Border Patrol Leaving Security Gates Wide Open

Multiple U.S. Customs and Border Protection bases near the Mexico border have “inoperable” security cameras and other serious security gaps, according to a new federal watchdog report.

The Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General found four border posts where agents live and work for a week at a time that have inoperable cameras, which increases their chances of suffering a security breach.

Some posts also have inadequate access controls, and CBP doesn’t conduct consistent security inspections of the facilities.

“If agents cannot perform this task, the FOB (forward operating base) is more vulnerable to a security breach,” the report said.

The CBP bases are located in important — and often dangerous — places along the U.S.-Mexico border, the IG said. The west Arizona desert area where one base is located is “very active in illegal cross border activity involving aliens and narcotics,” CBP officials noted in their official response to the report.

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But when IG investigators visited one undisclosed site, the gate was open and, they found, the gate is “repeatedly left open.” Regional agency officials asked the CBP’s Facilities Management and Engineering division to fix the security cameras in January 2013.

The request was repeated in August 2014 because the cameras were still broken. The facilities office marked the work order closed in August 2014, but the problem still wasn’t fixed when IG investigators visited in April 2015.

The CBP agreed with the IG’s recommendations to fix cameras, gates and security procedures.

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