Fox's Dobbs Pushes Conspiracy That Government Is “Arming Up”
Fox's Lou Dobbs hyped the false claim that the Department of Homeland Security bought 2700 light armored vehicles, echoing claims made on fringe conservative blogs. In fact, the order for 2717 new light armored vehicles is coming from the United States Marine Corps -- not the Department of Homeland Security.
On the March 4 edition of Fox Business' Lou Dobbs Tonight, host Lou Dobbs claimed that DHS is buying “2 billion rounds of ammunition” and, “allegedly,” “2700 light armored vehicles.” Dobbs then asked his guest, NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre, “What in the world is going on as the Homeland Department -- the Department of Homeland Security seems to be arming up and the administration is trying to disarm American citizens?”
Dobbs' pairing of those two claims echoed a post on right-wing blog Gateway Pundit, which was also posted to conspiracy theorist Alex Jones' Infowars. The post was headlined, “Obama DHS Purchases 2,700 Light-Armored Tanks to Go With Their 1.6 Billion Bullet Stockpile” and cited Modern Survival Blog, a survivalist website, as its source.
But according to a Defense Department press release, it was the United States Marine Corps, not DHS, that purchased 2,717 light armored vehicles.
The claim that DHS bought a 1.6 billion bullet stockpile is also misleading. The Associated Press reported that while DHS did buy 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition, the government bought the bullets in bulk to save money on ammunition used in training and in the field. As the AP noted, “More than 90 federal agencies and 70,000 agents and officers used the department's training center last year.”
While DHS does own light armored vehicles, Charles Johnson of the blog Little Green Footballs noted that they're “intended to be used in emergency situations like Hurricane Katrina, and in ICE raids against drug gangs along the Mexican border, where the criminals are known to possess military weaponry such as fully automatic rifles and grenade launchers.” The vehicles are not a secret.
Dobbs has a history of promoting false and misleading claims from right-wing websites. In 2012, Dobbs cited a website that had featured birther claims in order to attack First Lady Michelle Obama. Recently, Dobbs pushed Breitbart.com's bogus claim that Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel had ties to the non-existent “Friends of Hamas” group.