At least the General Accounting Office appears to be sane, since no one else is. It is well documented, and I mean beyond a shadow of a doubt, or even a shadow of that shadow, that high-tech border solutions fail to achieve even a tiny fraction of their goals. They are very expensive, shiny, and PR-happy, yet worthless. I've been writing about this for years--here is one post from earlier this year that links to older posts.
So we know they fail, but U.S. Customs and Border Protection wants to push on anyway in Arizona, perhaps hoping to fail as spectacularly as in Texas. Fortunately, the GAO has just made clear in a report that it does not have enough evidence that it will work. Instead, we get an image of a government agency just trying to do something, without caring at all whether the money spent is a waste. It is indeed pretty scathing.
Specifically, GAO's review of the estimate concluded that the estimate reflected substantial features of best practices, being both comprehensive and accurate, but it did not sufficiently meet other characteristics of a high-quality cost estimate, such as credibility, because it did not identify a level of confidence or quantify the impact of risks. GAO and OMB guidance emphasize that reliable cost estimates are important for program approval and continued receipt of annual funding. In addition, because CBP was unable to determine a level of confidence in its estimate, it will be difficult for CBP to determine what levels of contingency funding may be needed to cover risks associated with implementing new technologies along the remaining Arizona border.
Emphasis mine. Is this really the best we can do? My head is dented from banging it against the wall.