National

Mar 16, 2010 6:10 PM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Homeland chief puts brakes on virtual fence funds

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says that she will freeze funds for expanding the virtual fence that originally was supposed to monitor most of the U.S. southern border by 2011 but now covers only a portion of Arizona's boundary with Mexico.

The virtual fence is a network of cameras, ground sensors and radars designed to let a small number of dispatchers watch the border on a computer monitor, zoom in with cameras to see people crossing and decide whether to send Border Patrol agents to the scene.

A string of technical glitches and delays has put the project in jeopardy. Two months ago, Napolitano ordered a reassessment of the project that has thus far cost the government $672 million.

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