INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Canada: Mission Perspective On Spp Security Goals

Published: Fri 6 May 2005 08:08 PM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 OTTAWA 001384
SIPDIS
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CA ECON ETRD MX PGOV PREL EWWT SMIG SNAR SOCI
SUBJECT: CANADA: MISSION PERSPECTIVE ON SPP SECURITY GOALS
REF: A. MEXICO 02776 B. OTTAWA 01364
1. SUMMARY: Mission Canada appreciates the opportunity to
comment on the interagency effort under way to identify a
coherent and forward looking security road map for North
America. We must continue to search for security weaknesses
and identify areas where our three countries can strengthen
our effort. As indicated in Ref B, the most logical way
forward will be to consolidate and harmonize a plethora of
existing programs, from multiple-use NEXUS cards to
functional and user-friendly watch lists. We also believe
that SPP should recognize and play off initiatives and
activities that are already successfully underway. For
example, we applaud the idea in the law enforcement goal of
focusing on legal differences that undermine the otherwise
excellent law enforcement cooperation between the US. and
Canada. All Mission elements have discussed the various
security Goal Papers as they have been developed in
Washington over the past two weeks and offer our comments
below. We welcome feedback and discussion on the various
pieces of this mosaic that we have identified and invite
suggestions from any quarter on how we in Mission Canada can
help further the North American Partnership. Comments on the
prosperity side of SPP are being transmitted septel. END
SUMMARY
----------------------------------
GOAL 1: Traveler Security Strategy
------------------------------
2. All of us want to facilitate legitimate trade and travel
to the maximum extent possible while still keeping those who
would do us harm from entering the US. As a result, visa
policy harmonization has been a top priority of both Canada
Immigration and the State Department's Visa Office. In
addition, Post has accorded every effort to convince Canada
to bring into line their visa waiver program with ours.
3. We should all do more to improve the visa screening
process for potential at-risk travelers. Though now down to
two weeks processing time, compared to an average of 75 days
a year ago, more rapid identification and verification of
high-risk individuals through better connectivity is a must
if we are to truly "facilitate" legitimate travel and trade
in today's instant and time sensitive world.
4. One idea worth serious consideration is a continent-wide
NEXUS program that defines and identifies individuals who
pose little or no security or law enforcement risk. The
current NEXUS program could be improved by simplifying the
application process through introducing on-line NEXUS
applications. Also worth exploring is the notion of a single
NEXUS card that would be valid for air, sea and land
crossings. Some cost recovery could be included in the
application process (i.e., for a retina recognition
capability).
-------------------------------
Goal 2: Cargo Security Strategy
-------------------------------
5. Improving/updating PiP, Canada's version of C-TPAT,
should be an objective. PiP, pre-dates 9/11 and thus far
fails to guarantee the security of a manufacturer's/shipper's
chain of supply. Canada could benefit from the lessons
learned in formulating and implementing C-TPAT in the US.
Both the US and Canada would further benefit if PiP and
C-TPAT could be coordinated so that companies would have to
meet one set of standards for both.
-------------------------
Goal 3: Reducing Travel Time
-------------------------
6. The effort to increase participation in FAST should focus
on those locations currently suffering traffic congestion or
likely to in the near future. All construction planned at
border crossings should include in design the fundamental
advantages of FAST and NEXUS dedicated lanes and inspection
booths. Additionally, both the US and Canada should continue
to involve other government regulatory agencies from both
countries in programs such as FAST and C-TPAT to utilize risk
management and expedited reporting methods in order to
improve border crossing facilitation.
------------------------------
Goal 4: Aviation Security Strategy
------------------------------
7. Security for US CBP officials at preclearance sites
remains problematic. It would be better if CATSA security
screeners were to be placed in front of our CBP pre-clearance
personnel at all airports. At six of seven pre-clearance
sites, DHS/CBP inspectors interview US bound passengers
before they are screened by security. This poses a threat to
the security and welfare of our airport CBP staff as they are
exposed to unscreened passengers and baggage.
-------------------------------
Goal 5: Maritime Security Strategy
-------------------------------
8. Keeping criminals and terrorists from reaching our shores
from the high seas is just as important as keeping them from
transiting our land borders. We need a fully integrated
US-Canada Maritime surveillance system to detect problematic
vessels and we need an interdiction capability before suspect
vessels enter US and Canadian ports and seaways. We are
fortunate in that we have willing partners on the Canadian
service side (Canadian Navy, RCMP, and Coast Guard). For
instance, the Canadian Navy authorities at the Trinity
facility in Halifax are making extensive renovations and are
expanding the new Maritime Security Operations Center (MSOC).
