Inevitable: DHS scraps "virtual" border fence

I’m surprised. Not that the fence is a disaster — that’s been true since its beginnings during the Bush administration, with exactly five days elapsing between Michael Chertoff proclaiming it ready for installation and this story in WaPo announcing a three-year delay due to technical difficulties. No, the surprise is that DHS would take border security seriously enough that this dismal failure wouldn’t simply be papered over and declared ready for operation as part of the “security” quid pro quo needed to secure the Democrats’ beloved amnesty.

How’s Graham going to sell border enforcement to congressional Republicans as part of the comprehensive package now?

“Not only do we have an obligation to secure our borders, we have a responsibility to do so in the most cost-effective way possible,” Napolitano said in a statement Tuesday. “The system of sensors and cameras along the Southwest border known as SBInet has been plagued with cost overruns and missed deadlines.”

With that in mind, Napolitano is withholding funding for the program’s first deployment until a review she ordered in January is finished. And she’s taking away $50 million in stimulus funds from the Boeing-managed program. Instead, that funding will be put toward “other tested, commercially available security technology along the Southwest border.”…

“But before we go across that border with this – these big towers, SBInet,” she added, “we are going to reevaluate how those technology dollars are used and whether there are other technologies perhaps that have been developed since SBInet was contracted that would be more mobile, better, easier to maintain and easier to operate.”

Thus did a $2 billion contract aimed at completion by 2009 become a $3.7 billion boondoggle with a target completion date of … 2016. I’m sincerely intrigued by the timing here: Why now, when immigration’s actually been back in the news lately, even in the context of the Hispanic Congressional Caucus threatening to walk away from O-Care over funding for illegals? Maybe they figure it’s a good time to bury the news, especially with no one expecting serious movement on amnesty until next year? Hmmm.