Pubdate: Wed, 18 May 2011
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: 2011 The Vancouver Sun


The Canadian government has agreed to supply the U.S. Department of 
Homeland Security with surveillance data collected from 22 radar 
feeds as American officials struggle to combat the use of lowflying 
aircraft to smuggle drugs across the Canada-U.S. border.

In testimony before a Senate panel, Customs and Border Protection 
commissioner Alan Bersin said the Canadian data will be sent to the 
U.S. Air and Marine Operations Centre in Riverside, Calif., starting 
in November.

The Canadian data will be used to detect "unlawful entry into the 
United States, unannounced entry," Bersin told reporters following a 
hearing of the Senate judiciary committee on border security. "The 
ability of small aircraft to enter the United States undetected 
presents a multi-faceted threat."

U.S. senators have, for months, been pressing Homeland Security 
Secretary Janet Napolitano to boost surveillance along the 
Canada-U.S. border to combat trafficking of marijuana, 
methamphetamines and other drugs in planes that frequently go 
undetected and land at small American airstrips.

In February, New York Senator Chuck Schumer and a group of other 
northern border lawmakers asked Napolitano to use military-grade 
radar technology to track the low-flying aircraft.

The Canadian radar feeds will be used to help fill the gaps in 
existing U.S. surveillance, Bersin said. For decades, the U.S. and 
Canada have shared radar surveillance data through the North American 
Aerospace Defence Command -Norad.

But Canada has agreed to provide information to the U.S. from "more 
feeds than currently exist," Bersin said.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom