Via Wikileaks I recently came across a Department of Homeland Security PowerPoint presentation that was inadvertently posted on November 22, 2007 and removed within days. It is unclassified information, but nonetheless provides some interesting insights into the thought processes prevalent in the DHS during the Bush administration (and perhaps still).
After scrolling through many slides on the risks to oil and gas facilities and military missions in Iraq (one sees here the nation’s priority when it comes to protecting the US from terrorists), one reaches on the 12th of 27 slides a discussion of threats to the “homeland.” At the 15th slide, the discussion turns toward risks to food and agriculture.
The first statement on the topic is
DHS lacks credible information to indicate planning for an attack against the Food and Agriculture sector, but continues to pay great attention to this threat
which seems to be something of a mild smoking gun with regard to NBAF. Much has been made by its supporters of the threat, which is typically described as imminent and real, while perhaps not using those terms. Is is really worth the expense and the risks to build an NBAF when even the DHS cannot present any credible information pointing to a threat?
Perhaps even more disturbingly, the next slide analyzes the danger represented by domestic “animal rights extremists” and “environmental extremists.” While I find the tactics of groups such as PETA and Greenpeace (and smaller groups with similar and perhaps more action-oriented agendas) off-putting, I think we have room in our nation to tolerate a bit of antisocial behavior. If they commit criminal acts, which some do, we have laws against such acts (theft, wanton destruction of property, disturbing the peace, etc.), so why the need to label them extremists and terrorists? Unless something has been hidden from the public, the only “extreme” domestic acts one reads about in the paper are fairly frequent shooter incidents and, of course, the Oklahoma City bombing, none of which have anything remotely to do with animal rights nor the environment.
This is, put simply, making enemies out of thin air. The mindset behind this slideshow frightens me, frankly, as a citizen of a democratic nation. I am not much of a conspiracy theorist, but if PETA et al. already rank as “terrorists” and “extremists,” who will be next?