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Security Lapses Discovered at Border Patrol Facility

Security Lapses Discovered at Border Patrol Facility Homeland Security TodaySecurity issues, including inoperable security cameras, were discovered at multiple remote facilities along the southwest border operated by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), according to a recent audit report by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General (DHS OIG).

DHS OIG investigated seven Forward Operating Bases (FOBs)—permanent facilities established in remote locations to support Border Patrol operations— in the El Paso, Rio Grande Valley and Tucson sectors to assess whether the facilities provide adequate security and living conditions for CBP employees.

The Inspectors found security concerns at every facility, and determined that CBP does not conduct regular inspections of the facilities. DHS OIG said, “Without regular inspections and timely maintenance and repairs, CBP cannot ensure it will continue to provide adequate security, safety, and living conditions for its personnel working at remote facilities.”

At a facility in the Tucson sector, the Inspectors discovered security lapses and public health concerns. The facility did not have a closed circuit television (CCTV) security camera system to allow agents on guard to monitor the premises. Additionally, at four of the other FOBs investigated, one or more security cameras were inoperable.

“If agents cannot perform this task, the FOB is more vulnerable to a security breach,” the report stated.

Moreover, the Tucson sector facility not only has a manual entrance gate rather than the required controlled-access electronic gate, the gate is often left open, according to 10 of the 14 employees interviewed by DHS OIG. This practice greatly increases the likelihood of someone gaining unauthorized access to the facility. Other facilities suffered from the same problem.

Both a facility with a manual gate and one with an electronically controlled gate left the gates unlocked or opened.

In addition, the living conditions at the facility were determined to be inadequate. One Tucson sector official said the air conditioning units were not able to handle the temperatures for the area. DHS OIG also heard complaints about cleanliness of the facility.

CBP agreed that the facility needs renovations; however, the agency has not allocated the funding to support these renovations.

The Inspectors also noted that supplying water to FOBs and maintaining safe drinking water is a frequent problem. However, they determined that CBP is responsive to the water issue.

DHS OIG’s recommended that CBP establish a timetable for renovating the Tucson sector facility, repair or replace security cameras at FOBs, fix gate issues, and conduct periodic inspections of FOBs. CBP concurred with all of the recommendations provided by DHS OIG, and has already taken steps to resolve these issues.

Homeland Security Todayhttp://www.hstoday.us
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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