U.S. Senate Committee Declares
A.L.F. and E.L.F. Top Domestic Terrorism Threats
from No Compromise Issue 27
 

On May 18, the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works held a hearing titled “Oversight on Eco-terrorism specifically examining the Earth Liberation Front (“ELF”) and the Animal Liberation Front (“ALF”).” The result of the hearing was a wide proclamation that the A.L.F. and E.L.F. are the number-one domestic terror threats in the United States.

Hosted by Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), widely regarded as one of the dumbest members of the senate, the hearing offered up little in the way of experts on the subject. Instead, the panel was made up of people like the Center for Consumer Freedom’s David Martosko. Absent from the list of speakers was Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), ranking member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, who was denied the opportunity to speak by Inhofe. Inhofe's refusal to allow Thompson to speak is the only time a member of Congress has been denied permission to testify before a Senate committee when he has formally requested to do so.

While the issue was widely covered in the media with headlines such as “Bunny Huggers #1 Domestic Terror Threat,” the hearing and its contents were widely dismissed by many in Congress, the media, and activist circles as an exaggeration and a distraction from the real threats to domestic security.
The results of the hearing—if any—remain to be seen.

Spotlight: A Closer look at Senator Jim Inhofe

Just who is the senator from Oklahoma that hosted the so-called eco-terrorism hearing? He’s Jim Inhofe, a die-hard Republican and a congressman considered by many to lack the intellect of his peers. Here, we take a glance at Senator Inhofe’s track record:

  • He was elected in 1994 after running on a platform he described as “God, gays, and guns.”
  • In 1997, he blocked the nomination of James Hormel, the first openly-gay ambassadorial nominee.
  • He maintains that global warming and climate change are not caused by humans and that, in fact, natural variability, rather than human influence, is the "overwhelming factor influencing climate."
  • In 1972, as an Oklahoma state senator, he recommended that Jane Fonda and George McGovern be hanged for treason.
  • Inhofe sponsored the Religious Freedom Amendment, which would have required accommodation of religion on all public property, specifically in schools. When queried about how he'd feel when schools would have to let Muslim students pray to Allah five times per day, or to provide vegetarian meals for Buddhists, or to allow Wiccans or Druids to conduct their ceremonies on school property and proselytize other students, Inhofe said that, basically, anything other than Judaism or Christianity isn't a "real" religion and wouldn't be constitutionally protected.

In Their Own Words—Excerpts from the Senate Hearing on Eco-Terrorism

On the Absurdity of labeling animal rights/environmental activists the number one domestic terrorist threat…

“While I appreciate the Chairman’s interest in these fringe groups, I urge the Committee to focus its attention on larger environmental threats, such as the dangerously high blood lead levels in hundreds of thousands of children. With all due respect, Mr. Chairman, I believe the Committee’s time would be better spent learning why EPA has not promulgated regulations to deal with lead paint in remodeled homes.” - Senator Barack Obama

“To date, not a single incident of so-called environmental terrorism has killed anyone.” - Senator Frank Lautenberg

Putting the “Threat” in Perspective…

“We need to keep things in perspective. As I mentioned, the Oklahoma City bombing killed 168 people. The attacks of 9/11 killed 3,000.” - Senator Frank Lautenberg

“I do not want people to think that the threat from these organizations is equivalent to other crimes faced by Americans every day. According to the FBI, there were over 7,400 hate crimes committed in 2003 – half of which racially motivated. More directly relevant to this committee, the FBI reports 450 pending environmental crimes cases involving worker endangerment or threats to public health or the environment.” - Senator Barack Obama

“ELF and ALF may threaten dozens of people each year, but an incident at a chemical, nuclear or wastewater facility would threaten tens of thousands.” - Senator James M. Jeffords

“35 homes under construction in the Maryland subdivision of Hunters Brooke were partially or entirely destroyed by arson in December, 2004. The perpetrators torched the entire subdivision because they believed many of the families who would move in were African American. This arson attack was characterized as 'the worst arson in Maryland history,' and this one incident caused approximately $10 million in damage -- almost 1/10th the damage alleged to have been caused by ALF and ELF -- and all other environmental extremist groups -- in the last 14 years.” - Senator Bennie G. Thompson

On the Accomplishments of the A.L.F…

“On August 1, 2003 ELF torched an apartment building that Garden Communities was building in San Diego, totally destroying the building and causing millions of dollars of damage.” - Mr. Monty McIntyre, Esq., Garden Communities

“ALF vandals spray-painted slogans over several walls and cabinets, destroyed several pieces of expensive laboratory equipment, and generally trashed the entire laboratory causing an estimated $250,000 worth of damage to the property. Research in the laboratory was suspended for about a year as repairs were made . . . [a] second attack resulted in an estimated $30,000 worth of damage to the property. Again, the faculty and staff suffered psychological harm from the fear of their safety due to this incident.” - Senator David Vitter

“From January 1990 to June 2004, animal and environmental rights extremists have claimed credit for more than 1,200 criminal incidents, resulting in millions of dollars in damage and monetary loss.” - John Lewis, Deputy Assistant Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation

“…the total direct costs for the incident are approximately $450,000. The cost for the chemical cleanup, both by our own Health Protection Office and outside contractors, is estimated at $150,000. The cost to our Department of Public Safety, including increased contract-based security on campus, is approximately $25,000, and replacement estimates for equipment and supplies are over $250,000. With this incident prompting a review of all of our security measures, the eventual cost for additional research facility protection will be much more. What cannot be measured in monetary terms is the loss of progress in research.” - David Skorton, University of Iowa President on A.L.F. raid at University

On Avoiding Identification…

“ELF and ALF activists wear gloves during their illegal activity to avoid leaving behind fingerprints, and wear non-descript clothing to include hoods and hats to hide their identity. They are knowledgeable of the implications of DNA evidence. Also, in the event bolt cutters are used during an attack, they are instructed to sharpen the bolt cutters afterwards in order to thwart law enforcement tool mark analysis.” - Carson Carroll, Deputy Assistant Director, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

“Preventing such criminal activity has become increasingly difficult, in large part because extremists in these movements are very knowledgeable about the letter of the law and the limits of law enforcement. Moreover, they are highly autonomous…Extremists of these movements adhere to strict security measures in both their communications and their operations.” - John Lewis, Deputy Assistant Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation