FBI reaches out to farmers to prevent agroterrorism
The FBI has been reaching out to help farmers and food processors recognize potential threats to their products and businesses. Scott Mahloch is an FBI Special Agent with the Weapons of Mass Destruction unit in Milwaukee, and he attended World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin recently. Mahloch says, “I was able to talk to a lot of farmers, and a lot of family farmers, and they didn’t realize that the FBI has a role when it comes to agricultural defense and agroterrorism, and really, the WMD program as a whole, so it was a great way to spread our message and talk to that audience.”
Mahloch tells Brownfield potential agroterrorism threats like the intentional adulteration of food or water, or disrupting an agricultural practice can come from almost anywhere or anyone, but the danger is often inside the farm or business. “That insider threat can take the form of many things. It’s that disgruntled employee, it’s somebody that’s maybe having money issues or family issues, or religion might come into play there as well.”
Mahloch says the FBI works with front-line managers to help them recognize certain behaviors that can tip them off to an insider threat. He also suggests farmers take steps to secure their stored products like milk, feed, and chemicals, and take time to properly vet potential new employees.
Mahloch says the FBI often works with state and federal regulatory agencies when investigating incidents or potential threats.