U.S. security on Canada border lacking: watchdog

Tue Feb 1, 2011 7:39pm EST
 
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Fewer than one in every 100 miles of the U.S. border with Canada is adequately secured, a government watchdog agency said on Tuesday.

The study by the Government Accountability Office said just 32 miles of the nearly 4,000-mile northern border "reached an acceptable level of security" last year, according to the Border Patrol's assessment.

The GAO, which is the investigative arm of Congress, also noted "a high reliance on law enforcement support from outside the border zone."

The Obama administration has been under intense pressure to beef up security on the nearly 2,000-mile southwest border with Mexico, to prevent spillover from raging drug cartel violence in Mexico and to stem an influx of illegal immigrants.

However, the report flagged what it said was a higher "terrorist threat" on the northern border "given the large expanse of area with limited law enforcement coverage."

It also noted drug, cash, weapons and human smuggling networks operating across the northern frontier.

The study urged greater government oversight and coordination between the Department of Homeland Security and its partnering agencies on the border.

(Reporting by Tim Gaynor; Editing by Jerry Norton)