KIRO TV, Seattle -- January 4, 2003
You are paying more than you should for a high-tech border security system along the Canadian border that doesn't work very well. Tonight our investigative reporting team headed by Chris Halsne reveals what the federal government wants to keep a secret.

 
CHRIS HALSNE: Steve we have discovered that a series of computers and cameras that are supposed to stop terrorists and drug smugglers from entering the U.S. malfunctioned on a regular basis. What we've uncovered has grabbed the attention of both Congress and the Department of Justice.

HALSNE: In theory, these lenses, aimed at a rural stretch of the U.S./Canadian border create an impenetrable shield. Thirty-two cameras that see miles in the dark aren't supposed to miss any movement. However an exclusive six-month KIRO Team 7 investigation discovered massive deficiencies in the system.

 
CAREY JAMES (RETIRED BORDER PATROL CHIEF):
Well it's a threat to the national security if this information isn't made available.

 
HALSNE: Retired Border Patrol Chief Carey James says Remote Video Surveillance, or RDS, was a great idea in the beginning, but bureaucratic meddling from Washington, D.C. ruined its chances of succeeding.

 
JAMES: I will have a little trouble sleeping at night and I think all of us should be a little bit worried.

 
HALSNE: We obtained these documents which revealed hundreds of specific daily breakdowns of RVS near Blaine. "All cameras controls not working 95% of the time." And "It's another warm day and again the cameras are not responding."
The system was supposed to be a five million dollar pilot, but its already ballooned to eight million and counting.

 
CAREY JAMES: We continually pour money into these systems and people are not held accountable and responsible.

 
HALSNE: A one-hundred page report file deep inside INS headquarters in Washington, D.C., says it will take millions more to fix the equipment. KIRO Team 7 investigators were denied the report under homeland security measures. They said that it would cause the Government harm and that camera failure rates were sensitive but unclassified papers.

U.S. SENATOR MARIA CANTWELL (D-WA): We've requested a copy of this report that you brought to our attention.  
HALSNE: U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell has been a big supporter of funding more agents and more technology along Washington's border. CANTWELL: Well we need accountability by the INS and we need accountability by the individual contractor of the technology. We need to give border agents the tools that they need to do their job.

HALSNE: Our investigation discovered that the main contractor on this camera project is a company International Microwave Corporation, or IMC. The company's vice president, as it turns out, is the daughter of a Texas congressman, Sylvester Reyes. IMC recently received a two hundred million dollar no-bid contract from the Department of Justice to install security systems along every U.S. border. Congressman Reyes tells me he did not exert influence on behalf of his daughter's company.


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