Fences can be jumped, sure, but at least they don’t have eyes.Their replacement: Blimps. That’s right, surveillance blimps. Combat veteran surveillance blimps at that.
Dion Nissenbaum of The Wall Street Journal reports that the U.S. Military will work in conjunction with Texas law enforcement to test the capabilities and the practicalities of blimp use to watch the border.
It turns out that fences with cameras didn’t provide the comprehensive, wide ranging intelligence border officers needed to adequately address issues such as narco- and human-trafficking, and illegal immigration.
It doesn’t stop at blimps either, but will include a boatload of private contractors and (combat veteran) surveillance drones.
Since the private side of defence has watched foreign government contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan dry to a trickle, they’ve been lobbying hard to operate in stateside functions. The Obama administration has responded with a 3 billion dollar contract which, in part, helps fund contracting operations on the American border and inside Mexico, training Mexican narcotics officers.
Then there’s the matter of the drones … 30,000 of them. That’s right, we reported that up to 30,000 surveillance drones, some repatriated with combat ribbons, could be deployed the continental United States (in case you plan on stealing cows). A portion of these drones will be dedicated to border operations.
Certainly the administration is responding to a great deal of pressure here, from many angles. There’s been a steady hum from the media concerning immigration and illegal drug activity occurring around the border. There’s money involved as well. Some of these drones are already bought and owned, but others have yet to be built, and security firms feeling the pinch will be lobbying hard for a deepened domestic deployment.
Aside from the monetary cost, falling on the taxpayer, also there’s the implication that we’re essentially paying for our own surveillance. Some of these blimps can see for a 100 miles. I don’t know if an illegal immigration issue that’s been more or less measured neutral is worth the cost, both morally and fiscally.
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