President Donald Trump seems to be staking his entire political future on the premise of his proposed wall. Now, NBC has obtained an image of the prototype steel bollard wall that has an obvious hole in it. This hole, NBC claims, was made during the testing of the design. Those who oppose the wall and all it symbolizes are now holding up this image as evidence of the wall’s futility.
Trump claims the wall is “absolutely critical to border security.” He took to the air Tuesday night to address the nation from the Oval Office and made his case.
Now, this image of Department of Homeland Security test of a steel bollard prototype shows that it can be defeated.
NBC says that “military and Border Patrol personnel were instructed to attempt to destroy the barriers with common tools.”
Just what tools remain unknown. The video below claims the wall was defeated using “a household saw, a common saw.”
Many descriptions of the updated plans for the wall talk about a “steel slat” design. The pictured wall is not a slat, but a bollard. The tubular steel posts are filled with concrete.
“However, testing by DHS in late 2017 showed all eight prototypes, including the steel slats, were vulnerable to breaching, according to an internal February 2018 U.S. Customs and Border Protection report,” NBC writes.
The image of the hole was obtained in a Freedom of Information Act Request by San Diego public broadcaster KPBS.
Trump is dismissing the new image, saying the bollards shown were not part of his administration’s testing. “That’s a wall designed by previous administrations,” he told reporters.
Yet NBC claims this test section was built during his tenure.
“It’s very, very hard — the wall that we are doing is very, very hard to penetrate,” Trump added.
DHS Spokeswoman Katie Waldman released a statement that said, “The steel bollard construction is based on the operational requirements of the United States Border Patrol and is a design that has been honed over more than a decade of use. It is an important part of Border Patrol’s impedance and denial capability.”
“While the design currently being constructed was informed by what we learned in the prototypes, it does not replicate those designs,” said Waldman. “The steel bollard design is internally reinforced with materials that require time and multiple industrial tools to breach, thereby providing U.S. Border Patrol agents additional response time to affect a successful law enforcement resolution. In the event that one of the steel bollards becomes damaged, it is quick and cost-effective to repair.”
“The professionals on the border know that a wall system is intended not only to prevent entry, it is intended to defer and to increase the amount of time and effort it takes for one to enter so that we can respond with limited border patrol agents. Even a wall that is being breached is a valuable tool in that it allows us to respond to the attempted illegal entry.”
No wall is completely secure. NBC’s claim that this section of fencing was cut with a common saw, though, seems to be straining credulity.
The most common household saw capable of cutting through 1/4″ steel (which is a guess–could be 3/8″) would be a hacksaw. Doing so at this scale would take hours.
It would also require you to have access to both sides of the wall.
A motorized device, like an angle grinder, would make the work easier. A cutting torch, which isn’t a saw at all, would make quick work of the job. But there’s still one problem.
When a saw cuts metal, it removes small bits of metal from what’s known as a “kerf.” The kerf typically leaves clean edges, and not the melted and ragged slag edges that appears at the ends of these cut bollards.
Anyone who knows metal, NBC, will know that these were not cut with a common saw. That doesn’t change the fact that they have, as any wall could, been breached.
The question that stands now is how the hole in the wall will alter public perception of Trump’s wall claims.