GAO Exposes Cynicism of Mexico Border Fence
The idea of creating an impermeable high-tech fence that doubles as a panopticon to keep out illegal immigrants has always been the triumph of paranoia over technology, security and pragmatism. According to Jeff Stein, the Government Accountability Office finds that the fence is the Star Wars of border security:
Originally expected to run about 655 miles, the troubled, multibillion-dollar project has now been reduced to a plan for 387 miles, and its designers have lowered its technical standards “to the point that … system performance will be deemed acceptable if it identifies less than 50 percent of items of interest that cross the border.”
“The result,” said the Government Accountability Office in a withering report Thursday afternoon, “is a system that is unlikely to live up to expectations.”
DHS doesn’t even have “a reliable master schedule for delivering” even the “first block of SBInet,” as the Secure Border Initiative is known.
In a rational world, such a finding would be cause to abandon the project — and to reassess the assumptions that led to a scientific flight of fancy. Apparently, that’s the direction the director of the Secure Border Initiative is leaning in. We’ll see what happens when politics intervenes.