Exclusive Interview: How the FBI Protects America's Food Supply from Terror Threats

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) recently made a sweeping preemptive effort to revamp their protection of U.S. food supplies from intentional contamination for political reasons or terrorist attacks. 

In an exclusive Breitbart News interview, FBI Spokesperson Christopher Allen stated: “Our nation’s food supply has long been considered one of the safest in the world; nevertheless, the potential for attack exists.” 

The FBI’s Allen stated: “As outlined in Homeland Security Presidential Directive 9, the United States agriculture and food systems are vulnerable to disease, pest, or poisonous agents that either occur naturally, are unintentionally introduced, or are intentionally delivered by acts of terrorism.” He added: “America's agriculture and food system is an extensive, open, interconnected, diverse, and complex structure providing potential targets for terrorist attacks.”

“Threats to the food supply exist from both international and domestic groups,” said Allen, in response to whether Al Qaeda-type groups posed the greatest threat or domestic terror groups such as the ALF and ELF (Animal Liberation Front and Earth Liberation Front). These domestic groups have never been accused of contaminating meat or other foods, but they have taken other disruptive steps to reduce consumption of foods they deem are processed in a cruel or environmentally unfriendly manner and sabotage the industries that produce them.

Allen further explained that unintentional instances of large-scale contamination resulting from accidental or negligent means were more of an issue for other federal agencies to address, in that the FBI’s part was to focus on acts of intentional terror committed for political, economic, or other reasons. He stated: “The division of investigative responsibilities between the FBI and the USDA & FDA is marked by the threat or incidence of terrorism.” Allen added: “A matter of negligence would be led by the USDA or FDA.”

The collaborative effort between the USDA, FDA, the FBI, and other agencies was solidified during the administration of President George W. Bush with the Homeland Security Presidential Directive 9. The specific language in the directive stated: “This directive establishes a national policy to defend the agriculture and food system against terrorist attacks, major disasters, and other emergencies.” 

“The establishment of Homeland Security Presidential Directive 9 in 2004 solidified the FBI’s role to coordinate with the Secretaries of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, and the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, to develop and enhance intelligence operations and analysis capabilities focusing on the agriculture, food, and water sectors,” said Allen. “These intelligence capabilities include the collection and analysis of information concerning threats, delivery systems, and methods that could be directed against the agriculture, food, and water sectors.”

The revamping was not due to new specific threats, according to the FBI spokesperson. “Nevertheless,” he stated, “the Department of Justice (DOJ), including the FBI, is authorized to lead counterterrorism and counterintelligence investigations, and related law enforcement activities across the critical infrastructure sectors.” He added: “DOJ has been tasked to investigate, disrupt, prosecute, and otherwise reduce foreign intelligence, terrorist, and other threats to, and actual or attempted attacks on, or sabotage of, the Nation's critical infrastructure, which includes the food and agriculture sector.”

Allen specified the changes occurring now and stated: “Much of Food Defense will be addressed by the FBI’s Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Coordinators. Each of the FBI’s 56 field offices has at least one WMD Coordinator which is charged with investigating chemical, biological, and radiological threats.” He added: “They maintain contact and liaisons with the appropriate stakeholders and understand the scale and science of using the food supply as a weapon of mass effect. At FBI Headquarters, the WMD Directorate and the Laboratory Division are closely integrated into food and agriculture matters.”


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