FrontPage Interview with Ben R. Furman, the FBI's Former Counterterrorism Chief. He writes a blog at blackhawkpress.
What is the state of this problem as we speak?
BF: No one knows how many terrorists are currently in the United States, but that they are here is not debatable, and the tally goes up each day. It’s natural to be swept away by the frightening battle occurring along our southern border, and it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the flood of illegal aliens crossing over that are eluding capture, but there’s a similar problem on our northern border that can’t be overlooked and it is equally as serious.
Terrorist infiltration is a deadly ongoing problem that our counterterrorism and law enforcement agencies face, both externally and internally, and in many respects the internal obstacles are the most troubling. Rooting out terrorists is a difficult job under the best of circumstances, but it’s made more difficult by the “open border” crowd that labels the agencies or anyone trying to control illegal immigration as racists, xenophobes and bigots. And the current mantra of political correctness has darn near beaten common sense police work to death.
Let me give you an example. Ahmed Ressam, the Algerian who plotted to blow up the Los Angeles Airport on the eve of the millennium was arrested in Port Angeles as he drove off a ferry from British Columbia with a trunk full of bomb-making materials. The agent responsible for the arrest said it had little to do with the man’s nationality, rather that he was sweating (it was December and at the northern border), made no eye contact, became belligerent as she peppered him with questions, and he gave lousy answers. She followed her training and applied common sense to the situation. Would this same incident be considered racial profiling today? I suspect the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) would use it as another example of Muslims being targeted by racist jack-booted cops.
Fox News reported that in October 2008 the Border Patrol began conducting random roadside stops of buses that pick up passengers at the Port Angeles ferry terminal, across the strait from Victoria, BC, to check for illegal aliens. Michael Mermudez, the Border Patrol spokesman said, “These are the places that terrorists or criminals would use to egress away from the border.”
Again, the Border Patrol’s actions make sense to most of us, but not to the ACLU, which has joined forces with left-leaning groups in Washington State, who say these measures have infringed on people’s civil liberties. So what are they doing to thwart the efforts of the Border Patrol? They’re installing signs in all the buses informing riders of their rights to ignore Border Patrol agents.
The way I see it, the ACLU has just handed the terrorists a playbook for evading federal law enforcement agents who are working to secure one of the most dangerous and porous borders in the country at a time when the threat to national security is particularly high. And, let’s not forget, in 2010 the Winter Olympics will be held in Vancouver; terrorists love the world stage and visions of the 1972 Olympics come to mind. (more)