said:

“First of all, what is a “porn spy” anyway, and how is Glenn Greenwald one of them? The word makes no sense at all. When government officials are talking gibberish, it does not bode well for them.”

Gibberish to some, no doubt, but understood by people who “get the joke.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Who gives a shit about porn, anyway?

Porn is ubiquitous. It’s been ubiquitous ever since human beings began communicating with one another. It’s even driven some of the technology we’ve developed (thank porn sites for innovation in online streaming video, for example). Everyone watches it, including the people who lie and say they don’t. These days, half of us MAKE it.

Anyone who’s afraid of it, or thinks it’s bad, or disapproves, is a lying hypocritical asshole. They’re stupid. They’re ignorant. They’re worthless. They may be immediately dismissed, with prejudice.

As should be the case here. Calandra is clearly just making this nonsense up as he goes, lying, lying, lying — and doing it badly — in order to pretend faux outrage.
Calandra KNOWS he’s lying. He’s been ordered to, and like the good little obedient cowardly toady he is, he’s carrying out his orders.

He’s just not doing it very well.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Who gives a shit about porn, anyway?

“It’s even driven some of the technology we’ve developed (thank porn sites for innovation in online streaming video, for example).”

More than you might realize:

VHS tapes vs. (competitor): VHS (adopted by porn industry)
BluRay vs. HD-DVD: BluRay (adopted by porn industry)

I want to say the same was true with original DVD, but can’t quite remember the details.

Anonymous Coward says:

a porn star is more trustworthy than any government and at the moment, the Canadian government in particular. at least Greenwald didn’t throw personal insults at Harper or this dickie licking idiot, Calandra. proof doesn’t need insults to back it up. this is a typical denial from a government caught on the back foot and with fingers in the till!

Anonymous Coward says:

When did someone write the global book that all these spying agencies run with right out of the box when their fingers are caught in the cookie jar doing what they are not supposed to be doing?

First thing they do is jump up and claim they’re legal following that with getting a few political puppets to go to bat for them. If this follows the usual with in just a few days this idiot will be exposed to be the lying toady he is demonstrating with this speech response.

The Canadian citizens will not just realize but know beyond a doubt that their government lies to them on a regular basis and that government is not to be trusted by the average Joe, the same as the American public has figured out.

Anonymous Coward says:

Porn? Whatever.

I’m a devout Christian, and frankly I am far, FAR more concerned with the blatant abuse of power by the NSA and governments that collaborate with them, than the history of the guy who reported on their abuses.
If the people mismanaging Canada think that slinging mud at a single person is going to distract me from the fact that they’re helping to build an Orwellian surveillance state, they’re sorely mistaken.

art guerrilla (profile) says:

'cause it isn't character assassination at all...

The They ™ are going after snowden, greenwald, et al hammer and tong…
GIVEN the -what?- 1% we ‘know’ of what is being DONE TO US, with OUR MONEY, in secret by ‘our’ gummint; does ANYONE doubt that there are plans on a shelf to assassinate snowden, greenwald, et al ? ? ?
does anyone doubt there are all kinds of chatter among the boys in black -in MANY countries- to figure out what they can do to shut these truth tellers the fuck up ? ! ? ! ?

does anyone doubt that ALL of these people -plus many others that don’t get mentioned- are susceptible to being spied on REGARDLESS of ‘laws’; that they are the subject of ‘dirty tricks’, endless harassment, and nasty whisper campaigns ? ? ?

i don’t know who they are kidding, i think even the vast number of sheeple who are just now hearing about these abuses of our rights and untold surveillance, will not buy this horseshit they are peddling with respect to the TRUE journalists who are reporting on these issues…

too late: lying about and smearing truly COURAGEOUS journalists/citizens like snowden, manning, greenwald, et al, only makes me HATE those fuckers all the more for it…

Just Sayin' says:

perhaps

Perhaps you might want to consider the stupidity of someone profiting to release stuff. Greenwald appears not to be doing it for the good of the world, but in fact for the good of the Greenwald brand and of course, his bank account.

If the documents are that important, publish each and every one of them free of charge, online – that would be free speech. Charging to write stories AND INTENTIONALLY HOLDING BACK DOCUMENTS FOR FUTURE PROFIT seems like profiteering and not reporting.

Just Sayin' says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“obtained illegally”, does that make you guys feel better? “purloined”, perhaps? Or “duplicated and distributed against federal law”?

It’s amusing to watch you guys get all caught up in word games but ignoring the point, score one for me I guess, you can’t seem to reply so I suspect I am right.

Duke (profile) says:

I think he's being even sneakier there...

“Before the story aired, CSEC made clear that nothing in the stolen documents showed that Canadians’ communications were targeted, collected, or used, nor that travellers’ movements were tracked.”

You’ve said that this is a half-truth by pointing out what counts as a “communication”, but I think this is even sneakier.

