Thursday, March 23, 2017

March 23, 2015--The Wall We Need

The wall we need is not the one we've been talking about for well over a year--Donald Trump's "beautiful" wall along the border with Mexico. The wall for which he in a delusion assured us Mexico would pay.

We now discover that Mexico understandably continues to see this to be offensive and is so furious about the way they are being treated by President Trump that they have virtually severed relations with us.

We also discovered that the budget Trump submitted to Congress last week--the one received by both parties as "dead on arrival"--includes about $4.0 billion in U.S. taxpayer money to pay for the first phase of wall building. There is not a word about Mexico anteing up.

If we want to assess if a wall of this kind will be effective in shutting down illegal border-crossing, we need look no further than how well the various walls Israel has erected to contain the movement of Palestinians have worked.

Two years ago as Palestinian rockets rained down on Israel, fired from Gaza, the Israeli army discovered dozens of elaborate smugglers' tunnels under the fence, tunnels in many cases that were electrified and included lights and even air conditioning.

But there is one thing we can be certain about--the security fence that circles the White House is equally ineffective.

Evidence for that is the revelation last week that someone jumped that fence as if it weren't there and managed to elude Secret Service agents for a full 17 minutes before he was spotted and captured. He apparently had made his way right up to a White House entrance and was fiddling with the doorknob in an attempt to enter the premises.

President Trump was in residence at the time and we can only suspect that when the SS finally learned about the intrusion they roused him from his bed and bundled him down to the bunker six floors below the East Wing.

The same "undisclosed location" where they hid Vice President Cheney on 9/11.

From an electronic sensor the Secret Service was alerted to the fact that there was an intruder, but they could not locate him on the White House grounds.

The White House sits on only18 acres and one would assume that there are motion detectors every few yards and other surveillance devices that are so sensitive and secretive that we can only imagine their capabilities.

Assume away.

Not only should we be concerned about the possible danger President Trump faced but we should also be concerned in general about our capacity to monitor our borders and collect useful and time-sensitive data and intelligence from various hot spots around the world where we depend upon electronic as well as human intelligence to keep us safe.

Very much including what is going on in North Korea.

But who knows--the 26-year-old who snuck onto the White House grounds, when captured, said, "I am a friend of the president. I have an appointment."

Maybe he knew Trump was lonely with his wife and son in New York and would be happy to see him. They could watch Hannity together.

The next morning, the president said the "Secret Service did a fantastic job last night."

I also worry about his sense of what he considers to be fantastic.

Jonathan Tuan-Anh Tran

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