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CSEC Staff Levels Hit Record High, As Other Agencies Suffer Through Austerity

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The Harper government is working to slash the size of the public service, but at least one agency is exempt from the austerity push.

Staff levels at Canada’s electronic spy agency hit a record high last month, according to national security blog Lux Ex Umbra.

There were 2,220 people working for Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) in June, an increase of 83 employees from the month before.

The agency has been under siege this past year over leaked documents indicating it has been involved in numerous controversial surveillance efforts. All the same, CSEC is undergoing a significant expansion.

Since June of 2008, staff levels at CSEC have jumped 33.5 per cent, and with the Harper government’s recent decision to nearly double the agency’s budget, we can expect to see that number continue to rise.

The Harper government’s latest budget gives CSEC $829 million for 2014-15, nearly double the $444 million the agency got the year before.

The government is also shelling out an estimated $1.2 billion on a new headquarters for CSEC, reportedly the most expensive Canadian government building ever constructed. About $300 million of the increased budget will go towards the costs of the "spy palace," with another $100 million devoted to maintenance.

Other law enforcement and security agencies weren’t so lucky. The RCMP saw its budget slashed by $132 million, or about 5 per cent.

CSEC's $1.2-Billion 'Spy Palace' In Ottawa
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