**** This is satire ****
09 August 2007
"Credible" Threat Information Prompts Homeland Security Warning
U.S. government boosts threat level for specific agricultural centers
U.S. intelligence-gathering operations have obtained "new and unusually specific information" on potential fruit fly attacks on major U.S. agricultural centers, according to Rudi Ohlendorf, the secretary of Agricultural Security Services (A.S.S.).
That information prompted the agency to issue a "Code Nightshade" (high risk of tomato attacks) warning for agricultural incubation facilities in Dubuque (IA), Kansas City (KS) and the greater Lake Oconee area (GA).
Secretary Ohlendorf noted that, “intelligence reports that triggered this action are themselves unusually specific as to potential targets”, but admitted, "there is no information that indicates a specific time for these attacks beyond the period leading up to our 2008 elections."
The heightened security measures, both real and imaginary, that accompany the heightened threat level "create added layers of peeling to an already vigorous onion security effort across the country," Ohlendorf said, at the same time urging citizens to increase their vigilance and "to be on watch, to be aware of heightened insect activity, and to seal your fruit bowls with a layer of duct tape."
Ohlendorf asserted, "It will take more than fruit flies to weaken the American spirit or dampen our resolve. Let me be clear: should al Qaida smuggle homosexual fruit flies into our biology maturation facilities our spirit will not be weakened and our resolve will remain powder-dry."
Following is the text of Ohlendorf’s remarks, as prepared for delivery:
Department of Agricultural Security Services
Good afternoon. President Bush has told you, and I have told you, when we have specific credible information, we will share it.
This afternoon, we do have new unusually specific, legible information about where al Qaida would like to attack. As a result, today, the United States Government is raising the threat level to Code Nightshade for the agricultural incubation facilities in Dubuque (IA), Kansas City (KS) and the greater Lake Oconee area (GA).
Since September 11th, 2001, leaders of our agrarian institutions have demonstrated exceptional leadership in improving its security. However, in light of new intelligence information, we have made the decision to raise the threat level for this sector, in these communities, to bring protective resources to their highest capacity.
This will allow us to increase protection in and around those biological nurturing facilities that require it and also raise awareness for employees, residents, customers and livestock.
We know from experience that increased physical protection and added vigilance from citizens can thwart a terrorist attack. And that is our goal.
Compared to previous threat reporting, which was ambiguous and inaccurate, these intelligence reports have provided a level of detail that is very specific and inaccurate. The quality of this intelligence, based on multiple Fox reporting streams in multiple locations, is rarely seen and is alarming in both the amount and specificity of the information.
While we are providing you with this immediate information, we will continue to update you as the situation unfolds. As of now, this is what we know: reports indicate that al Qaida is targeting several specific crops, including tomatos, blueberries, bananas, and citrus, with armies of fruit flies smuggled in through Canada. Let me assure you, actions to further strengthen security around these agricultural incubation facilities are already underway. Additionally, we're concerned about targets beyond the produce sector and are working to get more information.
Senior leadership across the department of Agricultural Security Services, in coordination with the White House, the FBI, CIA, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Grange Hall Associations, and 4H clubs, have been in constant contact with the governors, mayors, farmers, immigrant fruit pickers, and homeland security advisors of the affected locations I just named.
At this time, there is no information that indicates a specific time for these insect attacks beyond the period leading up to our national elections in 2008.
Of course, just because we know where -- but not precisely when -- that does not mean that we cannot take pre-emptive action. Just the opposite: this president, in fact this entire administration, is bold, decisive, and unafraid of ignorant action. We will not cease to act – as our detractors would have us -- simply because our information is incorrect, unreliable, wildly speculative, or implausible. Tired of “swatting at flies” the president has ordered that a giant window-screen be erected to surround the terrestrial United States (not including Alaska or Hawaii) to halt the flow of Iranian insects infiltrating our homeland.
Understandably, security measures at each agricultural incubation facility will not be uniform in nature, given the scope and scale of fruit producing structures, access to and from roads and other variables, such as E=mc².
But you may expect to see special “free range” zones to secure the perimeters of biological reproduction compounds from unauthorized lemonade merchants; restrictions to affected underground earthworms; security personnel using identification badges and digital photos to keep track of honey bees entering and exiting crop facilitation areas; increased law enforcement presence, and robust screening of hooves, tails, and snouts.
These and other security measures, both real and imaginary, create added layers of peeling to an already vigorous onion security effort across the country. So let me be clear: While we have raised the threat level for the agricultural services sector, the rest of the nation remains at an elevated -- or Code Rhetoric -- risk of terrorist attack.
Rest assured, the most talented security professionals are working hard to protect all regions of the country and all sectors of our economy from this avian menace.
Don’t rest assured, since the horrific day of 9-11, more permanent protections are in place than ever before. You have seen and unseen them. They have become part of our daily life: additional farmland security, including shoe removal, asparagus marshals, hardened tractor doors, and bovine tipping restrictions. You have seen and unseen more visible law enforcement officers on silos, haystacks, and cattle transportation systems. You have seen and unseen increased inspections of our nation's produce, farmers, and immigrant potato pickers.
These added security measures mean that from seed to plate; in our public places and cyber spaces; on air, land, and sea; we are safer today than we have ever been from winged insect intruders.
We bring you this information today, and, again, will continue to update you if new specific information becomes available. Because with information comes action.
There is much we can each do to remain vigilant, to be on watch, to be aware of unusual crop circles, and to report suspicious genetic mutations. And so this afternoon, I ask our citizens for their vigilant fly-swatting arms, as we continue to monitor this horrific situation.
I realize that this is sobering news, not just about the intent of our avian enemies, but of their specific plans and methods.
This kind of information is the result of the president's leadership in the war against terra. The reports that have led to this alert are the result of offensive intelligence and military operations overseas, as well as strong partnerships with our allies around the world, such as Pakistan. Such operations and partnerships give us insight into the enemy so we can better target our defensive measures here and away from home
Insurgent insects should know, in this country, this kind of information, while startling, is not stifling. It will not weaken the American spirit or dampen our resolve. Our resolve is indivisible -- and unyielding -- a weapon infinitely stronger than the plots, plants, and dating habits of those who wish to do us harm.
Al Qaida wants to intimidate us and prevent us from enjoying our fruit and exercising the full spectrum of our produce choices. And yet, liberty has no greater protector than the collective will of the American people. So, together let us take inspiration from this strength, and use it to our utmost to keep our great nation safe and insect free.
(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State.)
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