Past Features

July 29, 2017

Watchdog group calls on
head of border panel to resign

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Glenn Spencer -- July 29, 2017 (Corrected July 30)
Martha McSally must resign from Congress now
    Congress is about to take up the issue of funding of President Trump's ‘border wall” and he is going to need all the support he can muster. One logical source of that support should be the Republican Chair of the House Border and Maritime Security Subcommittee. Unfortunately, Martha McSally, Chairwoman of that subcommittee, is out of touch with reality and cannot competently argue the President's case. She should resign immediately so Arizona Gov. Ducey can hold a special election. (Corrected)

INTEGRATED FIXED TOWERS
    Consider this exchange at the July 25 hearing of McSally's subcommittee --- IFTs are Integrated Fixed Towers:
    
Chairwoman McSally: Mr. Luck, the deployment of IFTs and some of the other technologies more recently in Arizona, is there any sort of assessment, short term assessment the effectiveness of that, obviously you don't want correlation to equal causality because you don't know whether you're deterring activity, or whether things are shifting to different regions, so do you have any other feedback on how the IFTs and other technologies are working in Arizona?
    
Chief Luck: The reports that I'm getting from the short time that they've been on live with the last towers and IFTs in Douglas, the view sheds and the area they can cover and the workability of those systems are functioning properly, and it's a great asset in those environments.
    Chief Luck failed to mention, and Chairwoman McSally failed to remind him, that eight of those towers in the Coronado National Forest, in Chairwoman McSally's district, have been sitting idle for at least two months pending proper testing.
    This is because a June 12 report by the Trump Administration, cited by the Washington Post, found that Customs and Border Protection had failed to properly evaluate the performance of Integrated Fixed Towers and CBP has been forced to test these systems to see if they really work.
    Is it believable that Chief Luck was unaware of this make-up testing? No. Is it believable that Chairwoman McSally was unaware of this development? No.
    Should Chairwoman McSally have exposed this very serious problem? Yes.
 
   Since February, American Border Patrol, the non-profit on the border, has been posting alarming reports on the ability the Coronado IFT towers ability to detect illegal border crossers.
    It's most recent video, originally posted on July 16, shortened and named "Are the New Border Cameras Blind?”, was posted by the Sierra Vista Herald, one of the largest newspapers in Chairwoman McSally's district, on July 27.
    It seems that many of Chairwoman McSally's constituents are aware of problems with the Integrated Fixed Towers, but it would seem from her line of questioning that she is not.
GROUND SENSORS
    Consider this line of questioning at the hearing:
    
MR. HURD: IF THERE WAS A DETECTION EVENT, DOES THAT INDIVIDUAL AGENT WHO IS PATROLLING THAT PART OF THE SECTOR, DO THEY GET NOTIFICATION THEMSELVES?
    
CHIEF LUCK: YES, THOUGH OUR ICAD SYSTEM,
    
MR. HURD: IS THAT A WALKIE-TALKIE? WHAT IS THE ICAD SYSTEM?
    
CHIEF LUCK: THE ICAD SYSTEM IS A SYSTEM THAT THEY USE IN DISPATCH AND WHEN A SENSOR, AND UNDERGROUND SENSOR GOES OFF, IT WILL AUTOMATICALLY HIT AND THEY WILL CALL IT OUT AND THE AGENT CAN RESPOND TO IT. THAT'S WHAT THEY USE.
    Chairwoman McSally immediately followed this question of Chief Luck, but said nothing to suggest that she was aware that, based on a DHS OIG report, ICAD data showed that USBP ground sensors have a false alarm rate of around 90% and are essentially useless. In other words, she is oblivious to the fact that the technology that Border Patrol uses to detect border instrusions doesn't work - and hasn't for years.
    
My invention that solves this problem was featured on the front page of the Sierra Vista Herald, but Rep. McSally has refused to talk to me about it.
HISTORY OF MISFEASENCE
    These are just but two examples of a long history of misfeasence that include a deliberate effort to avoid discussions of operational control of the border --- the prime border metric.
Chairwoman McSally has consistently demonstrated a lack of knowledge and/or interest in effective border security, or effective border technology, and should resign.


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