SEPTEMBER 17, 2010
In the latest exhibit of incompetence by the government agency created to keeping America safe, the Department of Homeland Security has wasted $4 billion on a failed program to install crucial radiation detectors at U.S. border crossings.
Launched a few years ago, the costly effort was supposed to create and install detecting machines to intercept nuclear terrorists attempting to enter the country. The agency’s Domestic Nuclear Detection Office was charged with developing and acquiring the essential equipment that could sniff out nuclear and radiological materials before they made it into the U.S.
But $4 billion later the machines are still not in place, according to a report (Combating Nuclear Smuggling) issued this week by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the investigative arm of congress. Even more shameful is that machines were created but can’t be used because they’re too big for border inspection lanes. Additionally, the software installed in the devices doesn’t work properly.
Here’s another enraging little piece of information; the Homeland Security agency that’s supposed to use the equipment, Customs and Border Protection, had “made it clear” that it did not want the nuclear detecting machines because they would not fit in primary inspection lanes and would slow down the flow of commerce and cause significant delays. No lie. This is actually in the GAO report.
On a positive note, top officials at Janet Napolitano’s Department of Homeland Security admit that they are “mindful of getting something delivered that has credible bases for the implementation plan that follows.” Perhaps some high-ranking government official can translate that into plain English for taxpaying Americans stuck with financing the extravaganza.
In the meantime, lack of nuclear terrorist interceptors aside, the border is “as secure as it has ever been,” according to Napolitano.
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