Rich Galen
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  • Last month I wrote in a column cryptically titled NG21801329 "Protecting the border with Mexico … is tough enough. But there is also that pesky border between Canada and the lower 48 states which is about 4,000 miles long."

  • I got a significant amount of mail from you suggesting that by mentioning the border with Canada I was in danger of taking much-needed attention from the extremely dangerous southwestern border to the relatively benign border with Canada.

  • Well, well, well. The it seems the Canadians have arrested 17 people in what the Ottawa Sun's Laura Czekaj wrote was "a plot to blow up targets that sources say included the Parliament Buildings."

  • What is of greater immediate danger: 17 Mexicans slipping across the Southern border as part of a plot to pick lettuce in the Imperial Valley of California? Or 17 terrorists, who, according to a Royal Canadian Mounted Police spokesman, "were inspired by al-Qaeda" practicing on Canadian targets before moving operations south to the US.

  • Think that's hyperbole? The NBC affiliate in Atlanta is reporting, "the FBI believes that in March, 2005, the two Metro Atlanta men, Syed Ahmed and Ehsanul Sadequee, met with some of the suspected terrorists in Canada during seven days of meetings to discuss targets across North America."

  • Note the final four words, "targets across North America."

  • Get me the NSA on the phone. Oh, they are on the phone?

  • According to the Associated Press, the Canadian group was arrested with three tons of ammonium nitrate. "To put this in context," Santiago Esparza of the Detroit News wrote, "the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City that killed 168 people took one ton of ammonium nitrate."

  • The highly respected think tank "Stratfor" has an analysis in which one section begins, "On several occasions, Canada has been a point of entry for people who posed specific threats to the United States."

  • The report ends with a warning that, because our tendency to consider Canada a peaceful bunch of curling fans, "security concerns tend to command less emotion and attention -- but they are, for all of that, no less real."

  • Next, we return to the Wayback Machine to that same column in which I wrote:
    After we've solved the problem of protecting nearly 6,000 miles of land crossings (which doesn't include Alaska) we can begin to solve the issue of dealing with the 11,323 miles of coastline which doesn't include Alaska or Hawaii.

  • The notion of bad guys using unprotected beaches to paddle into our country is nothing new. About 718 World War II movies had that as a plot line. But the threat is very real. And not just in North America.

  • According to the International Herald Tribune,
    "[The] European Union decided to deploy planes, boats and rapid reaction aid teams from eight nations to ward off the flow of migrants, almost entirely young black men who set off in wooden boats from the western coast of Africa."

  • The report goes on to say that a common jumping off point is Senegal, 900 miles away and is caused by - see if this sounds familiar - a lack of economic opportunities in West African states.

  • According to an EU demographer, "the possibility of a mass exodus [into Europe] if the African states fail to absorb their rapidly increasing working age population should not be ruled out."

  • If unemployed African men can find their way into Europe, how long will it take for African men who have been "inspired by al-Qaeda" to hide amongst them in the flotillas?

  • The amount of time and attention being paid to the US-Mexican border may, in fact, be blinding us to the very real threats we face from the other tens of thousands of miles of unprotected borders through which terrorist wishing us harm can slip in.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring today: Many, many links to all of the research cited in the column. Plus a Mullfoto which helps explain the sorry state of our passenger railroad system, and a Catchy Caption of the Day.
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    Rich Galen

    Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at Mullings.com.