Monday, 25 March 2013

Congress Seeks Answers on Huge Homeland Security Ammo Contracts

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Concerned lawmakers and activists across America from all points on the political spectrum have for months been seeking an explanation about the Obama administration apparently stockpiling weapons of war for domestic use. Estimates suggest, for example, that the federal government has committed to purchasing up to 2 billion rounds of ammunition over several years while rolling out dozens of armored vehicles known as MRAPs on U.S. soil. Meanwhile, the controversial Department of Homeland Security and its boss Janet Napolitano are refusing to provide real answers.

Now, however, at least one member of Congress is proposing to stop funding DHS unless and until it explains the controversial arms buildup, which has sparked widespread suspicion even among Obama’s most devoted supporters. Speaking to We Are Change activist and reporter Luke Rudkowski at the Conservative Political Action Conference this month, liberty-minded Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) said that more than a few of his colleagues were also trying to find out why the administration would be stockpiling so much firepower for use within the “Homeland.”

“They have no answer for that question. They refuse to answer to answer that.... They refuse to let us know what is going on, so I don’t really have an answer for that,” Rep. Tim Huelskamp explained, adding that multiple members of Congress were still trying to find out. “It comes down to: During the budget process, during the appropriations process, are we willing to hold DHS’s feet to the fire? We’re going to find out.... I say we don’t fund them ’til we get an answer. Those types of things really challenge Americans. They’re worried about this administration.”

Led by Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.), at least 15 U.S. lawmakers have already signed a letter demanding that Homeland Security boss Napolitano justify the controversial purchases. The letter also seeks an explanation as to whether or not the apparent bullet stockpiling is part of a deliberate effort to restrict the supply of ammunition available to the public — one of many theories that have been put forward by Americans concerned over the news amid a deeply unpopular effort by Obama and his allies to further infringe on the Second Amendment.

“The extraordinary level of ammunition purchases made by Homeland Security seems to have, in states such as my own, created an extreme shortage of ammunition to the point where many gun owners are unable to purchase any,” Rep. LaMalfa and his colleagues wrote in the letter. “Are these purchases being conducted in a manner that strategically denies the American people access to ammunition?”

News of the massive federal arms purchases for domestic agencies — enough bullets to kill every American multiple times, for example — was originally spread by radio host Alex Jones and his news service Since then, however, the controversy has sparked a nationwide uproar, garnering headlines, suspicion, and outrage all across America.

Under major pressure from concerned citizens and the alternative media, even the establishment press has finally been forced to report on the issue. The Associated Press, for example, reported last month that DHS was seeking 1.6 billion rounds over the next few years. Forbes contributor Ralph Benko seized on the story, saying it was “time for a national conversation” in an opinion piece that has since gone “viral” online.

“Spending money this way is beyond absurd well into perverse,” Benko wrote, blasting the DHS activities as “wrong in every way” and calling for congressional action if Obama refuses to rein in the out-of-control bureaucrats responsible for the purchases. “Buying 1.6 billion rounds of ammo and deploying armored personnel carriers runs contrary, in every way, to what ‘homeland security’ really means.”

Military veterans are speaking out, too, with retired U.S. Army Captain Terry Hestilow publishing an open letter to Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) expressing concerns over another increasingly widespread theory — the view that the federal government is actually preparing for a war against Americans on U.S. soil. “It is with gravest concern that I write to you today concerning the recent appropriation of weapons by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that can only be understood as a bold threat of war by that agency, and the Obama administration, against the citizens of the United States of America,” reads Hestilow’s March 23 letter, which has also “gone viral” on the Internet.

In an e-mail to The New American, Homeland Security spokesperson Marsha Catron downplayed the purchases and suggested that public fear over the news was unfounded. “DHS routinely establishes strategic sourcing contracts that combine the requirements of all its components for commonly purchased goods and services such as ammunition, computer equipment, and information technology services,” she said in a statement, the same official line spouted by multiple federal spokespeople. “These strategic sourcing contracts help leverage the purchasing power of DHS to efficiently procure equipment and supplies.”

