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No Food, No Drink If Agroterrorism Hits USA
Written: July 20, 2012

Agents in training on the FBI Academy firing range

Agents in training on the FBI Academy firing range (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This brave new world ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.  Did you know that in July 2006, the Federal Bureau of Investigation created a Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate?  According to the FBI’sWMDD, its mission is to:

build a cohesive and coordinated approach to incidents involving nuclear, radiological, biological, or chemical weapons—with an overriding focus on prevention.

To do its job, the WMDD proactively seeks out and relies upon intelligence to drive preparedness, countermeasures, and investigations designed to keep threats from becoming reality. . .

That scares the crap out of me. Even worse, now that I know there’s an FBI WMDD, I’m sort of wondering about what may have already happened that that we don’t know about — and how close some plots may have come to achieving their goals.  Some of those questions may be answered at the upcoming August 1 and 2 Multi-Sector Infrastructure Protection and Threat Workshop , which is hosted by:

  • FBI,
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Water SecurityDivision;
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture; the Food and Drug Administration;
  • Food and Agriculture Protection Training Consortium; and
  • Michigan State University

The workshop has been held in other U.S. cities and concentrates on the safety of our water supply and agricultural food chain. More ominously, the FBI gives a presentation on “threats to the water, agriculture, and food sectors from a national perspective and will discuss the threats and vulnerabilities in each sector.”

Threats to water, agriculture, and food.  So, that leaves what?  Can’t drink. Can’t eat. That’s comforting.  While you’re shaking in your boots, consider this lovely nugget from a recent FBI press release on the workshops:

[T]here will be a presentation on establishing private sector/government partnerships to investigate agroterrorism incidents. This will detail the law enforcement response and the regulatory response to a potential attack on the food and agriculture systems and how these responses complement each other in resolving these incidents. The FBI National Joint Terrorism Task force will be discussed as well as the flow of threat information and how information is investigated, evaluated, and disseminated. A Cyber brief covering threats, capabilities related to infrastructure protection, and over-the-horizon advancements will be provided.

Every WMD incident will require a multi-agency response, and there will be a session on the capabilities and capacities in water, food, and agriculture sectors, which will focus on the assets available at the federal, state, and local levels.

Agroterrorism — wow, just the thought of that is frightening.  A few years ago Al Qaeda purportedly was looking into using crop dusters to poison farmlands and there were reports about suspicious folks near reservoirs.  Then there are all sorts of domestic crazies out there who have probably eyed similar projects. The other day, they found needles in sandwiches on international air flights.  What else do we need to look at before we eat it or drink it?

Walk in to your local Whole Foods. Look around. How much of what you see is at risk — like, maybe, everything? Enjoy your morning Starbucks? Where do you think the water comes from to brew your Grande? You ever look at what’s in a Big Mac?  The pickles, lettuce, tomato, and beef could all be agroterrorism targets. Remember your kid’s bowl of cereal this morning?  Kellogg‘s isn’t cloning the corn flakes in a laboratory.  And if this is all too hard to swallow and you’re reaching for the comfort of a nice, cool Bud, maybe you should looks at the ingredients — a lot of grains and water in that bottle.  What if, one day, it’s all a big question mark and nothing is safe anymore?

Maybe I should start stockpiling those protein bars but if the water’s poisoned, what am I washing the stuff down with? Anyone know the shelf life for vodka?

Who knew that I would one day look back with fond nostalgia to my elementary school days when the teacher blew a whistle in the classroom and we all practiced ducking and covering under our desks as a response to the coming nuclear war?  There’s no place to duck and cover if terrorists attack our food and water supplies.  Gotta love this wonderful world we now live in. One thing for certain, this is no laughing matter and I hope that the FBI’s WMDD is up to the task — I’m not sure that you get a second chance with something like agroterrorism.

For more information and to register for the workshop, go tohttp://www.ifpti.org/multisector-threat-workshop.

To learn more about the FBI’s WMDD, visit http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/terrorism/wmd


 
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