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PROTECTING AMERICA FROM AGROTERRORISM
With Partnerships Across the Land

05/11/05

International Symposium on Agroterrorism logoOur nation's food supply has never been directly attacked by terrorists...and we hope it never will be. But can we afford to sit back and do nothing?

Absolutely not.

... Not with al Qaeda interested in crop dusting and other ways to poison our food.
... Not with environmental extremists already targeting labs and universities researching the next generation of food and plants.
... Not with the health of the nation and a trillion dollar agricultural industry at stake.

All of which is why the FBI—working closely with a range of public and private sector partners—is taking concrete steps to prevent agroterrorism, outlined by Director Mueller last week at the first-ever International Symposium on Agroterrorism in Kansas City, Missouri.

A few specific initiatives and partnerships he highlighted:

  • The Agriculture Intelligence Group. A high-level group of government experts who get together regularly to discuss food security and partner their combined skills, technology, and resources.
  • Scientific Working Groups (Swigs), or FBI scientists working with their counterparts around the country on specific issues. Take, for example, one Swig analyzing animal and plant pathogens down to the DNA level to distinguish between deliberate and naturally occurring pathogens.
  • AgriGard. A secure web portal that lets the agricultural community share information and suspicious activities with each other and with scientists, state and local law enforcement, and the FBI.
  • The conference itself! Sponsored by the Bureau and led by the Heart of America Joint Terrorism Task Force, it brought together under one roof over 400 U.S. and international professionals and experts—from epidemiologists to veterinarians, from academicians to livestock and food security experts.

The upshot? A happier and more constructive marriage of science, industry, and government gives us better intelligence and buys us valuable time. If a terrorist is cooking up a chemical, we've got a better chance of finding out. And if an attack does occur, we can assess the threat and identify the pathogen in hours instead of days.

We urge you to read the full speech for all the details, including recent cases and specifics on how we investigate threats. And visit our counterterrorism website and story and issues page for more details on how we're changing to better protect the nation from terrorist attacks.