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Paging Ari Fleischer (II)


 

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano tells the CBC’s Neil Macdonald about the 9/11 terrorists who entered the United States through Canada.

Relevant passage after the jump. Relevant Inkless Wells archival footage here.

NM: I’m going to quote you here. A couple of weeks ago, you said that, you cited a feeling in the United States that if things — this is a quote — “are being done on the Mexican border, they should also be done on the Canadian border. We shouldn’t go light on one border and not on the other.”

You know 6,000 civilians were killed in drug violence in Mexico last year. They export kidnappings. I think we can all agree that’s not happening in Saskatchewan. Why the need for same level of security on the Canadian border as on the Mexican border given two drastically different realities?

JN: Look, the comment you read of course was taken out of context. The law doesn’t differentiate. The law says the borders are the borders and these are the kind of things that have to be done at the borders.

Secondly, yes, Canada is not Mexico, it doesn’t have a drug war going on, it didn’t have 6,000 homicides that were drug-related last year. Nonetheless, to the extent that terrorists have come into our country or suspected or known terrorists have entered our country across a border, it’s been across the Canadian border. There are real issues there.

NM: Are you talking about the 9/11 perpetrators?

JN: Not just those but others as well. So again, every country is entitled to have a border. It’s part of sovereignty. It’s part of knowing who’s in the country.

We have very dissimilar visa requirements. We want to work with Canada. Canada is such a close friend and ally and good friends with the United States. But I think we’ve all agreed that it makes sense to have a real border structure there. And again the law in the United States does not differentiate between the Mexican border and the Canadian border, so from my standpoint as the implementer of the law, that’s what I’m dealing with.

NM: You know you mention terrorism, and there have been a lot of prominent American officials, including Secretary of State [Hillary] Clinton when she was a senator and a number of other congressmen and senators, that have said that there has to be tighter security because a lot of the 9/11 perpetrators came in through Canada.

The fact, of course, is that they didn’t. They all came directly into the States, sometimes with U.S. visas. Senator [Charles] Schumer cited terrorists crossing at Buffalo, and then had to concede that that hadn’t happened. I think there’s kind of a popular misconception in this country that Canadians have been battling for a long time that we’re somehow a nest of terrorism. But in reality it’s not the case. And why is that view so common here?

JN: Well again, and I’m not privileged to say everything that has occurred. I mean, some things have occurred in the past. I can’t talk to that. I can talk about the future. And here’s the future. The future is we have borders. The borders are going to be enabled with greater technology, but it’s not going to be going back and forth as if there’s no border anymore.

I think that the United States Congress years ago said, You know what? We have borders both north and south, and we have to have some standards and implement them at the border, so we’re not going to, we’re no longer going to have this fiction that there’s no longer a border between Canada and the United States.

That is very different, however, from not having a workable border, and that’s where my goal is. We’re going to have a working border where families can go back and forth, a hockey team that has a game that has to be on one side of the border or the other, that we facilitate that. That we use technology to make those lines move more quickly, and fast lanes and sentry lanes and all the other kinds of things that you can set up. To me that’s really the future that we are building.


 

Paging Ari Fleischer (II)

  1. We need to be very clear that, whatever happens, we are not taking US economic refugees.

  2. They can put up a concrete wall for all I care. In fact, the sooner the better.

  3. Napolitano scares me. I hope she’s not reflecting the Administration’s view of Canada and is instead speaking out of what seems to be an increasingly evident ignorance of our border.

  4. The canard about 9/11 terrorists coming from Canada is disconcerting.

    But so is Macdonald’s canard about Canadian authorities helping to prevent Ressam (the milennium bomber) from reaching Los Angeles with a bomb. US Border agents stopped Ressam with no help from Canada. There is zero evidence that Canada helped foil that terrorist plot until after Ressam was detected by the US.

    So unfortunately, confusion about these various plots may not be as important as some think.

    That being said, Canada has stepped up its efforts after 9/11, and that needs to be recognized by the US.

    • Um, the RCMP alerted US customs officials that he was on his way and was a potential bomb threat to them, Dec 14, 1999.

        • The canard about 9/11 terrorists coming from Canada is disconcerting.

