CNN Wire Staff
(CNN) - Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on Friday canceled the controversial virtual fence along the U.S. border with Mexico, citing technical problems, cost overruns and schedule delays since its inception in 2005.
The Secure Border Initiative-network, a high-tech surveillance system to reduce border smuggling, so far has cost taxpayers almost $1 billion for two regions in Arizona, covering 53 miles overall on the 2,000-mile border, according to a Homeland Security report.
Napolitano announced "a new path forward for security technology" along the border that is tailored to the needs of each region and provides "faster deployment of technology, better coverage and a more effective balance between cost and capability," she said in a prepared statement.
"There is no 'one-size-fits-all' solution to meet our border technology needs," Napolitano said about her decision to end the problem-plagued virtual fence.
Her new plan would use mobile surveillance systems, drones, thermal imaging devices and tower-based remote video surveillance, she said.
"Where appropriate, this plan will also incorporate already existing elements of the former SBInet program that have proven successful, such as stationary radar and infrared and optical sensor towers," Napolitano said.
Since the shootings in Tuscon last weekend, there's been hand-wringing on all sides about toning down the rhetoric. But has there really been any change in the blame game, the finger-pointing? We're Keeping Them Honest. Plus, new insight on what Jared Loughner did in the hours before the shootings. Randi Kaye will retrace his steps.
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Ready for today's Beat 360°? Everyday we post a picture you provide the caption and our staff will join in too. Tune in tonight at 10pm to see if you are our favorite! Here is the 'Beat 360°' pic:
Incumbent Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele listens during a session of the RNC Winter Meeting January 14, 2011 in National Harbor, Maryland. (Photo credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)
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“Guess it's true an elephant never forgets...”
Nancy Shapiro, New Jersey
“Michael Steele sighing at the illegible notes in his sweaty palm, wondering why he listened to Sarah Palin in the first place.”
Ross Levitt and Susan Candiotti
Tucson, Arizona (CNN) - Jared Lee Loughner was up all night before gunning down 19 people - six fatally - outside an Arizona supermarket, taking several trips to the supermarket's shopping plaza in between checking in at an area hotel and visiting two Walmarts to buy ammunition, according to a timeline released Friday by the Pima County Sheriff's Office.
Loughner, 22, got a room at a nearby Motel 6, but did not spend much time there late the night of January 7 and early January 8, the Sheriff's Office timeline indicates.
At 11:35 p.m., he dropped off a roll of 35 mm film at a Walgreens next door to the Safeway supermarket where the shooting occurred.
After buying something about an hour later at a nearby Circle K convenience store and checking into the Motel 6 one mile to the west on Ina Road, he returned at 2:19 a.m. to pick up the photos and make other purchases.
Fifteen minutes later, he stopped at a Chevron gas station where, according to a source with direct knowledge, he bought a doughnut, a soft drink and several energy bars. Surveillance video captured Loughner making the purchases, and he also used the pay phone at the store, according to the source.
Then, at 4:12 a.m., Loughner posted a photo of the Walgreens on his MySpace page, with a caption "Goodbye friends."
CNN Wire Staff
Tucson, Arizona (CNN) - U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords remains in critical condition but is continuing to make progress, doctors at Tucson's University Medical Center said Friday.
Giffords is one of four victims of last Saturday's massacre still hospitalized at the center, according to Dr. Peter Rhee, the hospital's medical director for trauma. The other three patients are now in good condition, he said.
"We're confident (Giffords) is making progress now," said Dr. Michael Lemole, the hospital's chief of neurosurgery. She is "beginning to carry out a more complex sequence" of activity.
She is making "all the right moves," he noted. "We couldn't have hoped for anything better given the severity of (her) injury."
Giffords' husband, NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, said earlier that doctors could remove the congresswoman's breathing tube as early as Friday.