Wednesday, June 01, 2011

US/Canada Border 'Mostly Insecure'- GAO Report

Looking north into Saskatchewan from the Whitetail, MT border crossing. A GAO report says that just over 30 miles of the Canada/US border is considered 'secure'- Photo: Mike Stebelton/Daniels County Leader
With all the attention (not to mention pandering and lame jokes) focused on the US/Mexican border and the bloody narco-insurgency south of the border recently, the Government Accountability Office issued a rather disturbing report back in February which determined that less than 35 miles of the nearly 4000-mile border with Canada was considered 'secure'.
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration has failed to adequately reinforce almost all of the US border with Canada to ensure against smuggling of weapons, drugs, illegal immigrants, and currency, a congressional report said.

The government has established an “acceptable level of security’’ for just 32 of the 4,000 miles that separate the United States from its northern neighbor, the Government Accountability Office said in a report yesterday.

Congress’s auditing agency cited a lack of coordination among federal law enforcement officials and said the Department of Homeland Security should take the leading role.

Because of the public outcry against illegal immigration from the south, the Obama administration, like its predecessors, has focused much of its efforts on the US border with Mexico. The neglected northern border may be a more likely entry for terrorists because there are fewer agents spread over a vast area of terrain that includes forests, waterways, and urban areas, according to the GAO.

“These findings should sound a loud alarm to the Department of Homeland Security, the Canadian government, and our committee,’’ said Joe Lieberman, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee chairman.
These significant gaps in security are already being exploited by smugglers and organized crime, moving Ecstasy, hydroponic marijuana and illegal aliens into the USA and untaxed tobacco or liquor, illegal firearms and cocaine into Canada.

The head of Customs and Border Protection told a Senate subcommittee earlier this month that he considers the gaps in the US/Canada border a "more significant threat" than that of Mexico.

And just like reports of Hezbollah operating in Mexico using the same smuggling routes and connections as the cartels, there are concerns that terrorists would once again attempt to cross into the USA from Canada.

Akwesasne/St Regis Mohawk Indian Reservation and environs- Syracuse Post-Standard
The Akwesasne Indian Reservation which abuts the St Lawrence River and straddles the border between New York, Quebec and Ontario has been popular with smugglers since Prohibition and remains active to this day. Further west, drug traffickers are taking advantage of small, rural airports that are often unstaffed after dark to move contraband between the two countries.

And it's not as though it hasn't occurred to Islamic terrorists to attempt to enter the USA from Canada to stage attacks. In December 1999, an Algerian national was arrested in Port Angeles, WA after a search of his vehicle coming off a ferry from Victoria, BC turned up explosives and home-made timers in the compartment that was supposed to house the spare tire. 32-year old Ahmed Ressam was later convicted by federal prosecutors of attempting to blow up a passenger terminal in Los Angeles International Airport on New Year's Eve 1999 in the failed Millenium bombing plot.

In October 2010, brush-cutting crews on Vancouver Island discovered an anti-tank weapon with live ammunition abandoned in vegetation by the side of the Trans-Canada highway.

This doesn't get quite as much attention as the goings-on in Mexico in part because we're not seeing the utter collapse of law and order like we are south of the Rio Grande coupled with the fact that the Canadian border isn't considered as important to some politicians when they attempt to pandering for votes.

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