Ahmed Ressam, the Algerian terrorist we told you about who was arrested at the Canadian border back in December 1999, was later convicted by a federal jury on charges ranging from smuggling explosives to terrorist conspiracy. According to court records, he was part of a plot to bomb the Los Angeles Airport during celebrations of the new millennium.
That plot, of course, failed. But the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 demonstrated just how devastating the consequences could be when other terrorists entered our borders unnoticed.
• Watch Jonathan's report, Unprotected Border.
The transfer of U.S. Border Patrol agents from the North to the Southwest, has not only ended, but reversed. Now, experienced agents patrolling the Mexican border are routinely transferred to the Canadian border - more than tripling the number stationed there.
With roughly 1,000 agents patrolling the northern border and information-sharing programs being established with Canadian authorities, the U.S. Border Patrol appears better prepared, at least logistically, to ward off terrorist threats from the north than it was prior to 9/11.
"It’s a start," says Daryl Schermerhorn, Northwest region vice president of the National Border Patrol Council - the union representing the agents. "I don’t think it’s enough."
Schermerhorn says he would like to see 2,000 agents stationed along the Canadian border and says his agency needs to increase office space, vehicles and equipment to accommodate the expanding staff.
The union VP also criticized the "high visibility" strategy the border patrol adopted after 9/11. That policy places more uniformed agents in clearly marked vehicles to patrol the border as a psychological deterrent. But Schermerhorn says the drawback is that the bad guys always know where the agents are.
As far as Schermerhorn is concerned, "The real deterrence is making the arrests."