True or false? Shortly before Sept. 11, 2001, several of the terrorists who would carry out the attacks that day slipped into the United States from Canada.
The History of the 'Canadian Border' Myth
The history of this myth is interesting to follow in the mainstream press:
On Sept. 13 a Boston Globe story said investigators were "seeking evidence" that the hijackers came through Canada. The Boston Herald reported the same day that federal investigators believed "the terrorist suspects may have traveled . . . by boat" from Canada.
On Sept. 14, The Washington Post reported that an unnamed U.S. official had said two suspects "crossed the border from Canada with no known difficulty at a small border entry in Coburn Gore, Maine," and that others may have come through other Maine ports.
On Sept. 16, that report was repeated by the New York Post, which also declared that "terrorists bent on wreaking havoc in the United States" had found Canada "the path of least resistance."
On Sept. 19, the Christian Science Monitor referred to Canada as "a haven for terrorists."
"It was just one of those things where everybody says, 'We all knew that,' and it becomes irrefutable," Etzinger said.
In the weeks after the attacks, investigators established that all of the hijackers entered the United States from countries other than Canada, a finding that got the official stamp with the release of the Sept. 11 commission report. But that has not stopped the story from spreading.
However, there is at least one known example of a terrorist attempting to cross the US/Canadian border, but this attempt was successfully thwarted by vigilant border agents. In December 1999, these border agents arrested an Algerian man, Ahmed Ressam, as he was trying to enter at Port Angeles, Wash., with homemade explosives in his rental car. He was later convicted of plotting to bomb the Los Angeles International Airport or some other airport in Southern California.
Statements From U.S. Officials Claiming the Canadian Border as the Source
Montana Senator Conrad Burns, a Republican, made this charge just days after the U.S. House of Representatives voted to consider building fences along the Canadian border: "We've got to remember that the people who first hit us in 9/11 entered this country through Canada."
In August, Rep. Ruben Hinojosa (D-Tex.) declared to a congressional committee -- and repeated in a press release -- that "as we all know, terrorists entered the U.S. from Canada on Sept. 11, 2001, using passports that the Canadians accepted as valid despite the fact that the documents were doctored."
Democrat Congressman Henry Cuellar of Texas said this to a House subcommittee: “If you want to look at the 9/11 terrorists, they didn’t come from the southern border. They came from the northern part of the border.”
Congressman Al Green, (D-Tex 9th) couched it as a broad hint: “Much is said about the southern border, but much also should be said about the northern border. The 9/11 hijackers did not come through the southern border…” (Green corrected himself, though not the official record, after calls from the CBC).
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) was quoted in October as saying the terrorists had crossed into New York from Canada. Her office disputes the quotes, but they prompted a flurry of outrage and demands in Canada for an apology.
"Once a story is out there, it gets picked up and repeated," Graham, the defense minister, said with a sigh. "People don't check to see if it's been contradicted."
For the record: the hijackers all entered the U.S. directly from countries other than Canada or Mexico, most of them on visas granted by the American government, presumably after security checks by the vigilant security services of the U.S. Most of them were also citizens of another close U.S. ally, Saudi Arabia.
Fortress America and Hillary Clinton
Published on Thursday, January 16, 2003 by the Guardian/UK
The US and Europe are Both Creating Multi-tiered Regional Strongholds
by Naomi Klein
Well, it could have been true. That's what Senator Hillary Clinton had to say after finding out that five Pakistani men did not actually sneak into the US through Canada so they could blow up New York on New Year's Eve. Because they were never in the US at all, and they weren't terrorists, and the whole thing was dreamt up by a man who forges passports for a living.
At the height of the search for the professional liar's imaginary non-terrorists, Clinton had blamed Canada and its "unpatrolled, unsupervised" border. But even when the hoax came to light, Clinton didn't rescind the accusation. Because the Canadian border is so porous, she reasoned, "this hoax seemed all too believable".
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