Trump's steel wall prototype can be easily defeated by saw: report

NBC says a DHS report showed that all of Trump's eight prototype walls were vulnerable to breaching

By Nicole Karlis

Senior Writer

Published January 10, 2019 9:17PM (EST)

 (Getty/Photo Montage by Salon)
(Getty/Photo Montage by Salon)

A photo obtained by NBC News shows that a prototype for President Donald Trump's border wall could be easily destroyed with a saw.

According to the NBC News report, "Department of Homeland Security [DHS] testing of a steel slat prototype proved it could be cut through with a saw." NBC News acquired a photo showing the before and after results of a test whereby Border Patrol and military tried to breach the wall prototypes. Evidently, a 2017 DHS report showed that all of Trump's eight prototypes (steel slats included) are "vulnerable to breaching."

Interestingly, the photos were reportedly not included in a redacted U.S. Customs and Border Protection report which was first obtained in a Freedom of Information Act Request by San Diego public broadcaster KPBS.

The photos obtained by NBC News were reportedly taken at the testing location known as "Pogo Row" along the California-Mexico border.

In response to the picture, Trump told reporters on Thursday morning, "that’s a wall designed by previous administrations."

"It's very, very hard — the wall that we are doing is very, very hard to penetrate," Trump said.

DHS Spokeswoman Katie Waldman said in a statement to NBC, "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," Waldman added. "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."

Regardless of how strong or sturdy Trump's proposed wall is, ladders are still a formidable means of penetrating even saw-proof walls. As Janet Napolitano, Homeland Security chief under Obama, famously said, "show me a 50-foot wall, and I’ll show you a 51-foot ladder.”

By Nicole Karlis

Nicole Karlis is a senior writer at Salon. Tweet her @nicolekarlis.

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