Hot Document

Terrorism: The Slide Show

The Homeland Infrastructure Threat and Risk Analysis Center, a division of the Department of Homeland Security, collects data and analyzes terrorist threats to various assets and resources, including food and agriculture. Below and on the following nine pages are excerpts from the risk analysis center’s PowerPoint briefing for an Agriculture Department workshop in September.

According to the briefing, the government lacks adequate information about terrorist threats. There is “no baseline to evaluate” and “incomplete data,” and what data exist are often inconsistent (Page 6) and difficult to analyze (Page 7). The presentation cites previous false alarms such as an incorrect report that a stolen Home Depot truck was loaded with ammonium nitrate (it wasn’t) and a threat on Montana’s Fort Peck Dam that turned out to be the product of one citizen’s supposed psychic vision (Page 8).

One bulleted slide warns, Al-Qaida documents and training manuals indicate interest “in animal and plant disease agents” and “in food contamination as an attack method” (Page 4). But the slide show concedes that Homeland Security “lacks credible information to indicate transnational terrorist planning for an attack” on the food and agriculture sector (Page 10). It’s hard to know what to make of this conclusion, given that the risk-analysis center has already acknowledged that its information is woefully incomplete.

The Agriculture Department briefly posted a link to the 27-page document but has now removed it. A video of the presentation remains on the Agriculture Department’s Web site. The slides were copied onto, where they remain available.

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