Saturday, June 03, 2006

Did Someone Say Domestic Surveillance?

We're beginning to learn some of the details of a terror plot that was foiled by Canadian authorities, notably the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS). Working from tips developed by the intelligence service (beginning in 2004), the Mounties conducted an exhaustive investigation that, eventually, led them to a home-grown terror cell, apparently plotting large-scale terror attacks in southern Ontario. According to investigators, the suspects "took steps to acquire" three tons of amonium nitrate, the combustible fertilizer that was used in the 1995 attack on the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The amount sought by the Canadian suspects was roughy three times the amount used in the U.S. attack.

The RCMP hasn't released the names of the suspects (yet), but describes them as either citizens or residents of Canada. The Toronto Star reports that 17 individuals have been arrested, twelve adults and five juveniles. Some of those arrested were reportedly "upset" at the treatment of Muslims worldwide, and had become adherents of a violent, Al-Qaida style ideology. The Star says that some of the suspects trained together at a camp north of Toronto, and produced propaganda videos. Their planned bombing campaign apparently included several targets, including CSIS headquarters in downtown Toronto, near the CN Tower.

You'll note that an important element of this story is being largely ignored by the MSM. According to Canadian press accounts, the investigation began with monitoring of internet trafffic by the CSIS. As the outlines of the plot became obvious, the RCMP became involved. It's similar to the system that's been created in the U.S., where intelligence agencies monitor selected traffic and (as necessary) provide tip-offs to law enforcement for additional surveillance and investigation. When word of the alleged Canadian plot was revealed, I didn't hear any cries about civil liberties from the press or liberal pundits. Perhaps our neighbors up north have learned that vigilance against terrorism requires the full cooperation of intelligence services and law enforcement agencies, with an aggressive commitment toward uncovering and identifying potential terror cells.

Those terror suspects in Canada were rounded up, in part, because of heightened domestic surveillance efforts. The same system that worked in Canada is also working here, and will (hopefully) continue to produce desired results.

No comments: