Intel to Work Against Eco-Terrorists
the Federal Bureau of Investigation
In early 2006,
eco-terrorist Eric McDavid and two associates met in a secluded
cabin in Dutch Flat, California to discuss making improvised explosive
devices and to choose targets to bomb. Soon after, they began casing
the targeted facilities and buying supplies to make bombs. But
before they started mixing the ingredients, we swooped in and arrested
culprits of this $12 million arson at a Vail, Colorado
ski resort were caught and convicted.
How did we know what McDavid was up to? How were we able to
prevent attacks that could have caused thousands or millions
of dollars in property damage and possibly harmed people?
In a word, intelligence.
Our intelligence—which included the use of an FBI source
who was actually with McDavid and his associates inside that
California cabin—allowed us to piece together the entire
plot ahead of time.
we have greatly strengthened our ability to identify, collect,
analyze, and share intelligence
across all of our national
security and criminal priorities. And that has carried over into
our investigations of violence and terror committed in the name
of the environment—as well as of animal rights.
eco-terrorists and animal rights extremists are one of the
most serious domestic terrorism threats in the
several good reasons:
ELF and ALF
are probably the names you’re most familiar with. The
Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) are
movements whose adherents engage in crimes like arson, fire bombings,
vandalism, intimidation, assaults, stalking, etc. No membership dues
only way to become a “member” is to engage in “direct
activity designed to cause economic loss or destroy the victim company’s
So what are
we doing to counter the threat? For one, we’ve
mapped our environmental and animal rights extremism cases in
order to give our investigators around the country and our executive
management a big-picture look at what’s happening and where.
We’re also analyzing information from financial records,
phone records, and mail…and working to increase our human
source reporting. And we’re sharing intelligence with our
partners through our Joint Terrorism Task Forces and other investigative
endeavors. Sharing info with our partners, particularly at the
local level, is crucial because many times they’re the
first ones at the crime scene.
also taking advantage of the 2006 revision to the Animal Enterprise
Terrorism Act, which toughened
additional protections for people (the original law only covered
property damage), and included secondary targets (often times
companies that do business with primary targets are themselves
have paid off—since 2005, our
investigations have resulted in indictments against 30 individuals.
Of course, fully cognizant of the right to free speech, we investigate
all animal rights and environmental extremism cases in strict
accordance with the law and our guidelines.
So whatever happened to Eric McDavid? In May, he was sentenced
to nearly 20 years in federal prison.