Auditors Blast DHS' $1.5 Billion Border Plan

November 7, 2011

Federal auditors slammed a $1.5 billion border security program expected to replace a failed virtual fence in Arizona that already has cost taxpayers $1 billion.

Plans for a follow-on to the now-defunct Secure Border Initiative network don't include a believable price estimate and fail to document the rationale for the new strategy in case officials later want to reassess the program, according to a Government Accountability Office report released Friday afternoon.

Customs and Border Protection "has not yet demonstrated the effectiveness and suitability of its new approach for deploying surveillance technology in Arizona," wrote Richard Stana, the report's author and GAO director for homeland security and justice issues. The purpose of the program is to monitor the southwest border for signs of drug smuggling, illegal immigration, terrorism and other criminal activity. "By taking steps to document how, where, and why it plans to deploy specific combinations of technology prior to its acquisition and deployment, CBP could be better positioned to minimize performance risks," he added. 

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