About a month ago, Ian MacLeod reported on a talk given by Chris Sands at an intelligence and security conference in Ottawa:
An indication of where Canada-U.S. border relations – and therefore economic trade – will head under the next U.S. administration will be evident with the appointment of the anticipated new head of the Department of Homeland Security.
“There is no more important cabinet secretary to Canada today … because homeland security is the gatekeeper with its finger on the jugular affecting your ability to move back and forth across the border, the market access upon which the Canadian economy depends.”
It is will be extremely important, he [Sands] said, that the next secretary appreciates Canada’s efforts against terrorism and the “tremendous progress” the two countries have made on domestic security co-operation.
“That has to happen before we have a conversation about changing border policies. These will be new people in Washington and we need to start at the beginning, saying, ‘Canada is not a threat and we’re making every effort to make sure that we don’t foster a threat anywhere inside’,” our borders.
FARGO, N.D. (AP) – After two failed tries, an unmanned aircraft expected to be the first to patrol the northern U.S. border completed a flight from Arizona to North Dakota.U.S Customs and Border Protection officials said the Predator B drone touched down Saturday at the Grand Forks Air Force Base after a six-hour flight from Libby Army Airfield in Sierra Vista, Ariz.
“The aviators all brag about the perfect landing,” said Michael Corcoran, deputy director for air operations at U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Air and Marine office in Grand Forks. “I guess we’ll brag about this one, as well,” he said.
The drone is scheduled to begin patrolling the northern U.S. border in January. Its flights will originate from the Grand Forks base.
Officials were waiting for clearance on air space before deciding on a schedule, Corcoran said.
An earlier flight on Thursday was canceled because of maintenance problems, and a flight Friday was aborted because of poor weather.
The Predator weighs 5 tons, has a 66-foot wingspan and can fly undetected as high as 50,000 feet. It can fly for 28 hours at a time and will be equipped with sensors and radar.
The drone has been in use along the southern border with Mexico since 2005.
Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., said the state’s congressional delegation had been working for four years to get the unmanned aircraft to North Dakota.
“It is vital to America’s security that we protect our borders, particularly the northern border,” Conrad said. “The Grand Forks Air Branch plays an essential role in helping shut the door on terrorists who want to sneak across remote border points to strike on U.S. soil.”
Sunday, December 7, 2008