This Center will eventually link more closely with US
interagency intelligence analysis centers. Similarly, US
Coast Guard and the RCMP are hoping the US and Canada will
soon sign a Shiprider Protocol which would allow both
services to better carry out their interdiction and arrest
responsibilities in our shared waterways. Nonetheless, there
are old "sovereignty-related" perceptions that need to be
broken down so that these programs can eventually run more
seamlessly. One such "confidence building measure" would be
a program for jointly training maritime search procedures to
US and Canadian officials. Topics such as Confined Space
Training, vessel boarding and searching/rummaging and
underwater remote video inspection could be beneficial and
make consistent our respective efforts.
9. One of the most consistent messages we hear from our
industry contacts is that on the Canadian side of the border,
infrastructure is the major bottleneck. One way to address
this issue may be to develop more fully alternative modes of
transport such as the use of short-sea shipping. Post
recommends the establishment of an interagency working group
tasked with identifying obstacles to investment and activity
in this section. Canada and Mexico would do a similar
internal assessment -- the analysis of which would feed into
a trilateral short-sea shipping working group.
--------------------------------
GOAL 6: LAW ENFORCEMENT STRATEGY
----------------------------
10. On land, Integrated Border Enforcement Teams (IBETs)
have proven essential in the fight against criminals and
terrorists who attempt to cross our land frontier undetected.
Nonetheless, we are concerned about obvious security gaps
along the Canadian-US contiguous border. To ensure that US
and Canadian law enforcement officials can do their jobs, we
believe that air assets should be standard at all IBET
locations. We also think the road ahead necessitates our
implementation of joint, versus the current parallel,
operational deployment of IBET participants in pursuit of
criminals and terrorists. For this to be practicable,
however, there are memoranda of understanding, protocols and
agreements that need to be finalized and implemented. For
instance, the absence of a carriage of arms reciprocal
agreement between the US and Canada has been a stumbling bloc
to more effective Integrated Border Enforcement Team
deployments. The US passed Title 19 legislation in February
2003, and has developed implementation guidelines now being
put in place. Canada has stated that it would be amenable to
offer US law enforcement officers Title 19-like authorities
and exemptions, and this should be pursued.
11. Also of concern is the illegal transshipment of
controlled goods through Canada to proscribed nations. US
exporters are exempt from obtaining Department of State and
Commerce export licenses for some controlled military and
dual use products destined for Canada. However, some
Canadian companies have circumvented Canada's regulations
prohibiting the export of US origin items to sanctioned
nations by falsifying the country of origin on applications
for Canadian Government export permits. To date, the US has
encouraged Canadian authorities to enact new legislation
commensurate with current US prohibitions on the illegal
transshipment of controlled goods to sanctioned nations. We
have initiated partnership with Canadian authorities in an
outreach effort to better educate private companies on issues
associated with the illegal diversion of controlled goods. A
Washington push to move forward on strengthened regulations
and penalties would help convince the Canadians of our
intent.
12. Migrant smuggling and trafficking in persons is an
emotional hot button for many Canadians. Though Canada just
made it into our Tier 1 status after being classified Tier 2
for lack of government action against human traffickers,
there remains much that Ottawa can do to counter what we see
as a growing phenomenon in and through Canada. What we know
for sure is that there are no verifiable numbers to measure
the magnitude of the problem, and despite the RCMP's
establishment of counter-human trafficking task groups, to
date there has been only one arrest of a man accused of
trafficking. There have been no successful prosecutions of
human traffickers in Canada.
13. In response to Washington's efforts to highlight the
issue, the Cross Border Crime Forum tasked US and Canadian
members to prepare a Joint Threat Assessment on Human
Trafficking and by all reports the final document, complete
with recommendations, should be ready by the end of the year.
This is an important first step, but to be effective both
Canadian and US authorities will need to evaluate and where
acceptable, follow through on the Assessment's
recommendations.
----------------------------
GOAL 7: Intelligence Sharing
----------------------------
14. All USG agencies involved in cross border activities
have at least some information gathering or reporting
function. However, the Director of National Intelligence
(DNI) has responsibility and oversight of all intelligence
coordination and activities conducted overseas. The structure
and mechanisms called for in the new US intelligence
legislation still need to be worked out, and it is imperative
the USG avoid confusion that would result from a duplication
of effort.
