Testimony of James F. Jarboe, Domestic Terrorism Section
Chief, Counterterrorism Division, FBI
the House Resources Committee, Subcommittee on Forests and
February 12, 2002
"The Threat of Eco-Terrorism"
morning Chairman McInnis, Vice-Chairman Peterson, Congressman
Inslee and Members of the Subcommittee. I am pleased to
the opportunity to appear before you and discuss the threat
posed by eco-terrorism, as well as the measures being
by the FBI and our law enforcement partners to address this
divides the terrorist threat facing the United States into
two broad categories, international and domestic. International
terrorism involves violent acts or acts dangerous to human
life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United
States or any state, or that would be a criminal violation
if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States
or any state. Acts of international terrorism are intended
to intimidate or coerce a civilian population, influence the
policy of a government, or affect the conduct of a government.
These acts transcend national boundaries in terms of the means
by which they are accomplished, the persons they appear intended
to intimidate, or the locale in which perpetrators operate.
terrorism is the unlawful use, or threatened use, of violence
by a group or individual based and operating entirely within
the United States (or its territories) without foreign direction,
committed against persons or property to intimidate or coerce
a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof,
in furtherance of political or social objectives.
the past decade we have witnessed dramatic changes in the
nature of the terrorist threat. In the 1990s, right-wing extremism
overtook left-wing terrorism as the most dangerous domestic
terrorist threat to the country. During the past several years,
special interest extremism, as characterized by the Animal
Liberation Front (ALF) and the Earth Liberation Front (ELF),
has emerged as a serious terrorist threat. Generally, extremist
groups engage in much activity that is protected by constitutional
guarantees of free speech and assembly. Law enforcement becomes
involved when the volatile talk of these groups transgresses
into unlawful action. The FBI estimates that the ALF/ELF have
committed more than 600 criminal acts in the United States
since 1996, resulting in damages in excess of 43 million dollars.
interest terrorism differs from traditional right-wing and
left-wing terrorism in that extremist special interest groups
seek to resolve specific issues, rather than effect widespread
political change. Special interest extremists continue to
conduct acts of politically motivated violence to force segments
of society, including the general public, to change attitudes
about issues considered important to their causes. These groups
occupy the extreme fringes of animal rights, pro-life, environmental,
anti-nuclear, and other movements. Some special interest extremists
-- most notably within the animal rights and environmental
movements -- have turned increasingly toward vandalism and
terrorist activity in attempts to further their causes.
1977, when disaffected members of the ecological preservation
group Greenpeace formed the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
and attacked commercial fishing operations by cutting drift
nets, acts of "eco-terrorism" have occurred around
the globe. The FBI defines eco-terrorism as the use or threatened
use of violence of a criminal nature against innocent victims
or property by an environmentally-oriented, subnational group
for environmental-political reasons, or aimed at an audience
beyond the target, often of a symbolic nature.
years, the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) has become one of
the most active extremist elements in the United States. Despite
the destructive aspects of ALF's operations, its operational
philosophy discourages acts that harm "any animal, human
and nonhuman." Animal rights groups in the United States,
including the ALF, have generally adhered to this mandate.
The ALF, established in Great Britain in the mid-1970s, is
a loosely organized movement committed to ending the abuse
and exploitation of animals. The American branch of the ALF
began its operations in the late 1970s. Individuals become
members of the ALF not by filing paperwork or paying dues,
but simply by engaging in "direct action" against
companies or individuals who utilize animals for research
or economic gain. "Direct action" generally occurs
in the form of criminal activity to cause economic loss or
to destroy the victims' company operations. The ALF activists
have engaged in a steadily growing campaign of illegal activity
against fur companies, mink farms, restaurants, and animal
of damage and destruction in the United States claimed by
the ALF during the past ten years, as compiled by national
organizations such as the Fur Commission and the National
Association for Biomedical Research (NABR), put the fur industry
and medical research losses at more than 45 million dollars.
The ALF is considered a terrorist group, whose purpose is
to bring about social and political change through the use
of force and violence.
environmentalists, in 1980, formed a radical group called
"Earth First!" and engaged in a series of protests
and civil disobedience events. In 1984, however, members introduced
"tree spiking" (insertion of metal or ceramic spikes
in trees in an effort to damage saws) as a tactic to thwart
logging. In 1992, the ELF was founded in Brighton, England,
by Earth First! members who refused to abandon criminal acts
as a tactic when others wished to mainstream Earth First!.
In 1993, the ELF was listed for the first time along with
the ALF in a communique declaring solidarity in actions between
the two groups. This unity continues today with a crossover
of leadership and membership. It is not uncommon for the ALF
and the ELF to post joint declarations of responsibility for
criminal actions on their web-sites. In 1994, founders of
the San Francisco branch of Earth First! published in The
Earth First! Journal a recommendation that Earth First! mainstream
itself in the United States, leaving criminal acts other than
unlawful protests to the ELF.
advocates "monkeywrenching," a euphemism for acts
of sabotage and property destruction against industries and
other entities perceived to be damaging to the natural environment.
