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Canada- More Terrorist Cells than any Other Country

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This is part of an opinion piece out of the Oregon Register--This could be the reason for the big push for passports and fingerprinting to cross the Canadian line...


The so-called millennium bomber, Ahmed Ressam, who planned to bomb the Los Angeles airport on New Year's Eve 2000, did come from Canada. In another notorious case, Mohammed Zeki Mahjoub was arrested in Toronto after being accused of belonging to a militant group with ties to an Egyptian Islamic Jihad organization. Though he denied those links, Mahjoub admitted he worked closely with Osama bin Laden himself during his years in Sudan. The judge at Mahjoub's first hearing quoted from a report issued by the Canadian Security Intelligence Services that ''there are more terrorist cells operating in Canada than in any other country outside the Middle East.''

Worry about alienating key constituencies in a hairline election has silenced politicians here on these important issues. But Canada-U.S. relations could reach a turning point if they're not addressed. Over the past five years, Canada has stopped extraditing people to the United States if they face the death penalty. The increasing popularity of the notion that international terrorism suspects also should not be extradited have led to some serious concerns about the heavily trafficked border.

It's not just that Canada is starting to look like a safe haven for America's Most Wanted; it's that America may be starting to view Canada as a less-than-benign neighbor. U.S. Customs and Immigration this year imposed passport requirements on visiting Canadians for the first time, and there is talk of fingerprinting at the border as well. At some point, the truck traffic that carries up to 70 percent of Canadian exports south will start to bog down in security inspections. That's when Canadians' anti-American bark will really start to bite.

In this electoral season, the public is looking for bellicose rhetoric, but Canada's security cries out for sober management. Whoever is elected will have to work publicly with the United States, not just against it, to reduce anti-American sentiment while addressing the problem of terrorism and cross-border control. If the real need for cooperation with Canada's southern neighbor can't temper the public's demand for criticism, the nation will be in for some stormy weather in the next few years.


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