Catron pointed out that one of the contracts in question — up to 750 million rounds for the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC), which reportedly goes through about 15 million bullets per year — represented “a maximum quantity” that would give the center “flexibility over the next 5 years for training of over 90 federal agencies.” A separate contract for up to 450 million bullets is intended to be used by all Homeland Security “components” except the U.S. Coast Guard, which uses Department of Defense contacts, she said.

“This contract is part of the Department’s strategic sourcing efforts to combine multiple previous contracts in order to leverage the purchasing power of the entire Department to efficiently procure equipment and supplies at significantly lower costs,” Catron claimed. “With more than 100,000 armed law enforcement personnel in DHS, significant quantities of ammunition are used to support law enforcement operations, quarterly qualifications, and training, to include advanced firearms training exercises.”

During fiscal year 2012, the department purchased almost 100 million rounds, not including ammunition used by the Coast Guard. The department also claimed in an e-mail to TNA that a “small reserve” of the overall ammunition is kept by federal law enforcement agencies, but that there is not an “ammunition stockpile.” It was not immediately clear what a “small reserve” was or what would constitute a true “stockpile.”

Catron emphasized repeatedly that DHS has over 100,000 armed agents and officers — a gargantuan number of armed bureaucrats that has raised alarm bells among critics as well. In attempting to justify the purchases, Homeland Security has also stated multiple times that the ammo totals represented a ceiling and that DHS would not necessarily buy the full amounts listed in the contracts.

Despite numerous attempts, the department did not respond to questions about what circumstances or scenarios might require two billion bullets — many of them hollow-point — to be used inside the “Homeland.” As critics have pointed out, that would be enough ammunition to wage several decades of war: Even at the height of the Iraq war, the military was using less than six million rounds per month. Catron also failed to address inquiries related to congressional oversight.

Speaking about the MRAP (mine-resistant ambush protected) vehicles in a brief phone interview with The New American, the spokesperson denied myriad media reports claiming that DHS had acquired more than 2,700 units of the heavily armored military machines. She said Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations currently uses 16 of the vehicles while U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) uses another 16 — all of which were apparently provided by the Defense Department. “DHS has no plans for future MRAP purchases,” Catron said.

On the campaign trail before taking office in 2008, without citing what section of the Constitution he thought might authorize it, Obama called for the creation of a “civilian national security force” that is “just as powerful, just as strong, just as well funded” as the U.S. military. At the time, critics recoiled in horror, wondering why the “Homeland” might require a “force” as powerful as the U.S. military. Again, answers were never forthcoming, though apologists later tried to downplay the significance of the comments.

In recent years, however, the U.S. government has made its views abundantly clear: The biggest “threat” Obama and his administration see against the “Homeland” includes veterans, pro-life activists, supporters of individual liberty, constitutionalists, and others who disagree with the president’s radical agenda. The Justice Department, Homeland Security, so-called “fusions centers,” and even a U.S. military think-tank have all openly said as much in official reports and documents. The administration is also under the false impression that it may kill or indefinitely detain anyone it suspects of terror — including Americans in the “Homeland.”

Meanwhile, as The New American reported last month, the administration has also been fueling suspicion by engaging in deeply controversial military training operations involving unmarked black helicopters firing blanks out of machine guns over major U.S. cities. Using shooting targets featuring children and pregnant women raised eyebrows, too. Before that, Obama also came under fire for inviting Russian terror troops to train with U.S. forces on American soil.

Why the administration believes it may potentially need billions of bullets and other weapons of war for use in the “Homeland” remains unclear. State and local agencies are also receiving a wide array of war weaponry from the federal government. What is clear, though, at least, is that more than a few lawmakers and Americans of all political persuasions are becoming increasingly uneasy about it.

Alex Newman is a correspondent for The New American, covering economics, politics, and more. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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