"Monkeywrenching" includes tree spiking, arson,
sabotage of logging or construction equipment, and other types
of property destruction. Speeches given by Jonathan Paul and
Craig Rosebraugh at the 1998 National Animal Rights Conference
held at the University of Oregon, promoted the unity of both
the ELF and the ALF movements. The ELF posted information
on the ALF website until it began its own website in January
2001, and is listed in the same underground activist publications
as the ALF.
destructive practice of the ALF/ELF is arson. The ALF/ELF
members consistently use improvised incendiary devices equipped
with crude but effective timing mechanisms. These incendiary
devices are often constructed based upon instructions found
on the ALF/ELF websites. The ALF/ELF criminal incidents often
involve pre-activity surveillance and well-planned operations.
Members are believed to engage in significant intelligence
gathering against potential targets, including the review
of industry/trade publications, photographic/video surveillance
of potential targets, and posting details about potential
targets on the internet.
and the ELF have jointly claimed credit for several raids
including a November 1997 attack of the Bureau of Land Management
wild horse corrals near Burns, Oregon, where arson destroyed
the entire complex resulting in damages in excess of four
hundred and fifty thousand dollars and the June 1998 arson
attack of a U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal Damage Control
Building near Olympia, Washington, in which damages exceeded
two million dollars. The ELF claimed sole credit for the October
1998, arson of a Vail, Colorado, ski facility in which four
ski lifts, a restaurant, a picnic facility and a utility building
were destroyed. Damage exceeded $12 million. On 12/27/1998,
the ELF claimed responsibility for the arson at the U.S. Forest
Industries Office in Medford, Oregon, where damages exceeded
five hundred thousand dollars. Other arsons in Oregon, New
York, Washington, Michigan, and Indiana have been claimed
by the ELF. Recently, the ELF has also claimed attacks on
genetically engineered crops and trees. The ELF claims these
attacks have totaled close to $40 million in damages.
of a group called the Coalition to Save the Preserves (CSP),
surfaced in relation to a series of arsons that occurred in
the Phoenix, Arizona, area. These arsons targeted several
new homes under construction near the North Phoenix Mountain
Preserves. No direct connection was established between the
CSP and ALF/ELF. However, the stated goal of CSP to stop development
of previously undeveloped lands, is similar to that of the
ELF. The property damage associated with the arsons has been
estimated to be in excess of $5 million.
has developed a strong response to the threats posed by domestic
and international terrorism. Between fiscal years 1993 and
2003, the number of Special Agents dedicated to the FBI's
counterterrorism programs grew by approximately 224 percent
to 1,669 -- nearly 16 percent of all FBI Special Agents. In
recent years, the FBI has strengthened its counterterrorism
program to enhance its abilities to carry out these objectives.
among law enforcement agencies at all levels represents an
important component of a comprehensive response to terrorism.
This cooperation assumes its most tangible operational form
in the Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTFs) that are established
in 44 cities across the nation. These task forces are particularly
well-suited to responding to terrorism because they combine
the national and international investigative resources of
the FBI with the street-level expertise of local law enforcement
agencies. Given the success of the JTTF concept, the FBI has
established 15 new JTTFs since the end of 1999. By the end
of 2003 the FBI plans to have established JTTFs in each of
its 56 field offices. By integrating the investigative abilities
of the FBI and local law enforcement agencies, these task
forces represent an effective response to the threats posed
to U.S. communities by domestic and international terrorists.
and our law enforcement partners have made a number of arrests
of individuals alleged to have perpetrated acts of eco-terrorism.
Several of these individuals have been successfully prosecuted.
Following the investigation of the Phoenix, Arizona, arsons
noted earlier, Mark Warren Sands was indicted and arrested
on 6/14/2001. On 11/07/2001, Sands pleaded guilty to ten counts
of extortion and using fire in the commission of a federal
2001, teenagers Jared McIntyre, Matthew Rammelkamp, and George
Mashkow all pleaded guilty, as adults, to title 18 U.S.C.
844(i), Arson, and 844(n), Arson Conspiracy. These charges
pertain to a series of arsons and attempted arsons of new
home construction sites in Long Island, New York. An adult,
Connor Cash, was also arrested on February 15, 2001, and charged
under the same federal statutes. Jared McIntrye stated that
these acts were committed in sympathy of the ELF movement.
The New York Joint Terrorism Task Force played a significant
role in the arrest and prosecution of these individuals.
Frank Ambrose was arrested by officers of the Department of
Natural Resources with assistance from the Indianapolis JTTF,
on a local warrant out of Monroe County Circuit Court, Bloomington,
Indiana, charging Ambrose with timber spiking. Ambrose is
suspected of involvement in the spiking of approximately 150
trees in Indiana state forests. The ELF claimed responsibility
for these incidents.
