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At today’s White House press briefing, presidential press secretary Scott McClellan appeared unaware that Army personnel are now assisting the Border Patrol in New Mexico, referring WND’s question about it to the Northern Command.

The Army Times reported that armored vehicles from a reconnaissance squadron based in Fort Lewis, Wash., were stationed along a 20-mile stretch of the southern border, watching for illegal aliens.

Asked WND: “Why is the commander in chief using the U.S. Army, after telling us that 2,000 new Border Patrol agents approved by Congress for this year weren’t needed?”

“The president just signed legislation that added a significant number of Border Patrol agents to help with our security along the border region,” McClellan responded.

“But he approves the use of the Army?” asked WND.

“Well, we need to continue to take steps to strengthen our borders and make sure that we enforce our borders. The president made that very clear in remarks last week. In terms of any support you’re talking about from military, I think those are questions you need to direct to Northern Command. I’m not aware of any specific matters like that.”

McClellan explained that Northern Command is responsible for homeland security from the military standpoint.

The Bush administration’s policy has been not to use military personnel in helping to secure the nation’s borders despite calls to do so from some immigration activists and commentators.

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