Past Features

July 28, 2017

House panel ignores
border tech problems

Glenn Spencer -- July 28, 2017
Out of touch with reality
    Every one of the witnesses at a July 25 House hearing on border technology knew that the most expensive technology now being deployed on the border - Integrated Fixed Towers IFTs - was in trouble. They all knew that of the fifteen IFT towers that had been deployed, eight are sitting idle.
    Why are they idle? Because the Trump Administration had just issue a report that the IFTs had never been properly tested, and a non-profit watchdog group, American Border Patrol, had raised serious doubts about them.
    To make matters worse, the Integrated Fixed Towers in question are in the district of Subcommittee Chairwoman, Rep. Martha McSally.
    Last year, Chairwoman McSally held another hearing on border technology, during which she said: "But as far as I can tell, the only procurement that is working well and on budget is the Integrated Fixed Tower program, located principally in my district..."
    One of the witnesses at this hearing reported that testing of the towers in Chairwoman McSally's district was being delayed until September.
    Yet, Chairwoman McSally failed to ask why there was a delay, or even why additional testing was needed, since this was not done for seven IFT towers installed near Nogales.
    Yesterday, the Sierra Vista Herald, one of the largest newspapers in Chairwoman McSally's district, posted an ABP video on its Home page:
    Are the New Border Cameras Blind?
    This is not the first time the Herald had reported on ABP's concerns about the IFT's --- the first being late last year.
     At one point, one of the experts suggested that the IFTs could tell the difference between humans and a rabbit --- he should have known that they were undergoing testing to learn what they could see.
    Chairwoman McSally is well aware of the serious problems with the IFTs, but, rather than calling witnesses who would be allowed to shed light on the problems, she sat and listened to government "experts" who failed to address the real issues --- no doubt, as McSally had to know, because they were not allowed to speak the truth.
    The person who chairs the House of Representative's subcommittee on the border may be out of touch with reality --- but that is nothing unusual in the Washington D.C. swamp.