Police heighten security after two men enter CSE headquarters to ask if their phones are being jammed

OTTAWA — has been increased around the Ottawa headquarters of ’s electronic spy agency after two men entered the complex with , saying they wanted to see if the devices were being jammed.

CSE employees told the that last week the two suspicious men first walked around the perimeter of the CSE building on Ogilvie Road in Ottawa and then came into the visitor centre. The men took out their cell phones, claiming they wanted to see if the devices were still working or if were being jammed by CSE security.

As a result are now stationed at the CSE, with two police cars as well as private security in place. It is unclear whether the added security extends to the nearby headquarters of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, although CSE employees say that is the case.

It is not known if the men were taken into custody.

Wayne Cuddington/Postmedia
Wayne Cuddington/

Ryan Foreman of the CSE’s media relations branch said in an email: “CSE’s Edward Drake Building is a secure Government of Canada , with many security measures in place to ensure the safety of staff and visitors. These measures may include a noticeable police presence at the entrance to the building and elsewhere on the CSE .

“CSE will not comment on an Ottawa Police investigation,” he added.

CSE intercepts, decodes, translates and analyzes the communications of Canada’s adversaries. It also safeguards government computer systems.

The Ottawa Police Service confirmed in a statement that its “uniformed personnel are presently engaged at the Communications Security Establishment is a paid duty capacity. This is as the result of an OPS investigation.”

The police service declined to provide further comment.

The spy campus is home to more than 1,800 employees.

The CSE’s U.S. counterpart, the National Security Agency in Fort Meade, Md., has its own armed security force.

There have been previous concerns raised about security at the new CSE headquarters. In 2015, CSE employees warned that the massive of the headquarters complex could potentially allow foreign intelligence agencies to eavesdrop on Canada’s spies.

Specialized darkened screens were to be added to the glass walls but CSE has declined to comment on whether that measure was taken.

But CSE views its state-of-the-art headquarters as a way to make it a leader among its allies and attract the best and brightest of spies, according to Department of National by the Citizen in 2014.

The recently built facility is world-class while at the same time solving CSE’s need for modern accommodation and increased electrical power, the documents, obtained through the Access to Information law, pointed out. “It will also distinguish Canada as a leader among its intelligence allies for this type of show-case facility,” the records said.

The various features of the campus will aid in attracting highly skilled employees, the spy organization has argued. “The resulting cutting-edge facility will enable the organization’s unique contribution to Canada’s national security by enhancing CSEC’s appeal to the best and brightest technical, linguistic, mathematics, computer science, and network defence capabilities experts,” the documents said.

Postmedia News, with files from Shaamini Yogaretnam, Ottawa Citizen

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