President Barack Obama’s and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s plan to provide new equipment and technology for the U.S. Border Patrol remains on the back-burner with the budgeted money be used to implement the administration’s de facto Amnesty program for over a million illegal aliens, according to Homeland Security Newswire on Tuesday.
The leadership at the National Border Patrol Council — the Border agents’ collective-bargaining organization –continue to complain about their members being stuck with outdated equipment. For example, the alarm sensors now in use were originally said to be able to put Border Patrol agents in position to capture 90 percent of border invaders, but the Department of Homeland Security’s own inspector general reported that a mere 4 percent of the alarms were confirmed cases of smugglers and border crossers, while 34 percent were false, or nuisance, alarms and 62 percent were undetermined.
For example, on Oct. 2, 2012, a false alarm from a ground sensor sent U.S. Border Patrol agents to a remote canyon in Arizona shortly after midnight. For some unknown reason agents opened fire on one another which left one agent dead and another seriously wounded.
According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the purchases have been postponed for a number of reasons including faulty installation and oversight in the acquisitions.
In November 2011, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) determined that Customs and Border Protection technology experts did not determine why specific technologies were necessary under the plan and whether these technologies would be successful, prompting officials to rewrite requirements for the program.
“Newer sensors use seismometers, metal detectors, microphones, and infrared cameras that can determine the difference between animals, humans, and vehicles. These sensors are currently used by the military in Afghanistan, but are not being used by Border Patrol agents,” states the Homeland Security Wire.
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano’s office announced that the Obama administration canceled the ‘Virtual Fence’ project along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The reason for this latest cancellation is the continued technical equipment problems and the rising costs of constructing and installing the components including closed-circuit TV cameras and monitors, electronic detectors, and other security measures.
As reported by in the past by Law Enforcement Examiner, the original border security plan called for a fence and barriers to be used on parts of the U.S.’s southern border, but with the Democrats controlling both houses of Congress and the Bush Administration being weak on border security, the plan switched from a real fence to a virtual fence using high-tech equipment.
Unfortunately, the Department of Homeland Security’s latest failure to protect the United State, was a costly program to place crucial electronic surveillance systems along the U.S.-Mexico border that is years behind schedule. The security project is grossly over budget because Secretary Janet Napolitano’s agency hasn’t adequately managed the contractor doing the work, according to a Washington, DC watchdog group, Judicial Watch.
As a result, hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars will be wasted and the porous southern border will continue to be vulnerable despite the Obama Administration’s assurances that it’s as secure as it’s ever been. So far the troubled project, known as Secure Border Initiative Network, has cost the government $672 million although it’s nowhere near completion, according to Judicial Watch, a public-interest group that investigates political corruption.
The initiative to erect barriers — both electronic and physical — along the U.S. Mexico border has been plagued with a multitude of problems since it was implemented under the George W. Bush Administration. After funding issues got largely settled, some border mayors in Texas blocked the feds from conducting fence work on city property.
Jim Kouri, CPP, is founder and CEO of Kouri Associates, a homeland security, public safety and political consulting firm. He’s formerly Fifth Vice-President, now a Board Member of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, an editor for ConservativeBase.com, and he’s a columnist for Examiner.com. In addition, he’s a blogger for the Cheyenne, Wyoming Fox News Radio affiliate KGAB (www.kgab.com) and editor of Conservative Base Magazine (www.conservativebase.com). Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty.