Canada has set up spying posts and conducted espionage at the request of the U.S. National Security Agency, according to top secret documents retrieved by US whistleblower Edward Snowden and reported exclusively by CBC News.

The information is contained in a four-page document marked Top Secret by the NSA and dated April 3, 2013. This makes it one of the freshest documents available in a trove of over 50,000 pages.

CBC has decided not to publish much of the information in the document because the information would be harmful to Canadian national security.

The document, a briefing note prepared for a senior leader at the NSA, describes the nature of the intelligence relationship between the United States' largest spy agency and its Canadian partner, the Communications Security Establishment Canada.

It makes clear for the first time the intricate and intimate relationship between Canadian and American spy agencies that was formed in a secret agreement more than six decades ago.

The document goes further to show that a number of Americans are working at CSEC and Canadians are working at the NSA's top-secret facility in Maryland.

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Top-secret documents retrieved by U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden reveal Canada set up foreign spy posts in about 20 countries at the request of the U.S. National Security Agency. (The Guardian/Associated Press)

In the document, the NSA depicts CSEC as a sophisticated, capable and highly respected intelligence partner involved in all manner of joint spy missions.

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