Just one year ago, USA Today reported that the Department of Homeland Security announced it was accelerating plans to build a costly and long-troubled “virtual fence” of sensors and cameras along the U.S.-Mexican border, aided by $100 million from the economic stimulus package. That was in addition to the $600 million already spent over a two-year period on the 28-mile “test patch” that was ultimately scrapped. The department, we were told at the time was embarking on what its officials and members of Congress called a “do-over” on the same land near Tucson and another along 30 miles in Ajo, Arizona.
Fast forward to today. Here’s what Janet Napolitano has to say this afternoon: “Not only do we have an obligation to secure our borders, we have a responsibility to do so in the most cost effective way possible. The system of sensors and cameras along the Southwest border known as SBInet has been plagued with cost overruns and missed deadlines. Effective immediately, the Department of Homeland Security will redeploy $50 million of Recovery Act funding originally allocated for the SBInet Block 1 to other tested, commercially available security technology along the Southwest border, including mobile surveillance, thermal imaging devices, ultra-light detection, backscatter units, mobile radios, cameras and laptops for pursuit vehicles, and remote video surveillance system enhancements. Additionally, we are freezing all SBInet funding beyond SBInet Block 1’s initial deployment to the Tucson and Ajo regions until the assessment I ordered in January is completed.”
Arizonans have long known what an ineffective leader and spendthrift Napolitano was as governor. But here, she rejected funding for increased national security. Meanwhile our unsecured and porous southern border poses massive threats to American’s citizens.
Seeing Red AZ covered this debacle two years ago. The president was George W. Bush.