Friday, September 7, 2007

GAO: "Modest" Progress on Border Security; Border Patrol: Let's Spend $20-$30 million to Move the Border 30 Miles North

In a "highly critical" report released yesterday by the General Accounting Office (GAO), the Border Patrol is found to be "generally not achieving" 7 out of 12 border security performance expectations. What would any parent do if their child brought home a report card this bad. Unfortunately, the GAO report card is a matter of national security as opposed to penmanship.

The performance expectations in which the GAO identified as "generally not achieved" by the Border Patrol include:
  • Implement a biometric exit system to collect information on border crossers leaving the United States through ports of entry;
  • Implement a strategy to detect and interdict illegal flows of cargo, drugs and other items into the United States;
  • Implement effective security measures in the visa issuance process;
  • Implement initiatives related to the security of certain documents used to enter the United States;
  • Ensure adequate infrastructure and facilities;
  • Leverage technology, personnel, and information to secure the border;
Interestingly, the areas in which Border Patrol "generally achieved" the performance expectations is for developing programs and plans. Where they fall short is implementation.

Concerning the adequate infrastructure performance measure that is not being met, one would think that given the Border Patrol's assertion that interior permanent checkpoints are vital, the GAO would have specifically mentioned this as a reason for not achieving this performance measurement.

Think again.

In fact, GAO does not specifically address interior checkpoints.
Moreover, consistent with its 2005 report on the interior checkpoint, the GAO says that they were "unable to verify implementation" of practices to ensure that capital projects support the agency's strategic goals and identify the mission need and gap between current and required capability.

This GAO finding speaks directly to the need for an independent analysis of whether or not checkpoints are an effective border security tool. The GAO clearly says that the Border Patrol is incapable of making this finding.

Hello Congress?

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