/ Updated 
By Jacob Soboroff and Julia Ainsley

President Donald Trump has repeatedly advocated for a steel slat design for his border wall, which he described as “absolutely critical to border security” in his Oval Office address to the nation Tuesday. But Department of Homeland Security testing of a steel slatprototype proved it could be cut through with a saw, according to a report by DHS.

A photo exclusively obtained by NBC News shows the results of the test after military and Border Patrol personnel were instructed to attempt to destroy the barriers with common tools.

The Trump administration directed the construction of eight steel and concrete prototype walls that were built in Otay Mesa, California, just across the border from Tijuana, Mexico. Trump inspected the prototypes in March 2018. He has now settled on a steel slat, or steel bollard, design for the proposed border barrier additions. Steel bollard fencing has been used under previous administrations.

However, testing by DHS in late 2017 showed all eight prototypes, including the steel slats, were vulnerable to breaching, according to an internal February 2018 U.S. Customs and Border Protection report.

Photos of the breaches were not included in a redacted version of the CBP report, which was first obtained in a Freedom of Information Act Request by San Diego public broadcaster KPBS.

The photo of testing results obtained by NBC News was taken at the testing location along the California-Mexico border, known as “Pogo Row.”

Responding to the picture from the South Lawn of the White House on Thursday morning, Trump claimed “that’s a wall designed by previous administrations.”

While it is true that previous administrations used this design, the prototype was built during his administration.

“It’s very, very hard — the wall that we are doing is very, very hard to penetrate,” Trump said.

NBC News toured the eight wall prototypes twice before President Trump’s March 2018 inspection. According to San Diego Sector Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott, the versions seen by NBC News and the president, however, were larger than the actual prototypes tested at “Pogo Row.”

JAN. 5, 201901:13

In a statement, DHS Spokeswoman Katie Waldman said, “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.”

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/immigration/test-steel-prototype-border-wall-showed-it-could-be-sawed-n956856