16, 1998, a federal grand jury in the Western District of
Wisconsin indicted Peter Young and Justin Samuel for Hobbs
Act violations as well as for animal enterprise terrorism.
Samuel was apprehended in Belgium, and was subsequently extradited
to the United States. On August 30, 2000, Samuel pleaded guilty
to two counts of animal enterprise terrorism and was sentenced
on November 3, 2000, to two years in prison, two years probation,
and ordered to pay $364,106 in restitution. Samuel's prosecution
arose out of his involvement in mink releases in Wisconsin
in 1997. This incident was claimed by the ALF. The investigation
and arrest of Justin Samuel were the result of a joint effort
by federal, state, and local agencies.
20, 1997, Douglas Joshua Ellerman turned himself in and admitted
on videotape to purchasing, constructing, and transporting
five pipe bombs to the scene of the March 11, 1997, arson
at the Fur Breeders Agricultural co-op in Sandy, Utah. Ellerman
also admitted setting fire to the facility. Ellerman was indicted
on June 19, 1997 on 16 counts, and eventually pleaded guilty
to three. He was sentenced to seven years in prison and restitution
of approximately $750,000. Though this incident was not officially
claimed by ALF, Ellerman indicated during an interview subsequent
to his arrest that he was a member of ALF. This incident was
investigated jointly by the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco and Firearms (ATF).
Adam Coronado was convicted for his role in the February 2,
1992, arson at an animal research laboratory on the campus
of Michigan State University. Damage estimates, according
to public sources, approached $200,000 and included the destruction
of research records. On July 3, 1995, Coronado pled guilty
for his role in the arson and was sentenced to 57 months in
federal prison, three years probation, and restitution of
more than $2 million. This incident was claimed by ALF. The
FBI, ATF, and the Michigan State University police played
a significant role in the investigation, arrest, and prosecution.
Leslie Davis, Margaret Katherine Millet, Marc Andre Baker,
and Ilse Washington Asplund were all members of the self-proclaimed
"Evan Mecham Eco-Terrorist International Conspiracy"
(EMETIC). EMETIC was formed to engage in eco-terrorism against
nuclear power plants and ski resorts in the southwestern United
States. In November 1987, the group claimed responsibility
for damage to a chairlift at the Fairfield Snow Bowl Ski Resort
near Flagstaff, Arizona. Davis, Millet, and Baker were arrested
in May 1989 on charges relating to the Fairfield Snow Bowl
incident and planned incidents at the Central Arizona Project
and Palo Verde nuclear generating stations in Arizona; the
Diablo Canyon Nuclear Facility in California; and the Rocky
Flats Nuclear Facility in Colorado. All pleaded guilty and
were sentenced in September 1991. Davis was sentenced to six
years in federal prison, and restitution to the Fairfield
Snow Bowl Ski Resort in the amount of $19,821. Millet was
sentenced to three years in federal prison, and restitution
to Fairfield in the amount of $19,821. Baker was sentenced
to one year in federal prison, five months probation, a $5,000
fine, and 100 hours of community service. Asplund was also
charged and was sentenced to one year in federal prison, five
years probation, a $2,000 fine, and 100 hours of community
more than 26 FBI field offices have pending investigations
associated with ALF/ELF activities. Despite all of our efforts
(increased resources allocated, JTTFs, successful arrests
and prosecutions), law enforcement has a long way to go to
adequately address the problem of eco-terrorism. Groups such
as the ALF and the ELF present unique challenges. There is
little if any hierarchal structure to such entities. Eco-terrorists
are unlike traditional criminal enterprises which are often
structured and organized.
investigating such groups is demonstrated by the fact that
law enforcement has thus far been unable to effect the arrests
of anyone for some recent criminal activity directed at federal
land managers or their offices. However, there are several
ongoing investigations regarding such acts. Current investigations
include the 10/14/2001 arson at the Bureau of Land Management
Wild Horse and Burro Corral in Litchfield, California, the
7/20/2000 destruction of trees and damage to vehicles at the
U.S. Forestry Science Laboratory in Rhinelander, Wisconsin,
and the 11/29/1997 arson at the Bureau of Land Management
Corral in Burns, Oregon.
Before closing, I would like to acknowledge the cooperation
and assistance rendered by the U.S. Forest Service in investigating
incidents of eco-terrorism. Specifically, I would like to
recognize the assistance that the Forest Service is providing
with regard to the ongoing investigation of the 7/20/2000
incident of vandalism and destruction that occurred at the
U.S. Forestry Science Laboratory in Rhinelander, Wisconsin.
and all of our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners
will continue to strive to address the difficult and unique
challenges posed by eco-terrorists. Despite the recent focus
on international terrorism, we remain fully cognizant of the
full range of threats that confront the United States.
McInnis and Members of the Subcommittee, this concludes my
prepared remarks. I would like to express appreciation for
your concentration on the issue of eco-terrorism and I look
forward to responding to any questions.