Past Features

October 8, 2017

Border expert calls on
politicians to resign

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Glenn Spencer -- October 8, 2017  
John McCain and Martha McSally should resign
It is a no-brainer
    
On January 12, 2017, Senator John McCain issued a press release on his Senate Web site:
"MCCAIN AND MCSALLY INTRODUCE LEGISLATION TO IMPROVE BORDER SECURITY OPERATIONS"
    Washington, D.C. ­-- U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and Representative Martha McSally (R-AZ) today reintroduced in the Senate and House, respectively, the Border Security Technology Accountability Act. The legislation would improve the management and accountability of Department of Homeland Security border technology acquisition programs, which numerous reports have concluded are at “high-risk” for waste, fraud and abuse.
    "New technologies such as video and radar surveillance are critical to securing our borders," said Senator McCain. "However, widespread mismanagement and a lack of accountability within our federal bureaucracy has prevented us from using these technologies to stop illegal immigration..."
    "This bill is a no-brainer. These important accountability tools should be standard practice across the federal government to ensure taxpayer dollars are used as efficiently as possible," said Rep. McSally, Chairwoman of the House Border and Maritime Security Subcommittee. 
   My analysis shows that the only "New technologies such as video and radar surveillance” to which the press release could have been referring is the Integrated Fixed Tower project.
    As to the “numerous reports” to which the release refers, I would include American Border Patrol's report of September 13, 2015:
    "We encourage Congress and the Governmental Accountability Office to take a close look at the acceptance testing of these Integrated Fixed Towers to make sure they are evaluated using measures of the degree to which they assist in establishing operational control of the border.
    On June 12, 2017 the DHS Office of Inspector General issued a special report:
   
 In March 2014, GAO reported that CBP's Test and Evaluation Master Plan only described testing to determine the Integrated Fixed Tower's mission contribution but did not include testing operational effectiveness and suitability, which specifically identifies how effective and reliable a system is in meeting its operational requirements in its intended environment. [...]
    Prior reports have shown that although CBP has implemented many new programs to address border security issues, it has struggled to develop measures of effectiveness.

    The evidence will show that, as of January 12, 2017, Sen. John McCain and Rep. Martha McSally could have known - and should have known - that the Integrated Fixed Tower system being used by CBP at Nogales, although certified as meeting operational requirements, failed to meet those requirements, and thus "has prevented us from using these technologies to stop illegal immigration....”
    The evidence will also show that the "Border Security Technology Accountability Act” introduced on January 12, 2017, saw Senate action on October 4, 2017, only after it became clear to McCain and McSally that new tests of the Integrated Fixed Tower system initiated by the Trump administration would prove to the public that the Integrated Fixed Tower system failed to meet operational requirements.
    Senator McCain and Representative McSally should spare the public the pain of a protracted investigation and resign now.
    It is a no-brainer.

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