In an apparent effort to cover up a potential scandal, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has for months refused to provide congressional leaders with records related to a failed program that was quietly nixed after the agency blew $1 billion on it.
The faulty “life-saving” technology, known as BioWatch, was supposed to detect biological attacks. However, it’s never come close to meeting its goal of accurately detecting pathogens that cause anthrax, tularemia, smallpox, plague and other deadly diseases. Instead it is well known for false alarms and other glitches. In short, it’s turned out to be a worthless money pit for U.S. taxpayers.
The system became such a joke that state and local authorities didn’t bother ordering evacuations when its alarm triggered. In fact, before DHS pulled the plug in BioWatch a few months ago, it was revealed that federal agencies documented 56 false alarms since 2008. Regardless, DHS kept pouring money into it and even planned to invest billions more to upgrade the inept BioWatch system this year. DHS’s chief medical officer even vouched for the upgrade, telling a congressional committee that it was “imperative to saving thousands of lives.”