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Chertoff: Canadian Border Poses Bigger Threat for Terrorist Entry Than Mexico

A U.S. Border Patrol UH-60 Blackhawk flies over the northern border in Washington State near Canada. (Photo by U.S. Customs & Border Protection)

Despite the Transportation Security Administration’s failed tests to detect explosives, former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff stands by the TSA’s use of full-body scanners in the nation’s airports.

In 2010, it was reported that The Chertoff Group had ended its representation of Rapiscan, the body scanner manufacturer.

“The Chertoff Group played no role in the sale of whole body imaging technology to TSA,” said a company spokeswoman at the time. “Further, Secretary Michael Chertoff was in no way compensated for his public statements, in which he has consistently expressed long-held beliefs in the deployment of effective technologies and techniques that eliminate security vulnerabilities such as those illustrated last year during the [Underwear Bomber] terrorist attempt on Christmas Day.”

Chertoff told PJ Media he still supports the use of the scanners today.

“I think they are good because the problem is you need to get something that is going to detect non-metallic anomalies. Now, as they improve them they get better and better but I think you need to have that capability,” Chertoff said after a speech at a Federalist Society event in Washington.

In June 2015, the TSA failed to detect explosives and weapons during random tests conducted by undercover investigators.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) has recommended using teams of K9s to identify explosives in place of the body scanners. Chertoff said K9s are not a magic bullet for security.

“Well, K9s are very good but they are a little difficult to train and also difficult to scale, like there just aren’t that many. I mean, you need thousands of dogs. But I think they are good. But they are not a magic bullet,” he told PJ Media.

During the Federalist Society event, Chertoff was asked if the U.S. should be concerned about terrorists from the Middle East attempting to enter the U.S. through the southern border. In response, Chertoff said terrorists coming to the U.S. from Canada pose more of a threat.

“[Ahmed] Ressam came from Canada. There were others who came from Canada because they had relatives there and you don’t have that in Mexico – there is not a Middle Eastern tradition of having people in Mexico – so they haven’t actually got people there who are going to get radicalized,” he said.

Ressam, an Algerian affiliated with al-Qaeda, was convicted in 2001 for plotting to attack the Los Angeles International Airport. He lived in Canada and was arrested in 1999 by border patrol in Port Angeles, Wash.