The Obama administration killed a multibillion-dollar proposal to deploy new, self-operating bioweapon sensors in U.S. cities, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson last week finalized plans to forgo the procurement of a third generation of Biowatch technology, reversing his department’s longtime push to deploy sensors that personnel would not need to check regularly for organisms from an unfolding biological attack.
The policy shift signals a dedication to “cost-effective acquisition without compromising our security,” Homeland Security spokesman S.Y. Lee said.
The proposed update was expected to carry a $3.1 billion price tag for its first five years of use, whereas the existing Biowatch program has cost $1.1 billion since 2003.
Prior reporting revealed a history of inaccurate readings from the existing sensors, as well as problems concerning the dependability of the developmental detection gear.
Homeland Security “remains committed to the Biowatch program and the importance of improving our early warning and detection technologies,” said Michael Walter, who oversees the detection system now deployed in more than 30 U.S. cities.
Congressional auditors are still reviewing the activities of existing Biowatch sensors, following an August call by House lawmakers to assess possible “additional benefits” from any upgrade. The United States as of 2012 had spent $150 million to develop the next-generation technology, according to the Government Accountability Office.
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With three days until the first debate, the polls are coming fast and furious. The latest round:
- An Associated Press/Gfk poll of registered voters found very few voters committed, with Clinton leading Trump, 37% to 29%, and Gary Johnson at 7%.
- A McClatchy-Marist poll gave Clinton a six-point edge, 45% to 39%, in a four-way ballot test. Johnson pulls 10% support, with Jill Stein at 4%.
- Rasmussen, which has drawn criticism for continually showing Donald Trump doing much better than he does in other polls, is at it again. A new survey gives Trump a five-point lead, 44%-39%.
In contrast to Hillary Clinton's meticulous debate practice sessions, Donald Trump "is largely shunning traditional debate preparations, but has been watching video of…Clinton’s best and worst debate moments, looking for her vulnerabilities.” Trump “has paid only cursory attention to briefing materials. He has refused to use lecterns in mock debate sessions despite the urging of his advisers. He prefers spitballing ideas with his team rather than honing them into crisp, two-minute answers.”
Donald Trump "is on the precipice of becoming the only major-party presidential candidate this century not to reach out to millions of American voters whose dominant, first or just preferred language is Spanish. Trump has not only failed to buy any Spanish-language television or radio ads, he so far has avoided even offering a translation of his website into Spanish, breaking with two decades of bipartisan tradition."
Bill and Hillary Clinton have purchased the home next door to their primary residence in tony Chappaqua, New York, for $1.16 million. "By purchasing the new home, the Clinton's now own the entire cul-de-sac at the end of the road in the leafy New York suburb. The purchase makes it easier for the United States Secret Service to protect the former president and possible future commander in chief."