Trail of a Terrorist

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Terrorist Threats to United States

After the arrest of Ahmed Ressam, the U.S. House Subcommittee on Immigration held hearings in January 2000. Several experts, including David Harris, criticized Canada's immigration laws as overly lax and called for stricter security at the U.S.-Canada border.
The Report of the Special Senate Committee on Security and Intelligence

This January 1999 report (released almost a year before Ressam's foiled bomb plot) is from Canada's Special Senate Committee on Security and Intelligence. It calls Canada "a 'venue of opportunity' for terrorist groups: a place where they may raise funds, purchase arms and conduct other activities to support their organizations and their terrorist activities elsewhere. Most of the major international terrorist organizations have a presence in Canada. Our geographic location also makes Canada a favorite conduit for terrorists wishing to enter the United States, which remains the principal target for terrorist attacks worldwide."
The Undefended Border

This link to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's coverage of the Sept. 11 attacks contains a Flash presentation that details various border entry points and the amount of traffic coming through each crossing every year. (Located in "Special Sections" box.)
Technology's Role in Preventing the Entry of Terrorists into the United States

The Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Technology, Terrorism and Government Information held hearings on Oct. 12, 2001. Experts testified on the potential of using advanced technologies, including biometrics, to recognize terrorists and criminals upon their application for U.S. visas.

Arrested Italian Cell Sheds Light on Bin Laden's Networks

Based upon an Italian prosecutor's 100-page investigative report, this report from the Center for Public Integrity details the cooperation among suspected bin Laden cells in Europe. And it notes that in a raid on Ahmed Ressam's Vancouver apartment, police found the telephone number of a key suspected Al Qaeda operative in London.
The Bin Laden Principle

In this article published before the Sept. 11 attacks, Yoram Schweitzer of the International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism describes the import-export modus operandi of Al Qaeda. He uses the example of Ahmed Ressam's training in bin Laden's Afghan camps to illustrate how Al Qaeda attracts Islamic revolutionaries to Afghanistan and then exports them to carry out operations elsewhere. Schweitzer writes, "Operatives are initiated into the doctrine of the international Jihad, but are not given any direct orders by al-Qaidah's leader on how to implement their terrorist missions. Thus bin Laden is able to wash off his hands of the terrorist attacks, after they are either carried out or foiled. "
Armed Islamic Group

Ahmed Ressam has been linked to the Armed Islamic Group (GIA), an Algerian extremist group that began conducting terrorist attacks when the government overturned the victory of an Islamic political party in the 1992 legislative elections. This excerpt from the U.S. State Department's Patterns of Global Terrorism 2000 report describes the GIA's origin and activities.
Armed Islamic Group Attacks

The website of the International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism contains a chronology of GIA attacks from 1988 to 2000.

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