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9/11 radically redefined America’s perception of the world beyond its borders and the dangers it faces at home. Ever since, the United States has sought to reinvigorate its efforts to secure not only its long land frontiers with Mexico and Canada, but also it hundreds of seaports that are scattered along its thousands of miles of coastline.
Once, America felt secure and isolated from the world, protected by the vast Atlantic and Pacific oceans off both its shores. But now, America feels uniquely exposed to the world’s dangers, with long, porous borders and seaports that appear, in hindsight, remarkably unprotected—and which now are proving exceedingly difficult to secure and defend from the new array of threats in the post 9/11 world, ranging from nuclear and radiological attack to bio/chemical attack.
Deep in America’s heartland—where our country’s vast agricultural system sustains not only the nutritional requirements of nearly 300 million people, but contributes over $50 billion US each year to America’s export-economy—there is a new, lingering worry on our security experts’ minds. This new, dark fear is of a deliberate terror attack of America’s food supply.
Indeed, this fear was recently articulated publicly—and clearly—by outgoing Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Tommy Thompson during a candid question period following the announcement of his resignation on December 3, 2004, during which he shared his grave concern about the possibility of a terrorist attack on the nation's food supply:
"For the life of me, I cannot understand why the terrorists have not attacked our food supply because it is so easy to do."