Past Features

September 30, 2017

Aerial Survey: Sixteen border radar
camera towers sit unused
$300 million wasted?

Images of Integrated Fixed Tower TCA-DGL-0364.
Sept. 29, 2017: Taken by Hermes drone.
Dec. 10, 2016: From Google Earth
Glenn Spencer -- September 30, 2017  
Where is Bob Ortega when we need him?
    An aerial survey of Integrated Fixed Towers east of Douglas, Arizona, provides strong evidence that the IFTs are not operational --- not being used.
    For example, at one of the towers --- TCA-DGL-0364 --- a U.S. Border Patrol mobile radar truck could be seen, along with a BP vehicle which usually accompanies the mobile unit to provide “force protection” for the radar operator. A mobile radar unit should not be necessary if the radar on the tower is operational.
    I did the Sept. 29 survey with ABP's Hermes drone. I drove up to four of the towers, launched Hermes which looked right into the cameras atop the towers. They didn't move. A similar survey of IFTs in and near the Coronado National Forest found three of the units to be quiet as well.
    A look at Google Earth found that the most recent image for this area --- taken on Dec. 10, 2016 --- shows a tower in place at DGL-0364's location. It is not certain if the radar and cameras were installed at that time, but it is safe to assume they were available to be installed.
    The evidence is clear that sixteen IFT systems --- costing $20 million each --- have been sitting idle for some time - one for nine months. It is also safe to assume that they have not been made operational pending testing which DHS/CBP had failed to do.
    So we have $300 million worth of border technology --- all in Rep. Martha McSally's district --- sitting idle --- not doing the job we paid for.
    American Border Patrol has been reporting on this problem since February.
    With the exception of a video posted by the Sierra Vista Herald "Are the new border cameras blind?" the mainstream media have ignored this issue.
    Two years ago the Arizona Republic ran an excellent piece investigating the Predator drone used by Customs and Border Protection.
    My question is: Why doesn't the Arizona Republic look into the Integrated Fixed Tower fiasco? Where is Bob Ortega when we need him?