That old Valentine’s Day promise resurfaces: “Trust me, honey”
Homeland Insecurity Secretary Michael Chertoff visited last week and declared that a high-tech “virtual fence” along the Arizona /Mexico border near Sasabe “looks good.”
The problem-plagued 28-mile system of cameras and sensors, proposed to relay live data to border agents, had been beset by technical malfunctions since contractor Boeing Corp. began work. The glitches postponed the fence’s planned introduction last June.
Chertoff told the House Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday that the government has conditionally accepted the $20 million job and that his team is conducting final reviews of the work. The committee has a hearing set for Feb. 27 on the project’s status.
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D. Miss) said he is skeptical that the virtual fence actually works the way it is supposed to.
Thompson, who chairs the House committee that oversees the department, said in a statement, “A poorly structured contract that prevented the line Border Patrol agents from pointing out obvious flaws, combined with over-reliance on contractors, has resulted in a system that has been described as providing at best ‘marginal’ functionality.”
Predictably, Homeland Security officials did not say when the fence will be in use.