Various conspiracy type sites such as Firebagger Waterbody have broke the "news" that the Department of Homeland Security is buying thousands of armored MRAP vehicles. At which point I say... "huh?!"
So I head over to the Navistar site referenced by the Firebaggers, where Navistar helpfully notes that an upgrade of the current MRAP chassis leaves them with 2,717 rolling chassis already paid for by the Federal government. And Navistar would love, love I say, to sell bodies to put on those things to do any number of things from dump trucks to armored SWAT team carriers.
Still, no Department of Homeland Security there. So next thing I do is head over to Federal Procurement Data System and download their data set for the Department of Homeland Security. The latest data as of April 3 is available (they release data quarterly), and given how Federal procurement works, DHS certainly would not be getting anything with less than three months notice, so ... 425 megabytes of XML later, I have a database with contracts indexed by DUNS number. So I grab every Navistar DUNS number and search the database for *any* occurrence of *ANY* Navistar DUNS number in Department of Homeland Security contracts issued for the first quarter of 2012 and... nada.
Now, granted, a contract might have been issued since April 4. But you certainly wouldn't see vehicles rolling off the line with DHS markings on them yet, because these were rolling chassis -- i.e., nothing but a frame and drivetrain -- and it would take Navistar *time* to build bodies to put on them and put markings on those bodies. If a contract was issued on April 5, just how likely do you think it'd be that Navistar managed to work with *their* subcontractors to get everything needed to assemble bodies for these frames and managed to assemble even a *single* body for *one* of these frames in *SIX WORKING DAYS* since the contract was let? Yet the conspiracy sites have a PHOTO of one of these supposed DHS MRAP vehicles! Or, should I say, a PHOTOSHOP?
So anyhow: On a scale of zero to 100, I put the likelihood of DHS buying thousands of MRAP's at somewhere between zero to 1. The reason why I rate it above zero is that things on the Mexican border are not looking good right now -- and in case you didn't know, the Border Patrol *is* under the Department of Homeland Security now, and has been under fire multiple times from the Mexican drug gangs. It may be that the DHS has decided that armored trucks are necessary for the safety of Border Patrol patrols along the Mexican border and is procuring some. But if so, there has been no contract let yet, unless that happened in the past week -- and certainly no vehicles have rolled off the lines yet, despite any photoshops supposedly proving otherwise.
-- Badtux the Un-paranoid Penguin