OBAMA STIMULUS REVIVES 'VIRTUAL FENCE'
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Boeing gets $100 million to resume construction of U.S.-Mexican barrier
One of the many unnoticed pet projects included in the massive $787 billion "economic stimulus" plan is $100 million for Boeing Inc. to resume work on the troubled 2006 "virtual fence" Â the $8 billion plan to construct a highly sophisticated electronic barrier along the U.S. southern border with Mexico.
As a result of technical problems, the Department of Homeland Security put the virtual fence project on hold last year, after spending billions to make technology take the place of a physical fence.
In total, DHS built only 28 miles of virtual fence in a pilot project south of Tucson before declaring it be a failure and mothballing the project because of insurmountable technical problems, including rain, according to a Wall Street Journal report published Feb. 23, 2008.
The DHS objected, claiming that even though more virtual fence was not going to be built to extend the 28-mile pilot project south of Tucson, the fiscal year 2009 DHS budget would include $775 million to continue deployment of technology along the border.
The problem with the "virtual fence" is that the complex set of electronic detection devices Boeing wants to put on the border with Mexico will stop virtually no one.
Still, this did not restrain Democrats in the Senate from slipping another $100 million into the plan.
Mark Borkowski, the executive director of the Department of Homeland Security's Secure Border Initiative program told the Wall Street Journal last week that the virtual fence project sill faces significant challenges, among which is the need to tamp down public expectations that technology can solve the nation's problem with illegal immigration and border security.
After getting a new $100 million for Boeing, DHS immediately began promising very little.
"We fell into a message that this technology was going to be a great, God-given gift to border security," Borkowski, the third official to head the virtual fence project for DHS in the last three years, told the Wall Street Journal. "Now we need to do a better job of marketing what it will Â and won't Â be producing."
Borkowski neglected to tell the Wall Street Journal if the $100 million allocated to Boeing to revive the virtual fence project would or would not create any new jobs.
The inclusion of $100 million in the economic stimulus plan strongly suggests that the Obama administration is unwilling to confront Mexico on issues of border security.
WND previously reported that an amendment to the DHS FY 2008 budget submitted by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, and co-sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, effectively gutted the Secure Fence Act of 2006 by removing the requirement to build some 854 miles of a double-layered fence along the U.S. Mexico border.
Instead, the Hutchison amendment allowed the secretary of Homeland Security to use discretion in deciding whether a fence was the most appropriate means to achieve and maintain operational control along the border with Mexico.
WND has also reported the claim by Glenn Spencer, founder of the watchdog group American Border Patrol, that DHS has built fewer than 200 miles of fence along the border with Mexico, not the 526 claimed by DHS and the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.
Moreover, instead of building double-layer fence as originally required by the Secure Fence Act of 2006, much of the fence being built by DHS is a "pedestrian" or "vehicle fence" that Spencer argued "isn't a fence at all and doesn't stop vehicles."
WND noted the U.S. Joint Forces Command has declared in its Joint Operating Environment 2008 report that the two nations marked for "a rapid and sudden collapse" are Mexico, because of the out-of-control drug war, and Pakistan.
WND further reported DHS has developed contingency plans to deploy the U.S. military to protect American citizens in the event the drug war spills across the border.
About Dr. Jerome R. Corsi:
Jerome R. Corsi is a staff reporter for WND. He received a Ph.D. from Harvard University in political science in 1972 and has written many books and articles, including his best-sellers "The Obama Nation" and "The Late Great USA." Other books include "Showdown with Nuclear Iran," "Black Gold Stranglehold: The Myth of Scarcity and the Politics of Oil," which he co-authored with WND columnist Craig. R. Smith, and "Atomic Iran."
About Red Alert:
Jerome Corsi's RED ALERT is your weekly, global financial strategies newsletter. Designed to be your guide to economic trends in the best of times and the worst of times, it is edited by New York Times best-selling author Jerome Corsi, a WND staff writer and columnist. For 25 years, Corsi worked with banks throughout the U.S. and the world developing financial services marketing companies to assist banks in establishing broker/dealers and insurance subsidiaries to provide financial planning products and services to their retail customers. Corsi developed three third-party financial services marketing firms that reached annual gross sales levels of $1 billion in annuities and equal volume in mutual funds. Corsi received his Ph.D. in political science from Harvard University in 1972.
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