Not that he didn’t say; “No communications were/are being targeted, collected, or used.”

He said that nothing in those specific documents showed that this was the case. He isn’t even denying that CSEC are targeting, collecting or using the communications of Canadians.

Anonymous Coward says:

My (true) American friends, if you weren't of it..

This “Conservative” government we have here is a complete farce and is in fact the result of the merger of the Reform Party and National Alliance (2 extreme right wing, apocalypse-waiting and Israel asskissing political parties) with the 3 mere Progressive-Conservatives that were left (at the federal level of course) due to the non stop 80’s scandals. So basically we have an extremely dangerous government in power here, you can easily read about Harper and his bunch of idiots on the internet.

Be happy that Harper’s Sect aren’t the ones reigning the USA. Harper despises the US, that latest visit to Israel comprising of chiefs of illegal terrorist organizations like the JIDF and a delegation bigger than when our last real “Canada-first” government (Liberals, from 93 to 2005) visited China. Not for any reason. It’s like if the Tea Party on steroids were ruling us right now. Got elected like Hitler too, used petty and a few non petty bad things that the Libs did in the early 2000’s, promised “transparency” and “accountability” and got in with a minority government with like 31% of votes, and when in 2011 a lot of people made the error of voting en masse for the NDP (which I respect a lot, they never had federal power..) and some robocaller shenanigans by the conservatives put them in Majority, they just push omnibus bills changing 35 000 canadian laws at once and we get to discover what they changed later on.

Just ask our Veterans right now. This disaster is sure to end in 2015, but it will take forever to undo the damage, wow, sure sounds like what Obama said about Bush’s 8 years when first elected.

Tom says:

meaning of term

I am not sure if you are all playing dumb, but Gawker and other media have reported on Greenwald’s financial association with a company that sold sexy dvds a decade or so ago. Can’t be bothered looking it up and linking because the reporter can’t be bothered. I don’t remember GG ever claiming he was a saint.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: meaning of term

I am not sure if you are all playing dumb, but Gawker and other media have reported on Greenwald’s financial association with a company that sold sexy dvds a decade or so ago. Can’t be bothered looking it up and linking because the reporter can’t be bothered. I don’t remember GG ever claiming he was a saint.

I’m aware of that, but the term still makes no sense. Porn spy? WTF is that?

anonymous coward says:

Re: Re: meaning of term

Maybe saying “porn-spy Glenn Greenwald” is short for “former-pornographer-turned-de-facto-spying-accomplice-who-hides-behind-the-First-Amendment-but-really-hates-his-country Glenn Greenwald”

Or maybe like a lot of insults (both today and historically) it’s not always perfectly clear what precisely the term means (often by design) even if it’s not too difficult to figure out what it’s alluding to in general.

JMT says:

Re: Re: Re: meaning of term

“He is pushing this story the same way and for the same reasons he sold gay porn: for the money.”

Yes, because journalism is one of those jobs you get paid for. Do you think journalists should work for free?

“That and its being sold and held back in the same manner as a strip tease. if its news release it, dont sell it to the highest bidder or only in the champagne room.”

Are you being deliberately obtuse or do you actually not know what’s been happening with these docs? Greenwald works for the The Guardian and they’re publishing stories he writes for them. He is not the only one with the docs and not the only one writing stories based on their contents.

s?n gỗ (user link) says:

s?n gỗ

does anyone doubt that ALL of these people -plus many others that don’t get mentioned- are susceptible to being spied on REGARDLESS of ‘laws’; that they are the subject of ‘dirty tricks’, endless harassment, and nasty whisper campaigns ? ? ?

i don’t know who they are kidding, i think even the vast number of sheeple who are just now hearing about these abuses of our rights and untold surveillance, will not buy this horseshit they are peddling with respect to the TRUE journalists who are reporting on these issues…

too late: lying about and smearing truly COURAGEOUS journalists/citizens like snowden, m

Cincinnatus (profile) says:

The REAL truth about Glenn Greenwald...

-is that he’s an opportunistic, glory-seeking racist libertarian phony who believes that he’s doing good when in fact he’s full of shit;

A Direct Timeline of Glenn Greenwald, His Front Group and the Fugitive Edward Snowden

Glenn Greenwald Promotes Racist, Anti-Government Hate Group

Did the British Have Good Reason to Detain Greenwald’s Partner in Crime?

President Obama Slays Edward Snowden’s “Whistleblower” Myth

Blackmail Backfires: Glenn Greenwald Steps Deeper in His Own Petard

Glenn Greenwald Accuses Edward Snowden of Treason!

Greenwald Backtracks: I Did Not Have Working Relations With that Man… (in February Like I Told You I Did)

Glenn Greenwald Cheerleads for Russian State-controlled Media

I could go on and on, but you can read the rest of the articles via the links I’ve provided.

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