GAO employees able to sneak past Border Patrol

Congressional investigators easily snuck into the United States from Canada three times carrying duffel bags simulating smuggled radioactive materials, according to a report released today by the Government Accountability Office.

A fourth illegal crossing by the GAO team was detected by a U.S. resident and reported to the Border Patrol. However, the patrol was “not able to locate our investigators and their simulated contraband,” the GAO report states.

The 13-page report describes the ease with which the investigators were able to simulate illegal entry into the U.S. from Canada. The GAO team did not attempt to enter the country from Mexico, citing safety reasons.

"Our work shows that a determined cross-border violator would likely be able to bring radioactive materials or other contraband undetected into the United States by crossing the U.S.-Canada border at any of the locations we investigated," the GAO report concluded.

The GAO did not identify the four locations along the U.S.-Canada border at which the crossings were made.

The report may draw attention to the Canadian phase of the Bush Administration’s SBInet, in which an electronic surveillance system is to eventually span the northern and southern land borders. Work on the first phase has already begun along a 28-mile section of the Arizona-Mexico border. The southern border alone is expected to cost $8 billion.

The electronic surveillance system is expected to offer numerous contracting opportunities for companies involved in technologies for cameras, radar, sensors, networks, integration software and systems integration.

Alice Lipowicz writes for Washington Technology, an 1105 Government Information Group publication.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

Featured

  • Defense
    concept image of radio communication (DARPA)

    What to look for in DOD's coming spectrum strategy

    Interoperability, integration and JADC2 are likely to figure into an updated electromagnetic spectrum strategy expected soon from the Department of Defense.

  • FCW Perspectives
    data funnel (anttoniart/Shutterstock.com)

    Real-world data management

    The pandemic has put new demands on data teams, but old obstacles are still hindering agency efforts.

Stay Connected