          But so is Macdonald’s canard about Canadian authorities helping to prevent Ressam (the milennium bomber) from reaching Los Angeles with a bomb. US Border agents stopped Ressam with no help from Canada.

          Regardless of competing narratives, the two situations are in no way comparable and it puzzles me why the comparison would even be advanced. Canada has much more to fear about security with regard to the US than the other way around and that has always been the case.

          • Wandering,

            I’ll explain.

            Two plots to blow up major US infrastucture and cause mass casualties and panic occured within a two year period.

            One emanated from Canada. It was foiled by US border guards, and is the genesis of US concerns about Canadian based terrorist threats. Canadian authorities nothing to do with its discovery. Had it not been foiled, mass casualties would no doubt have resulted.

            Another later plot emanated from within the US, and was successful. Some early reports incorrectly suggest that some of the terrorists came from Canada. Later, this notion becomes hard to shake. This is surprising?

            Whether or not Canada has “more to fear”, we need to be honest about the sources of the US fear.

          • “Whether or not Canada has “more to fear”, we need to be honest about the sources of the US fear.”

            There’s no “whether or not.” It’s a certainty, born out by our long history alongside the US. Perhaps you could read up on that.

            And we all know where the sources of US fear come from; they are mostly irrational and we can do precious little to change any of that, except to point out that we are a safer, more peaceful, more orderly society and it’s in their interests to understand that.

          • I’ll be sure to get reading on our long history alongside the U.S.

            Still, as I say, a little honesty from our side never hurt.

          • Still, as I say, a little honesty from our side never hurt.

            Canada’s done all it can. It’s really out our hands.

  5. Here’s Napolitano on CNN:

    What we have to do is target the real evil-doers in this business, the employers who consistently hire illegal labor, the human traffickers who are exploiting human misery.

    And yes, when we find illegal workers, yes, appropriate action, some of which is criminal, most of that is civil, because crossing the border is not a crime per se. It is civil. But anyway, going after those as well.

    In fact, pursuant to 8 U.S.C. 1325, crossing the border illegally is a crime–a misdemeanor for the first offense and a felony for the second and subsequent offenses.

    So the current Secretary of Homeland Security believes it’s not a crime for an undocumented individual to cross the border.

    Yikes.

    • She’s coming out with a number of doozies lately that show the complete lack of understanding she has of the border security component of her job.

      It’s scary when the Secretary of Homeland Security seems to know less about crossing a border than some of the general public, let alone customs officers, etc.

  6. Obama’s administration looks like it will be even worse in its approach to illegal immigration than Bush’s. How the heck is an employer giving work to someone an “evil-doer”?

    And as for the border controls, the costs that these are imposing on trade are helping to extend the current economic turndown. Billions of dollars are being spent on unproductive garbage activity to support the delusions of Napolitano and her ilk.

  7. The 911 myths are on pace to be the new Alamo, and in another century the terrorists will be “remembered” as agents funded by a hostile Canadian government.

    Time for Canada to get off the teat. We relinquish little bits of our sovereignty in order to achieve some sort of favoured nation status, but that and the trade deals go out the window when the chips are down.

    We rely too heavily on trade with the US because it’s the easy to do and our country is run by the branch plant managers, with their branch plant imaginations. Scared to do anything without a memo from head office.

    We need to pursue trade diversification at the same time that we constructively act up to send the US the message that they have to at least pay attention to the Canada file. This is our chance to implement sound policy measures that they don’t like, such as decriminalizing marijuana, or how about a zero tolerance policy at the border for anyone who was ever cited for a firearms violation?

    • how about a zero tolerance policy at the border for anyone who was ever cited for a firearms violation?

      Oooh… that sounds interesting.

      As it stands, people who attempted to bring in an undeclared firearm to Canada (for personal, not commercial purposes) aren’t automatically banned for life. I say start with baby steps, ban those who failed to declare a firearm even once.

      I can’t tell you how many police officers came up to my booth and were asked “Do you have any firearms, weapons, pepper spray, mace?”, said no, and were sent over to secondary only to find a handgun. “But it’s my service revolver” was always the excuse.

      To which we’d ask “is your service revolver a firearm”? And they’d sheepishly answer “yes”…

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