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The F-35 of walls: $1.57 billion spent for just 1.7 miles of fence on the US-Mexico border
The F-35 Joint Strike Program may be the most expensive weapons program in modern military history, but it looks as though the new border wall is giving the beleaguered aircraft a run for its money.
On Tuesday, a government lawyer disclosed in a court filing to a federal judge in Oakland, California that Customs and Border Patrol personnel had only managed to erect 1.7 miles of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico with the $1.57 billion Congress doled out for construction in 2018, Bloomberg News reports.
If accurate, the figures disclosed by the government would mean that each mile of fence costs $923 million, which absolutely does not jive with CBP's latest figure. From the Bloomberg News report:
A May 20 report by Customs and Border Protection on the status of the border wall specified that the $1.5 billion in 2018 funding is being used to update or build 80 miles of the border wall.
That includes 14 miles of new and updated wall panels near San Diego, which is expected to be finished early next year, and 13 miles of new construction in the Rio Grande Valley. It's not clear when that part will be finished.
The report doesn't state how much of the $1.5 billion has been spent to date, and doesn't contradict Letter's claim. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers did hand out more than $800 million of the 2018 funding for new contracts, according to the report.
To be clear, the new cost-per-mile of $923 million disclosed on Tuesday would mean that each mile of fence has roughly the same cost as 10 F-35A Lightning II aircraft at the latest price of less than $90 million apiece.
That also means that, at this rate, that magic $5.7 billion in funds the White House requested for wall construction during last winter's government shutdown would only yield 6.3 more miles of fortifications.
Indeed, completing 1,000 miles of wall construction that Trump fixated on during his presidential campaign would cost upwards of an eye-popping $900 trillion — or, say, 600 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter programs that have projected lifetime costs of $1.5 trillion.
WATCH NEXT: A US-Mexico Border Wall Time Lapse
A Marine wanted for killing his mother's boyfriend reportedly escaped police by hiding inside an RV they'd spent hours searching before towing it to a parking lot, where he escaped under the cover of darkness.
It wasn't until more than two weeks later authorities finally caught up to Michael Brown at his mom's home, which was the scene of the crime.
Brown stuffed himself into a tight spot in his camper during an hours-long search of the vehicle on Nov. 10, according to NBC affiliate WSLS in Virginia. A day earlier, cops said Brown fatally shot his mother's boyfriend, Rodney Brown. The AWOL Marine remained on the lam until Nov. 27, where he was finally apprehended without incident.
No motive is yet known for last week's Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard shooting tragedy, which appears to have been a random act of violence in which the sailor who fatally shot two civilian workers and himself did not know them and did not plan his actions ahead of time, shipyard commander Capt. Greg Burton said in an "All Hands" message sent out Friday.
Machinist's Mate Auxiliary Fireman Gabriel Antonio Romero of San Antonio, an armed watch-stander on the attack submarine USS Columbia, shot three civilian workers Dec. 4 and then turned a gun on himself while the sub rested in dry dock 2 for a major overhaul, the Navy said.
"The investigation continues, but there is currently no known motive and no information to indicate the sailor knew any of the victims," Burton said.
SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea said it had successfully conducted another test at a satellite launch site, the latest in a string of developments aimed at "restraining and overpowering the nuclear threat of the U.S.", state news agency KCNA reported on Saturday.
The test was conducted on Friday at the Sohae satellite launch site, KCNA said, citing a spokesman for North Korea's Academy of Defence Science, without specifying what sort of testing occurred.
Since the Washington Post first published the "Afghanistan papers," I have been reminded of a scene from "Apocalypse Now Redux" in which Army Col. Walter Kurtz reads to the soldier assigned to kill him two Time magazine articles showing how the American people had been lied to about Vietnam by both the Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon administrations.
In one of the articles, a British counterinsurgency expert tells Nixon that "things felt much better and smelled much better" during his visit to Vietnam.
"How do they smell to you, soldier?" Kurtz asks.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Erik Prince, the controversial private security executive and prominent supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump, made a secret visit to Venezuela last month and met Vice President Delcy Rodriguez, one of socialist leader Nicolas Maduro's closest and most outspoken allies, according to five sources familiar with the matter.