Great Seal logo Patterns of Global Terrorism: 1999

North America Overview

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International terrorist attacks in North America are relatively rare. In 1999 the United States and Canada cooperated in investigating a noteworthy incident involving the smuggling of explosives from Canada into Washington State.

In mid-December, U.S. authorities arrested Ahmed Ressam, an Algerian national, as he entered the United States from Canada at Port Angeles, Washington. The vehicle he was driving was carrying explosives and detonating devices. The Government of Canada cooperated closely in the follow-up investigation into Ressam's activities and associates in Canada. Some Algerians arrested in connection with this case apparently are "Afghan alumni," who trained with the mujahidin in Afghanistan and are linked to Usama Bin Ladin. Canada has a longstanding cooperative relationship with the United States on counterterrorist matters, and the two countries meet regularly to discuss ways to enhance this cooperation and improve border security.

While a potentially serious incident was avoided with Ressam's arrest, at yearend both Canada and the United States remained concerned about the possibility of a heightened threat of terrorism in North America, and the two countries were exploring new mechanisms for exchanging information on individuals with links to terrorism.

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