U.S. gets lesson on fighting terror
Jul. 18, 2006. 01:00 AM
Canada is neither a breeding ground nor a safe haven for terrorists, visiting U.S. lawmakers have been told.
Four members of the House homeland security subcommittee on intelligence, information sharing and terrorism risk assessment left Toronto last night after a two-day "fact-finding" mission to learn how Canadian authorities deal with terror threats.
Republicans Rob Simmons of Connecticut and Jim Gibbons of Nevada, along with Democrats Zoe Lofgren of California and Donna Christensen of the U.S. Virgin Islands, learned how Canadian officials thwarted an apparent terrorist plot last month.
`We basically said you have to look at the root causes of these things 'Faisal Kutty, Toronto lawyer
They met with senior officials of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Ontario Provincial Police for technical briefings on the operation that led to the June 2 arrest of 17 suspects in an alleged "homegrown" terrorist cell.
The politicians also spent time with several members of Toronto's Muslim community. Faisal Kutty, vice-chair of the Canadian Council on American Islamic Relations and general counsel for the Canadian Muslim Civil Liberties Association, was among those at a one-hour meeting with the delegation at the Royal York Hotel.
"I went in there to show you can have security concerns, but if you don't (act) within the confines of the rule of law and due process and within a democratic model, you're going to breed more terrorists and not less," said Kutty.
Aides to the members of Congress say they will disclose details of their mission in Washington today.