Wednesday, August 26, 2009

BORDER BEAT: Appropriations for Wall & Databases

Notes from Scott Nicol of
No Border Wall

The biggest news is that Congress is on the verge of approving more [appropriations for the Border Wall Fence]. The Senate version of the DHS appropriations bill has more (lots more!) border walls, while the House version does not. If it is not stripped in conference Boeing and Kiewit will be set to make billions of $ more. Ciro Rodriguez is on the conference committee, but it is hard to tell if he has the strength to stand up and demand that the Senate's wall-building amendment be stripped.

Also, thousands of pages of FOIA requested documents on the wall were released (heavily redacted) online. Check out

From Scott Henson's

$33 million for TDEX

Steve McCraw [BTC- McCraw is Texas Governor Perry's appointed DPS agency head; who is also Texas State head of DHS. No insider trading there, right?] also used the commission meeting to promote spending $4.1 million in asset forfeiture funds on the TDEX database - Texas' version of a Total Information Awareness intelligence system that's been one of the Governor's principle homeland security hobby horses. The $4.1 million makes up for a program shortfall experienced in the last biennium, said McCraw, who added that the Lege put up $12 million for the next biennium and the Governor's Criminal Justice Division would spend another $17 million in grants on the project for a total of $33 million over the next two years.

McCraw called TDEX a "great investment for our department," but Commissioner Carin Barth pointed out that spending money on TDEX meant the asset forfeiture money couldn't go for other priorities like Tasers and body armor. To this writer, $33 million seems like a lot of scratch for a database that's been
highly controversial but which, to my knowledge, has never actually contributed to solving a criminal case.

By contrast, I'll bet $33 million would go a long way toward reducing delays at DPS' drivers license offices.[Or delays at the U.S. Mexican border - let's not beat around the Bush here.]

No comments: