Hightower Report: DHS: Bullish on bullets

DHS stockpiles enough bullets for a 20-year war

By Jim Hightower, Fri., March 29, 2013

Many people buy in bulk. Why purchase toilet paper a four-pack at a time, goes their thinking, when they can make one trip and pick up a year's supply? This stock-up mentality can make sense – up to a point. A year's supply of toilet paper? Check. But 100 years' worth? What, are you nuts?

Which brings us to the Department of Homeland Security. This conglomeration of airport screeners, border patrol agents, and other armed federal forces is a major purchaser of guns – and guns need bullets. So it's no surprise that DHS would make a bulk bullet buy. But it is somewhere way north of surprising that it purchased 1.6 billion bullets!

You might wonder: Is that a lot? Well, at the police agency's present use of 15 million rounds a year fired at its training centers and in the course of official duty, 1.6 billion is more than a 100-year supply of ammo. Or think of it this way: At the peak of the Iraq War, our army was shooting 6 million rounds a month, so DHS is stockpiling enough for a 20-year hot war.

Now, let's wonder about this: Why? Homeland Security, as its name states, is a domestic force. So what war is it anticipating? Also, these 1.6 billion bullets are not just little poppers – Forbes magazine notes that they include hollow-point rounds that are even outlawed for use in war, as well as "a frightening amount [of bullets] specialized for snipers." Again: Why?

DHS says blandly that it's just a matter of getting a better price by making a big buy. Another theory is they're doing it because they can – Congress will okay any purchase wrapped with a Homeland Security ribbon. Then there's the conspiracy theorists who say that "we the people" are the target of the buildup.

I don't buy that, but the question remains: Why? Shouldn't someone in Congress be inquiring?

For more information on Jim Hightower's work – and to subscribe to his award-winning monthly newsletter, "The Hightower Lowdown" – visit www.jimhightower.com. You can hear his radio commentaries on KOOP Radio 91.7FM, weekdays at 10:58am and 12:58pm.

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