I said I was unaware of such a claim and added that I had no idea if it was true.
Well, it turns out it is true. The Department of Homeland Security purchased the ammo, but not to be used against American citizens as my questioner was clearly suggesting.
The bullets are intended for the 90 federal agencies and their 70,000 agents and officers the DHS oversees
Organized by the Bush administration in the wake of 9-11, DHS is responsible for U.S. Customs, ICE, the Coast Guard, the National Law Enforcement Training Center and so on.
Such a bulk buy of ammo for training and use in the field to save taxpayer dollars makes perfect sense...except to the black helicopter watchers, who rushed to ascribe all sorts of nefarious motives to the DHS purchase.
So it was the other night Lou Dobbs, who has successfully transitioned from respected business journalist to a monger of nutty conspiracy theories, played to this delusional paranoia by declaring on his Fox Business show that, along with all the ammo, the DHS had also bought "2,700 light armored vehicles."
Let's see: 1.6 billion rounds of ammo plus 2,700 light armored vehicles must equal Obama tyranny!
Dobbs then asked his guest, the NRA's Wayne LaPierre (of all people), "What in the world is going on at the Homeland Department -- the Department of Homeland Security seems to be arming up and the administration is trying to disarm American citizens?"
Except the Obama administration isn't "trying to disarm American citizens" and there is no evidence to suggest it is.
And the DHS didn't buy the light armored vehicles. The U.S. Marine Corps did.
Dobb's bogus information, like so much of what Fox News reports, came from a discredited blogger famous for making sh...I mean stuff up, the Gateway Pundit.
There are many other such hacks and they're a rich source of unsubstantiated and slanted "facts" for right wing media outlets and tin foil hat wearers.
It's a sad but routine formula for Fox News hosts and other such pundits in today's instant news cycle: Grab something, anything, that will affirm the viewers' or listeners' prejudices, dispense with fact-checking, present it as authentic, bounce it around with a kooky guest like LaPierre or Orly Taitz or Victoria Jackson, and then move on, the damage done.
It's also irresponsible and unprofessional, as Mr. Dobbs well knows.