Thursday, March 31, 2016

9/11 Border Lessons Still Ignored In US, Belgium

This week’s deadly terror attacks in Brussels moved national security, and specifically border security, front and center in the presidential election.
This renewed focus is welcome, but it has been nearly 12 years since my colleagues and I on the 9/11 Commission’s border security team wrote a 233-page report, separate from the commission’s main findings, detailing how and why terrorists move around the world, exploit immigration laws and weak border controls for destructive ends — and how they can be detected and disrupted.
That we are still having the same conversation about what to do to fix our broken borders all these years later clearly indicates that, whatever might have been done to improve border security, it has not been enough.
As we recommended in 2004, we must make border security an integral part of U.S. national security; we must focus immigration regulation and law enforcement on preventing terrorist entry and embedding; and we must act internationally to make border, travel and immigration security a global priority.
Transnational terrorist groups need to travel to commit their acts of terror. They require freedom of movement for many reasons, including training, communications, surveillance, committing terrorist acts and escaping capture. Al-Qaeda understood the importance of travel with their ability to carry out attacks. They studied national immigration policies and practices, monitored modes of transportation and ports of entry, and trained operatives in the use of fraudulent travel documents and how to appear inconspicuous.
Read the rest of this op-ed HERE.

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