With Partnerships Across the Land
Our 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?
... 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
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,
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
- AgriGard. A
secure web portal that lets the agricultural community share
information and suspicious activities with each other and with
and local law enforcement, and the FBI.
- The conference
by the Bureau and led by the Heart of America Joint Terrorism
Task Force, it brought together under one roof over 400 U.S.
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.