DHS: Northern Border Terror Threat ‘Primarily from Homegrown Violent Extremists in Canada’

Craig Bannister
By Craig Bannister | June 12, 2018 | 2:37 PM EDT


“Homegrown” Canadian extremists pose the greatest terrorism threat to the U.S. coming from the northern border, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) warns in a report published Tuesday.

In its “Northern Border Strategy” report, DHS describes how violent extremist terrorists have the ability to slip through the cracks at the U.S. northern border:

“Potential terror threats are primarily from homegrown violent extremists in Canada who are not included in the U.S. Government’s consolidated terrorist watch list and could therefore enter the United States legally at Northern Border ports of entry (POEs) without suspicion.”

The new report cites a 2017 DHS threat assessment, which warned of how “unidentified homegrown violent extremists in Canada” can enter the U.S. undetected.

Northern border terrorist strategies have been "evolving" and, thus, require updated deterrence measures by both the U.S. and Canada, Tuesday’s report states:

“Over the past decade, the strategic threat environment of the United States has been evolving. Terrorists and drug smugglers supported by TCOs (Transnational Criminal Organizations) have demonstrated their desire to find vulnerabilities in the U.S. national security posture to cross borders and attack U.S. citizens or pursue criminal activities.

“DHS must improve its ability to prevent, deter, disrupt, interdict and investigate terrorism and illicit activities on the Northern Border by advancing situational awareness of the threat landscape in the air, maritime, land and cyber domains.”


“The ability to respond effectively, recover quickly, resume essential functions, and minimize the long-term consequences from terrorist attacks, natural disasters, or other incidents in the Northern Border region is vital to border communities, as well as to both countries’ governments and economies.”

Examples of the border security measures recommended by the report include:

  • Enhance existing joint operations to include counterterrorism activities.
  • Exchange timely and actionable information and intelligence on cross-border terrorism and other illicit activities with federal, state, local, tribal and international partners.
  • Promote and improve integrated operations to identify, interdict, investigate and interrupt terrorist and other illicit cross-border activities.
  • Leverage internationally-deployed assets and international information-sharing partnerships to support interdiction or disruption of terrorist or other illicit activity at the earliest possible juncture.
  • Embedding partner education and deterrence operations into its posture at the Northern Border.
  • Visible and non-visible capabilities demonstrations and coordinated messaging campaigns.

Multiple agencies from all levels on government on both sides of the border currently conduct operations to disrupt terrorist and other illicit cross-border activities, the report notes.

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