Things that go bump in the night: Keeping Skippy safe from the Terr’ists

Janet Phelan
Activist Post

According to Randall Larsen, Executive Director of the WMD Center in Washington, DC, the terrorists’ next target may be your peanuts.

Yep, Larsen is staying up at night with the worry beads due to the fact that all the nation’s peanuts are processed at one plant, in North or South Carolina . . . he can’t remember which. According to Larsen, the centralization of this facility provides an easy target for terrorists wielding chemical or biological weapons.

Larsen is a former Colonel in the United States Air Force and is a decorated Vietnam vet.  He is a founding member of the WMD center, a not-for- profit research organization, along with former Senators Bob Graham (D-FL) and Jim Talent (R-MO). Larsen is also the national security advisor at the Center for Biosecurity, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and is a senior fellow at the Homeland Security Policy institute at George Washington University.

In a recent telephone interview, Larsen opined that food terrorism is one the most significant threats faced by the nation.

Larsen also responded to questions about predictions being tendered that we should expect a pandemic by the end of 2013. “Pandemics,” declared Larsen, “run in thirty-forty year cycles. We are overdue.”

In fact, Larsen may have his numbers screwed up. The Spanish flu, which killed 20-40 million people worldwide, made its debut in 1918.  The Asian flu killed about a million people in 1957-58 and only ten years later the Hong Kong flu killed just under a million.

Facts notwithstanding, the predictions persist that 2013 will be the Big One—either in terms of a terrorist attack or a pandemic. Not only have Larsen’s colleagues, Talent and Graham, committed to this perception, but Dr. Daniel Gerstein of the Department of Homeland Security made just such a prediction last December at the Biological Weapons Convention, which took place in Geneva, Switzerland at the United Nations. “We expect a pandemic before the end of 2013,” stated Gerstein.

A pandemic or a biological weapons attack?  Or are they one and the same?

Larsen pooh-poohed the idea that water systems might be a target for a domestic terrorist attack. He stated that, given the amount of pathogen necessary to contaminate a water system, it was highly unlikely that such an effort would be successful.

However, Larsen’s perception is not shared by others in government nor by the scientific community.  Last year, DHS chief Janet Napolitano issued a homeland security warning that dangerous terrorists had infiltrated  utility companies and that the threat of an attack through infrastructure was emergent. 

Her concerns were echoed just last week by Leon Panetta, who was reported in Money News as declaring that “are targeting the computer control systems that operate chemical, electricity and water plants, and those that guide transportation throughout the country,” He went on to say that an aggressor nation or terrorist group could “could contaminate the water supply in major cities, or shut down the power grid across large parts of the country.”

The scientific community is also at odds with Larsen’s assessment of the threat posed by a waterborne attack. A heavily footnoted report by the Congressional Research Service entitled “Terrorism and Security Issues Facing the Water Infrastructure Sector,” “Bioterrorism or chemical attacks could deliver widespread contamination with small amounts of microbiological agents or toxic chemicals, and could endanger the public health of thousands.” (December 15, 2010)

During the course of our phone interview, this reporter suggested to Larsen that the danger posed by vulnerabilities inherent in the very configuration of water systems countrywide might present a compelling concern to those involved in protecting the United States from a terrorist attack. With his permission, this reporter forwarded a report detailing these vulnerabilities, which was submitted to the Critical Infrastructure unit of the Department of Homeland Security last August. The report is reproduced in its entirety, below.

Subject: Per our conversation today–vulnerability to bioterrorism through critical infrastructure
Date: Friday, August 5, 2011, 3:42 PM

I appreciate so much your speaking to me today at the Critical Infrastructure Command Center and taking my verbal report on my concerns as to critical vulnerabilities in the U.S. water systems, as currently configured. It is my understanding that work began sometime in the 1970s and that double lines were installed in cities across America. This has resulted in a critical vulnerability to insider attack   through the water system. As you requested, I am sending you this email with links to articles on this subject.
As I stated in our call, which took place at approximately 5:45 pm ET on August 5, 2011, DHS Chief Janet Napolitano’s concerns that terrorists may have infiltrated utility companies and may intend to launch an attack through water or other utilities may be well founded. In the articles below, you will see where I have interviewed a number of people working in pivotal positions in water systems and have found their responses to be specious and inaccurate. The false and misleading statements made by those named herein clearly attempt to redirect concern away from the very aspects of the water systems which provide the vulnerability to attack double lines and remote controlled valves, which are currently withholding what can potentially be released into the targeted households.
Here are the links to a number of articles I have authored concerning the possibility of bioterrorism in general and the potential use of the water system as a means of attacking selected portions of the U.S. populace. Some of these articles were published in hard copy newspapers and some were published on the Web.  I cannot stress enough the selectivity provided by the system as currently configured.
I will look forward to hearing back from you shortly. I am currently out of the country and you may leave a message for me at 541 603-0514 or you may reach me by email.
Janet Phelan

Larsen’s response was terse and to the point. On September 8, 2012, he sent me this message from his I phone:

“After reading some of your pieces on the Internet about the Patriot Act, I assure you we will have no further conversations or email exchanges. Sorry I wasted your time and mine.”

Well, at least he has locked in on the Skippy terrorism. What a relief. I was beginning to think we might have a problem.

Janet Phelan is an investigative journalist whose articles have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The San Bernardino County Sentinel, The Santa Monica Daily Press, The Long Beach Press Telegram, Oui Magazine and other regional and national publications. Janet specializes in issues pertaining to legal corruption and addresses the heated subject of adult conservatorship, revealing shocking information about the relationships between courts and shady financial consultants. She also covers issues relating to international bioweapons treaties. Her poetry has been published in Gambit, Libera, Applezaba Review, Nausea One and other magazines. Her first book, The Hitler Poems, was published in 2005. She currently resides abroad.  You may browse through her articles (and poetry) at

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