Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien is vacationing in the Dominican Republic this weekend, where he will tee off with former U.S. President Bill Clinton for the newly inaugurated Soft-on-Terror Masters Tournament.
While Chretien golfs, his fellow countryman and favorite accused terrorist Ahmad Said Khadr is still on the loose.
Khadr, an Egyptian-born Canadian citizen, is considered by intelligence officials to be the highest-ranking Canadian within Osama bin Laden's inner circle. He studied computer science at the University of Ottawa and worked for an Ottawa-based Islamic charity, Human Concern International, which was generously subsidized by Chretien's government.
Khadr is suspected of siphoning charity funds to bin Laden and other jihadists, and of serving as a chief terrorist recruiter. Known as "al-Kanadi" (Arabic for "The Canadian"), Khadr had previously been in custody in Pakistan for the 1995 bombing of the Egyptian Embassy in Islamabad that killed 17 people.
As I've noted before (and it is especially worth repeating in light of attempts by some high-ranking American diplomats to make amends with Canada), our so-called friend and supposed War on Terror partner Chretien was instrumental in securing Khadr's freedom.
Chretien personally intervened on behalf of Khadr during a 1996 state visit to Pakistan. He aggressively sought guarantees from Benazir Bhutto, then the country's prime minister, that Khadr would receive due process and fair treatment. The suspected Egyptian Islamic Jihad terrorist was released shortly after Chretien's diplomatic lobbying campaign.
The United Nations, U.S. and Canada (last, of course) have since frozen the fugitive Khadr's assets due to his suspected ties to bin Laden. One of his sons, an al Qaeda operative and former terror training camp commander, is on the run with Khadr.
Another of Khadr's sons, 16-year-old Omar, is in U.S. custody at Guantanamo Bay for his alleged role in an ambush of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan last summer. Omar is accused of lobbing the hand grenade that killed Sergeant First Class Christopher Speer, a 28-year-old medic with the U.S. Special Forces.
"That wasn't a panicky teenager we encountered that day," Sergeant First Class Layne Morris of South Jordan, Utah, who lost his right eye in the ambush, told the Boston Globe last month. "That was a trained Al Qaeda who wanted to make his last act on earth the killing of an American."
Speer left behind a wife and two children, ages 3 and 11 months. Just days before his murder, Speer had selflessly walked into a minefield to rescue two wounded Afghan children.
Chretien's government, naturally, is pleading for leniency in Omar Khadr's case.
While Chretien golfs, another fellow countryman and suspected terrorist, Al Rauf Bin Al Habib Bin Yousef Al-Jiddi, also remains on the loose. Al-Jiddi is a Tunisian-born Canadian citizen from Montreal who vowed to become a martyr in the "war against the infidels." The suicide threats were recorded on a videotape found at an al Qaeda safehouse in Afghanistan owned by bin Laden's military chief, Mohammed Atef.
Al-Jiddi has been linked to a Canadian-based al Qaeda cell that included Ahmed Ressam, the Algerian terrorist plotter nabbed by U.S. Customs officials at the Canadian border in Washington state with a car full of explosives intended for use in a bombing attack at Los Angeles International Airport during the millennium celebration. Tunisian-Canadian Faker Boussora, an associate of Al-Jiddi's, also remains a fugitive.
While Chretien golfs, counterterrorism officials estimate that al Qaeda has roughly 75 operatives still on the loose in Canada and that the country remains an operations base for at least 50 different international terrorist organizations -- many of whose members have gained Canadian citizenship thanks to Chretien's chronically lax refugee and asylum policies.
While Chretien golfs, Canada remains a magnet for jihadists and a breeding ground for anti-American terrorism. Yet, the Bush administration is now planning to exempt Canadian citizens from our federal law requiring a system to track all entries to and exists from the U.S. by 2005. The Globe and Mail reports that "The Chretien government has lobbied hard for such an exemption, saying it is needed to keep people and commerce flowing freely across the border."
Chretien has undermined America's national security efforts every step of the way. Why do we continue to serve as caddies for his terror-friendly agenda?