Border walls won’t work, they say. We don’t need a fence, they say. It only takes electronic surveillance, they say. We can secure the border with enhanced electronic monitoring, they say. Well here’s a clear $360,000,000.00 chink in that argument…..
Oh, and they want to waste $443 million more – (via Judicial Watch) Drones used by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to “guard” the U.S. border for nearly a decade are ineffective even though the agency has blown hundreds of millions of dollars on the failed program and wants Congress to keep funding it.
It’s yet another example of what government does best; waste money. In this case the frontline DHS agency—U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP)—that operates the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAC) is actually requesting more money from Congress to keep the futile drone experiment going. Imagine a private business that for years blew huge sums on a failed enterprise asking investors to pour more cash into the same useless project.
That’s pretty much what DHS is doing and the details are offered in an audit published this month by the agency’s inspector general. The Border Patrol has used drones for around eight years, the audit reveals, at a cost of about $360 million. In fiscal year 2013 alone the agency spent $62.5 million to operate the program, or about $12,255 per hour.
It gets better. DHS has lied about the cost of operating the drones, the inspector general writes in its report, by drastically downplaying the real figures. The “calculation of $2,468 per flight hour does not include operating costs, such as the costs of pilots, equipment, and overhead,” the report says. “By not including all operating costs, CBP also cannot accurately assess the program’s cost effectiveness or make informed decisions about program expansion.”
The inspector general goes on to blast the agency for its deceiving accounting practices involving drones. “In addition, unless CBP fully discloses all operating costs, Congress and the public are unaware of all the resources committed to the Unmanned Aircraft System program. As a result, CBP has invested significant funds in a program that has not achieved the expected results, and it cannot demonstrate how much the program has improved border security.” It’s a diplomatic way of saying our Homeland Security officials are embroiled in corrupt acts or, at the very least, misuse of public funds.
When CBP launched its drone program, it anticipated that there would be increased apprehensions of illegal border crossers, a reduction in border surveillance costs and improvement in the agency’s efficiency.
The inspector general found that none of this has materialized. In fact, drone surveillance has been credited with assisting in less than 2% of CBP apprehensions of illegal border crossers. “CBP also planned to use unmanned aircraft to operate a radar sensor over the southwest border to increase awareness and analyze surveillance gaps, but sensor operations have been limited,” the report says. “In addition, the unmanned aircraft do not operate along the entire southwest border as has been reported.” (read more)