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DHS official: Virtual border fence a ‘complete failure’
April 21, 2010
The Homeland Security Department today said its virtual border fence has been a “complete failure,” and is trying to figure out how to proceed on the troubled $2 billion project.
Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Alan Bersin told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee that some individual pieces of surveillance technology in the SBInet program have worked. But integrating them together into a comprehensive system — which was to be the heart of the SBInet program — has proven to be more complicated than current technology can handle, Bersin said.
“I wouldn’t say that theoretically, at some point, we couldn’t have the kind of sophisticated technological integration that SBInet originally projected,” Bersin said. “But in the near term, wholesale integration is not a goal that is practicable,” Bersin said.
Bersin would not say whether Homeland Security would cancel the contract.
Homeland Security hired Boeing in 2006 to install thousands of video and infrared cameras, radars and ground sensors to provide constant surveillance along the Southwest border. Computers and software were meant to combine that information to produce a real-time picture of smugglers and migrants.
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