Team 7 Investigation Finds Terrorist Threats Across Canadian Border
Chris Halsne KIRO 7 Eyewitness News Investiga-tive Reporter
SEATTLE — Terrorists are using Canada as a launching pad to illegally enter America, an exclusive KIRO Team 7 Investigation uncovers. Not only are terrorist recruitments going on in British Columbia, but holes in border security between there and western Washington are an open gate, letting terrorists walk right in.
KIRO Team 7 Investigative Reporter Chris Halsne exposes the threat from Vancouver.
This city wants to be known as our friendly neighbor to the north and host for the 2010 Winter Games.
However, a KIRO Team 7 Investigation discovered it’s also home to 55 known terrorist organizations, some of which would do anything to kill Americans. Hezbollah, Hamas, the Armed Islamic Group, al-Qaida, and the Army of Mohammed aren’t confined to terrorist training camps in the Middle East. National security insiders tell KIRO Team 7 Investigators hundreds of seasoned terrorists are hanging out in British Columbia.
“Those people have a hate for this country,” said Carey James, retired Border Patrol Chief and current undersheriff of Whatcom County. “Some of the intelligence I had access to said there were terror groups; organizations from all over the world. Every group you can think of has a cell in the Vancouver area.”
The sleeper cells aren’t just sitting idle.
The Royal Mounted Police tell KIRO Team 7 Investigators al-Qaida is dealing drugs in Vancouver to raise money for its cause. Justice Department sources also tell us this year known terrorists have been probing our porous border just north of Seattle.
“It’s a genuine threat to this country,” said former U.S. Border Patrol Deputy Chief Gene Davis. Davis continues to advise Congress about northern border security.
“I’m telling you the threat up there has not diminished one bit. It’s probably greater now than ever before and greater right here in this area,” Davis said.
KIRO Team 7 Investigators uncovered some pretty scary lapses already. A smuggler successfully walked a group of Pakistani men down a pipeline underneath a broken border camera this summer. Authorities caught two at Sea-Tac Airport, but as many as five others remain at large.
“I think it’s well known what can potentially cross the border. They’ve already crossed,” said Daryl Schermerhorn. Schermerhorn is a current Border Patrol agent along the Blaine sector, a 40-mile stretch of Canadian-U.S. border.
He says the biggest problem agents have right now of stopping potential terrorists is a new Border Patrol mandate: Don’t arrest anyone, just chase them back into Canada.
“If you’re making arrests, bringing them to the office, identifying them, interrogating them — then you can gather intelligence. You can’t gather intelligence from people you don’t arrest.”
No arrests mean the terrorist watch list is useless.
“If you’re not going to catch ‘em, don’t know who they are, how you gonna check the list?”
Adding to security problems, the new super-computer remote cameras established to catch trespassers along the northern border still don’t work as promised.
KIRO Team 7 Investigation first broke the story last year and very little has changed: $8 million over budget and cameras break down every
“It’s been shown time and time again that they don’t work well in certain weather conditions and those issues haven’t been addressed,” said Schermerhorn.
Due to national security reasons, KIRO Team 7 Investigators aren’t going to reveal the exact location of this camera pole, but we do want to reveal one of the great deficiencies here. There are supposed to be two cameras, one for day and one for night. But agents tell us, the night vision broke months ago and there are no spare parts to replace it.
The Justice Department has ordered at least 400 new agents be assigned to the northern border in the coming months. We’re told top officials in Washington, D.C., are nervous that the next big terrorist attack will have Canadian roots.
Canadian House of Commons member Val Meredith hopes that’s not true, but admits her government has been lax.
“We’re very critical that the government hasn’t moved strong enough, fast enough, in identifying the terrorist organizations like Hamas,” said Meredith.
This Member of Parliament also warns us to look within. She says there is proof already that terrorist recruiting is occurring at local Mosques.
We’re not just talking about foreigners; we’re talking about our own young people being pulled into this circle of violence and terrorism.
International security experts say that since 9/11, Canadian immigration policies have toughened up. However, some members of parliament say prior to that, Canada did allow some well-known terrorists to slip into Vancouver. Then they disappeared.
Copyright 2003 by KIROTV.com.