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Janet Napolitano screws up again

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By Michelle Malkin  •  April 22, 2009 01:56 PM

Gaffestastic Janet Napolitano is at it again — this time earning the partially justified derision of Canadians after suggesting that 9/11 terrorists entered the U.S. through the northern border:

The furor began when Napolitano was asked to clarify statements she had made about equal treatment for the Mexican and Canadian borders, despite the fact that a flood of illegal immigrants and a massive drug war are two serious issues on the southern border.

“Yes, Canada is not Mexico, it doesn’t have a drug war going on, it didn’t have 6,000 homicides that were drug-related last year,” she said.

“Nonetheless, to the extent that terrorists have come into our country or suspected or known terrorists have entered our country across a border, it’s been across the Canadian border. There are real issues there.”

When asked if she was referring to the 9-11 terrorists, Napolitano added: “Not just those but others as well.”

It was, of course, lax policing at our overseas consulates in Saudi Arabia (hello, Visa Express) that opened the door to the 9/11 jihadis. And it was the failure of interior enforcement that enabled them to stay.

Napolitano was boneheadedly wrong about the 9/11 – Canadian border claim, and she tried to finesse it with a dishonest clarification:

In a release Tuesday night following the interview, she called Canada a “close ally and an important partner” and said she was simply misunderstood.

“I know that the September 11th hijackers did not come through Canada to the United States,” she said in the statement.

“There are other instances, however, when suspected terrorists have attempted to enter our country from Canada to the United States. Some of these are well-known to the public — such as the Millennium Bomber — while others are not due to security reasons.”

On the second point, which she apparently had to be reminded about by more informed staffers, she is of course correct. Canada’s National Post, in response to Napolitano’s blunder, is too quick to gloss over the national security concerns to our north. A reminder from last spring:

Comprehensive immigration enforcement reform, however, means paying attention to all our ports of entry–air, land, and sea. And all our borders–southern and northern. In Invasion , I recounted how Border Patrol agents would stick orange rubber cones on vast, unguarded swaths of the northern border. I’ve reported on the security threat posed to the U.S. by Canada’s lax asylum policies, jihadi-friendly positions, and McCustoms’ attitude. Daniel Stoffman’s “Who Gets In” diagnosed the systemic ills of Canada’s immigration system, which in turn, poses dangers to us.

A new DHS report reveals that little has changed. Via USAT:

Montana has the longest unprotected border in the world with a sparse population and vast terrain on the U.S. side and 90% of Canada’s population within 100 miles on the other. That makes the area vulnerable to illegal crossings into the United States by terrorists and extremists groups, the Helena Independent Record says.

While the state’s northern border population is sparse, the area is highly traveled. More than 70 million international travelers and 35 million vehicles crossed the northern border last year. Agents made about 4,000 arrests and intercepted 40,000 pounds of illegal drugs, the newspaper reports.

“There is an undisputed presence in Canada of known terrorist affiliate and extremist groups, including Hezbollah, Hamas and the Armed Islamic Group of Algeria,” according to a report from the Department of Homeland Security.

With Google Earth revealing 58 unmanned roads or trails leading in and out of the country, local law enforcement say they lack the manpower to properly guard the border. Currently, there are 190 officers working the northern border.

The Helena Independent Record has an excellent investigation of northern border vulnerabilities here.

The DHS northern border report is here.

And here’s a reminder of how vigilance–and behaviorial profiling–at the northern border saved untold American lives: Remember Diana Dean.

Too bad we don’t have a DHS Secretary serious or informed enough to speak competently about these matters without cue cards.

Maybe she needs her own teleprompter, too.

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