A test last year of a border wall prototype favored by President Donald Trump showed that the prototype could be breached with a saw, according to a report by the Department of Homeland Security obtained by NBC News and KPBS.
The prototype is one of eight built in Otay Mesa, California – just across the border from Tijuana, Mexico – at the direction of the Trump administration, NBC News reported. Testing by DHS found all eight were vulnerable to breaching, the news network reported, citing an internal U.S. Customs and Border Protection report from February 2018.
A photo obtained by NBC News showed the results of a DHS test in which military and border patrol officials were told to destroy the prototypes using common tools, the news network reported. The image, which showed a clean hole cut through a section of a steel slat prototype, was redacted from the report when it was obtained in September by KPBS, NBC News reported.
KPBS reported officials tested the border wall prototypes in five areas: breaching, scaling, aesthetics, engineering design review analysis and constructability inspection.
Ralph DeSio, of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, told KPBS the prototypes “were not and cannot be designed to be indestructible,” but he said they were meant to “impede or deny efforts to scale, breach or dig under such a barrier, giving agents time to respond.”
The president said Tuesday in an address from the Oval Office that a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border is “absolutely critical to border security.” His demand for $5.7 billion to fund construction of the wall led to a partial government shutdown Dec. 22 that remained ongoing Thursday.
“(A border wall is) what our professionals at the border want and need,” Trump said. “This is just common sense.”
The president was scheduled to visit the border in Texas on Thursday.
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