April 3, 2013
The sequestration hype reached a fever pitch last week when the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced Border Patrol agents would leave the U.S./Mexico border unattended for hours during shift changes. Fortunately numerous Border Patrol agents spoke up and the brass at DHS reversed their decision to furlough the nation’s border protectors.
The dramatic about face left the media wondering where DHS got the extra money required to patrol the porous southern borders, a rainy day fund? Perhaps, but it appears DHS is holding a yard sale on eBay.
After spending billions of taxpayer dollars on a high-tech virtual fence, it appears that DHS is looking to recoup some of the costs through an online reseller on eBay. Here is the link for 11 of the SBInet camera systems available for purchase for the low price of $100,000.
The eBay posting claims the cameras on the auction block were actually used along the U.S./Mexico border. A disclaimer notes that non-citizens will not be able to purchase the high-tech cameras and the seller will not ship the equipment outside the U.S. However, the seller doesn’t disclose what kind of proof of citizenship will be required to accompany the $100,000 asking price.
Back in 2010 Senate hearings placed the virtual fence in the spotlight. “This border fence issue has been a waste of billions of dollars,” said Senator John McCain (R-AZ), who asked DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano the reason for the yet to be completed project. Her response was extremely telling regarding SBInet’s fate. “Every major deadline has not been satisfied and I am not satisfied with SBInet,” she replied in a March 2010 article by this reporter.
When SBInet was first deployed to the southern border, the system’s inability to respond to intruders prompted a hard-hitting CBS 60 Minutes story.
It was reported that SBInet had numerous technical issues, eventually, and very quietly the cameras began to get tuned in and were working well at detecting smuggling traffic. Another beef with the billion dollar virtual fence surveillance program was the location of the towers, some of the cameras were deployed 15 miles or more north of the international border, leaving ranchers and American citizens in the path of armed drug smugglers and rip crew bandits.
Perhaps, the Department of Defense could look into eBay to sell unused equipment in an effort to buy gas for the USS Truman, the US aircraft carrier that postponed its Middle East deployment due to sequestration.
DHS did not respond to an inquiry regarding the sale of government equipment outside normal reselling contractors that usually monitor sensitive government technology.
© Copyright 2013 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.