Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Smart Fence

JunkYardBlog reported Sen. Hillary! is all over the immigration issue, and by that I mean that she’s on all sides of it, pretty much all the time. Is she against illegal immigrants, as she once said, or is she against criminalizing Jesus, as she said more recently? Is she for a wall or against it? Amnesty? She’s a Clinton, so getting a straight answer isn’t easy or usually even worth the effort, since she and Bill switch positions at the drop of a poll.

However, something she said about building a “smart fence” along the border intrigued me:

As for how to stem the tide of illegal immigrants, “A physical structure is obviously important,” she said. “A wall in certain areas would be appropriate,” as long as it was not a “dumb wall” that could be scaled or tunneled.
A dumb wall would be a heck of a lot more than we have now.
Advocating “smart fencing,” she added, “There is technology that would be in the fence that could spot people coming from 250 or 300 yards away and signal patrol agents who could respond.”
Is she going to put the fence 300 yards inside the US? Otherwise why should they respond while they were in Mexico. How about two dumb fences 300 yards apart, with regular patrols between the fences.
She also talked of using drones and infrared cameras and, when asked, agreed that Israel’s anti-terror wall, which she has seen, might help guide the U.S.
So she’s for the Israeli wall? Interesting. As for the “smart fence,” there is such a thing. The most famous secret air base in the world, called either Area 51 or Groom Lake, is surrounded by such a fence. Yes, Area 51 is a real place. I’ve stood outside its perimeter myself. And no, I have no idea what goes on inside the fence.
Does it keep aliens in, or out???
It’s not actually a fence, but layered security that allows wildlife to pass through but detects and responds to human incursion. I suppose you could test its accuracy by wearing a cow suit to see how far you’d get, but I doubt you’d get far and you probably wouldn’t like what happened when your ruse fell apart. There are infrared and, I assume, visible light cameras every few dozen yards along this “fence,” and there are security personnel positioned at strategic passes and draws who can get to nearly any area of the fence within a few minutes. And the perimeter is monitored by various aircraft as well. Whatever they’re doing in there, or whatever they want people to think they’re doing in there that they’re actually doing somewhere else, they don’t want you or me to find out.

It’s a very effective system. Area 51 hasn’t been breached, or if it has no one’s told the tale. It’s also very very expensive. Perhaps Mrs. Clinton is serious about border security and wants to apply the Area 51 technology or a lite version of it to our borders. If so, good for her. But the cynic in me suspects that she’s promoting a hideously expensive alternative to the “dumb fence” as an effort to look tough while supporting a program that will cost too much and therefore never be built.
Maybe she has some friends that build smart fences

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