Feds Critical Of Indiana's Large Terror Target List

Popcorn Factory, Petting Zoo Among Reported Assets

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is criticizing Indiana for submitting items such as a rural popcorn factory, a petting zoo and a flea market for a federal database of potential terrorism targets, 6News' Ericka Flye reported Wednesday.

Indiana leaders submitted nearly 9,000 places or events -- more than any other state -- for the database, which the federal government intends to use to allocate anti-terrorism money.

In an audit of states' lists, the federal Department of Homeland Security said some submissions didn't readily appear to be natural terrorist targets. Indiana was one of the states criticized in the report.

Pam Bright, spokeswoman for Indiana's homeland security department, said she found the federal government's criticism disturbing. She said that when the U.S. requested a list in 2004, Indiana went with a broad definition of "assets," interpreting them to be not only places where terrorists might attack, but also places that would play an essential role during any type of disaster.

"I don't think there was a clarification as to what assets were, so every state had a different version of what they were supposed to submit," Bright said.

Bright said that when Indiana submitted its list, it treated it "as an asset database for the state of Indiana, not a terrorist attack list of critical infrastructure that terrorists might attack."

"If there's a tornado that would hit in a very small rural community here in Indiana, their assets are different than what Indianapolis' assets are, and that's where you come into the little diners (and) the little ice cream shops," Bright said.

As it stands now, one of every nine assets in the federal database is in Indiana.

In the audit, federal Homeland Security Inspector General Richard Skinner recommends removing the most insignificant sites from the database and providing states better guidelines about what assets to submit.

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