Border Camera System Blasted

Another huge waste of funds....the camera system covering the Mexico and Canadian borders:

Members of Congress yesterday denounced a $239 million camera system installed on the Mexican and Canadian borders as a scandal and an embarrassment, citing defective equipment, rampant overcharging by contractors and a failure by the U.S. Border Patrol and other government officials to properly oversee it.

"What we have here, plain and simple, is a case of gross mismanagement of a multimillion-dollar contract," Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), chairman of the House Homeland Security subcommittee on management, said at a hearing yesterday. "Worst of all, it's seriously weakened our border security."

The ISIS cameras (Border Patrol's Integrated Surveillance Intelligence System )took seven years to install. The contract went to International Microwave Corp.

"Chronic inattention" by officials of the Border Patrol and the General Services Administration helped cause the problems....Many of the ISIS cameras, which were placed on 50- to 80-foot poles by the contractor, International Microwave Corp. (IMC), break down frequently. The wiring of cameras on Canada's border with Washington was so poor that many cameras there often swivel uncontrollably in hot weather. Some pieces of uninstalled equipment were found in the Arizona desert.

So, have we learned from the lesson? Apparently not. Look's what's in the works:

The Department of Homeland Security [is set to] launch a planned $2.5 billion follow-on program, America's Shield Initiative (ASI).

Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff is said to be rethinking the project. Good idea.

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    Re: Border Camera System Blasted (none / 0) (#1)
    by Che's Lounge on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:00:08 PM EST
    IMC is owned by L3 communications, one of the largest defense contractors in th US. L3, along with a consortium of other contractors, is increasingly assuming more of our defense infrastructure support. they care not whether we are safe. They care only about their open ended contracts on our tax tab. DHS conveniently leaves us holding the bag by stating that this program was initiated prior to the inception of DHS and so they have no involvement in the issue. That's reassuring. Are we safer? Are you kidding me?

    Re: Border Camera System Blasted (none / 0) (#2)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:00:09 PM EST
    Are we safer? But, but, but...we're turning the corner. We're turning the corner! We've turned the corner!!

    Re: Border Camera System Blasted (none / 0) (#3)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:00:09 PM EST
    Sorry to be crude, but all I can think of is to ask... "Can you feel them ramming it just a little further up your you-know-what? Now squeal like you love it. Louder"!

    Re: Border Camera System Blasted (none / 0) (#4)
    by ppjakajim on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:00:09 PM EST
    et al - New systems and new technologies usually don't work well the first few times out, and new military type systems/products typically initally have a very low mass market potential. So costs are out of sight. Of course, as time goes on, things change. Consider. The first 100 drinks of TANG by NASA probably cost a cool million bucks. And then there is something called The Internet. (You never knew that Algore worked in national defense, did you?)

    Re: Border Camera System Blasted (none / 0) (#5)
    by Jlvngstn on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:00:09 PM EST
    As long as we are speaking of waste... The DoD Money Pit Last week, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report [PDF] showing that between 2002-2004, the Department of Defense declared $33 BILLION worth of purchased goods to be "excess" - materials it didn't need or didn't end up using. Not only did DoD accumulate a surplus of materials about half the size of the total budget of the Department of Education or the Department of Health and Human Services, but it also lost weapons critical to our national security, and bought duplicates of materials that it had thrown away. From the HUFFINGTONREPORT

    Re: Border Camera System Blasted (none / 0) (#6)
    by roy on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:00:10 PM EST
    Maybe instead of the Minutemen with their cell phones, we should just put a bunch of film students down along the border with laptops and web cams. And if any film wins a major award, the aliens caught on tape get green cards, to encourage people to illegally enter the U.S. with style.

    Re: Border Camera System Blasted (none / 0) (#7)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:00:10 PM EST
    So, if you contract with Joe Dipwad to build a house for you, and he misappropriates funds, uses substandard materials, and puts the basement on the second floor, that proves that people shouldn't live in houses? Cameras, drones, and sensors on the border are a great idea, but just because there might have been fraud involved doesn't mean they're a bad idea, it just means we need to be careful about who we hire. Note that one of the people involved in this is the daughter of Sylvester Reyes (D-TX).