Rudy's brilliant new idea: a virtual border fence

Here we go - another tech-clueless politician believes technology will provide a panacea for difficult problems. Rudy Giuiliani says he wants to build a virtual fence to monitor the whole - or at least much of the - US-Mexico border, the AP reports.

Here we go - another tech-clueless politician believes technology will provide a panacea for difficult problems. Rudy Giuiliani says he wants to build a virtual fence to monitor the whole - or at least much of the - US-Mexico border, the AP reports.

The former New York mayor said that while a physical fence is needed in some places, most of the border should be policed with high-tech monitoring. He toured the border Monday along the southernmost tip of Texas with state and local officials.

"And frankly, the virtual fence is more valuable because it alerts you to people approaching the border, it alerts you to people coming over the border," Giuliani said, the Rio Grande in the background.

Didn't we already try this with disastrous results? A year ago, the Post reported on the Bush Administration's efforts at virtual fencing:

The Department of Homeland Security and the former Immigration and Naturalization Service spent $429 million since 1998 on video and remote surveillance on the borders. But nearly half of 489 planned cameras were never installed, 60 percent of sensor alerts are never investigated, 90 percent of the rest are false alarms, and only 1 percent overall resulted in arrests, the Homeland Security inspector general reported in December (2005.)

On April 25 (2006), the Border Patrol's first and only Predator 2 unmanned aerial vehicle crashed outside Tubac, Ariz., seven months after the $6.5 million craft began flights.

And just a few months ago, the AP reported that software glitches have left a section of the virtual fence inoperable:

Because of a software problem, the first high-technology "virtual fence" on the United States' borders remained inoperable this week, three months after its scheduled debut. Michael Chertoff, secretary of homeland security, said he was withholding further payment to the prime contractor, Boeing, until there was success with a pilot project stretching 28 miles, or 45 kilometers, near the border southwest of Tucson.

And yet Giuliani thinks his high-tech will fence "could end illegal immigration within three years," reports AP.

More likely, it will waste even more billions of dollars, paid to defense contractors who are held unaccountable for failure to deliver on undeliverable promises.

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