15. The law enforcement subgroup of the Cross Border Crime
Forum has been working steadfastly for years to streamline
other mechanisms to enhance the effectiveness of intelligence
information sharing between US and Canadian Government law
enforcement and justice authorities. Of note, the series of
Joint Threat Assessments on Organized Crime, Drug
Trafficking, Identity Theft and Firearms Trafficking have
been significant instruments through which previously not, or
poorly shared information has been documented by both
nations' law enforcement and justice authorities. As noted
above, a Joint Trafficking in Persons Threat Assessment is
being prepared and should be published by the end of the
year. Additionally, we understand that a new Threat
Assessment on Counterfeit Goods is being considered. It
already has high level Canadian endorsement. These documents
form an urgently needed foundation for comprehensive strategy
development by US and Canadian law enforcement authorities
and could be expanded to include a wider range of agency
stakeholders from both sides of the border. The eventual
usefulness however, will measured by the willingness of both
nation's authorities to endorse and pursue the Assessments'
agreed upon recommendations.
16. Nonetheless, currency smuggling is an issue that Mission
components feel still needs immediate attention. US and
Canadian law requires negotiable instruments at or over
10,000 dollars (both Canadian and US) be declared at ports of
entry, both inbound and outbound. Canada Border Security
Agency (CBSA) is charged with the border enforcement of the
reporting requirement in Canada on behalf of the Financial
Transactions Reports Analysis Center of Canada (FINTRAC),
which reviews incoming reports for potential action by law
enforcement. Currently, FINTRAC is attempting to implement a
72-hour information turnaround which does little to enable US
or Canadian authorities at the border points of entry to
investigate or arrest suspects involved in money smuggling at
the actual time of entry/departure. Though, Canada is
expected to enact legislative changes by January 2006 that
would allow for a more direct sharing of seizure data and
intelligence between US and Canadian authorities along the
contiguous US-Canada border. Unless the transfer of data is
immediate, criminals and possibly terrorists will continue to
transport negotiable financial instruments between the US and
Canada with relative impunity.
17. More broadly, there is a need for more useful
information sharing between US and Canadian law enforcement
officials in situations where no formal joint or cross border
investigations are in place or where standing provisions for
Mutual Legal Assistance do not apply. Impediments to
investigations, arrests and prosecutions resulting from
Canada's more stringent Privacy Act requirements plague US
law enforcement and Justice officials. Bringing Canada's
"reason to believe" standard more in line with our "reason to
suspect" standard should be done. It will require high level
attention.
-------------------
Goal 8: BioProtection
-------------------
18. Post believes that all the objectives under the
BioProtection Strategy are presently being addressed
utilizing various fora established in existing treaties,
memoranda of understandings, trade agreement, and through
declarations by international standard setting bodies. Key
to meeting the timeframes being set in the SPP is a strong
buy-in by pertinent federal/state-provincial and local
agencies.
-------------------------------------
GOAL 9: Protection Prevention and Response
-------------------------------------
19. Though more can be done, Canadian and US authorities
already cooperate on emergency management, both formally and
informally. For instance, both TOPOFF II and TOPOFF III
provided valuable insight into how prepared Canada and the US
are to respond effectively to a mass causality event. To
further hone skills and expose deficiencies, we hope Canada
will continue to participate with the US and others, and
indeed expand their gaming to include wider provincial and
local jurisdictions. Obviously, the ultimate goal will be to
correct deficiencies and make stronger and better our
collective ability to respond. We say this, noting that
there are many state/provincial and local jurisdictions that
have in place a wide-range of cross border local emergency
response assistance agreements.
20. We also believe that the US's Center for Disease Control
and Health Canada have been and continue to be close and
active partners, a relationship between experts that should
assist US and Canadian efforts to identify, isolate and
eventually eliminate threats posed by infectious diseases.
One possible area that may help both the US and Canada more
quickly and effectively respond to a mass casualty event or
possible pandemic would be to investigate whether or not a
harmonization of medical professional licensing requirements
could be done. Post recognizes the such an effort would have
significant repercussions on medical standards and practices
in both the US and Canada, but if an event occurs that
necessitates a "good Samaritan" response, affected residents
on both sides of the border could be helped more quickly if
both governments allow the pre-positioning of
license/certification data in each other's jurisdictions.
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