In a recent interview on Special Report with Bret Baier, Evan McMullin stated the following about border security:

As far as a wall is concerned, the experts actually say that in some places a wall is necessary, in other places that a double wall is necessary, and in other places that a wall wouldn't help.

What "experts" is he referring to? Is he referencing a specific report by a specific group, or is he synthesizing multiple pieces of information from disparate sources?

  • 1
    I think it is entirely unclear. The notion of who qualifies to be an expert is extremely fluid, especially in politics. Since he doesn't give his sources in any version of the interview that I've seen, your guess is as good as mine. I am sure some pundits have taken all of those positions, but whether you consider a pundit an expert is a different matter.
    – rougon
    Aug 17, 2016 at 4:42
  • Whether he considers said pundit an expert is what actually matters in such instances. Aug 17, 2016 at 4:43
  • Good point -- I am not sure if it is possible to know, as there are so many pundits. I think we might have to wait to see him discuss the topic more to know who he is talking about.
    – rougon
    Aug 17, 2016 at 4:45

2 Answers 2


What "experts" is he referring to?

I don't know, but I do know there are experts out there who can agree with the quote below or at least two out of three of them.

As far as a wall is concerned, the experts actually say that in some places a wall is necessary, in other places that a double wall is necessary, and in other places that a wall wouldn't help.

The first expert to look into (quoting from PBS): Robert C. Bonner, who served as commissioner of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection under President George W. Bush:

“Physical barriers are not a strategy. They are part of a strategy,” Bonner said.

The terrain of the U.S.-Mexico border, which spans nearly 2,000 miles, is diverse. A fence might be the best deterrent along some parts of the border, Bonner said, while other areas would be more secure with sensors and an increase in border patrol agents.

The second expert, Michael McCaul, who was the chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security from 2013 until 2019. He wrote a report titled 'Blueprint for Southern Border Security' in which he looks into different points along the border, noting different existing measures and recommending different measures to be taken in addition to the existing ones.

A quote from page 4 of that report showing that he thinks it works in some areas and it doesn't in others:

The border fence in the flat open areas of San Diego and Yuma Sectors, for example, effectively discourages large groups of immigrants from simply walking across the border and provides Border Patrol agents greater time to identify and respond to threats in those areas. It is not however, a panacea that will work across the entire border.

The report also multiple fences (using the terms secondary and tertiary) but it does not comment on how effective they are. Aside from that, I think it's an interesting read, it's not very technical at all and easy to digest.


Political experts say that when a politician is referring to unnamed "Experts", that's usually a case of Weasel Wording. As experts on linguistics will confirm, there is no actual definition or certification one needs to be called an "Expert" on some subject matter. You can refer to any opinion as an "expert opinion" without it technically being wrong.

So you can safely dismiss any statement which refers to so-called "Experts" when it doesn't name the experts or what qualifications they have.

Source: It's common knowledge many experts agree on (prove me wrong!).

  • 2
    I don't think this is very useful. You state in the two paragraphs, respectively, that the "experts" may not be experts in any meaningful sense, and that their opinions can be safely dismissed; fine opinion, but I asked about facts: "Who are they?" His specificity leads me to believe that he didn't simply make those things up out of whole cloth, so he must be relying on someone's opinions. Maybe they're simply campaign staffers. I don't know, and that's why I asked. If you don't know either, fine, but that doesn't make for an extremely useful SE answer. Aug 17, 2016 at 18:01

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