The Department of Homeland Security nearly spent billions of dollars to try and create a “virtual fence” at the border under President Bush.
It didn’t work and the project was quickly killed off and deemed a disaster.
However, now Democrats, desperate for any alternative to President Trump’s physical wall, are resurrecting the idea.
Back in 2010 the New York Times reported on the “virtual border security.”
It is past time to pull the plug on the “virtual fence” that the federal government has been trying to erect on the border with Mexico. The Secure Border Initiative Network — a series of towers with radar and cameras that is supposed to spot trespassers along most of the 2,000 miles of border — is a costly failure.
The $7.6 billion project (that was the original estimate) was championed by President George W. Bush in 2006 and initially embraced by President Obama.
The supposedly whiz-bang technology was plagued from the start by software bugs. Sensors and alarms were stymied by tumbleweeds and high winds. The cost kept rising and the delivery date kept slipping. Four years after being introduced — and with more than $1 billion already spent — barely 50 miles of the border has been covered.
Even CNN called the “virtual border” fence a “disaster.”
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The Department of Homeland Security spent seven years and more than $1 billion trying to create a wall of technology at the border — or, as President George W. Bush called it, a “virtual fence.” It was a bust.
Now the idea has returned as the main ante for congressional Democrats in the border security spending fight. Opposed to President Trump’s physical barriers, they say drones, sensors and other electronics are all the tools needed — a “technological wall,” in the words of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat.
The Obama administration in 2011 pulled the plug on the Bush-era Secure Border Initiative Network, or SBINet, which was envisioned as an integrated system of radar, sensors and video cameras along the entire U.S.-Mexico border.
Democrats at the time cheered the decision to cancel the contract with Boeing for the long-troubled program.
Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat who was the ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee, called SBINet a “grave and expensive disappointment” for squandering a little more than $1 billion to achieve just 53 miles of coverage on the border in Arizona.
Mr. Thompson, who now chairs the committee, said last week that he is ready to try again rather than spend on Mr. Trump’s corrugated steel fence.