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Tactics Used by Eco-Terrorists to Detect and Thwart Law Enforcement Operations


This assessment was prepared by the Counterterrorism and Cyber Divisions of the FBI. Comments and queries may be addressed to the Unit Chief, Domestic Terrorism Analysis Unit at (202) 324-8664.
Intelligence Assessment April 12, 2004

(U) Environmental extremists consistently study and disseminate the methods, tactics, and
legal guidelines under which law enforcement officials operate in an effort to expose law
enforcement undercover agents, sources, and cooperating witnesses. Literature appearing in
print form or on websites sympathetic to the Animal Liberation Front (ALF), Earth Liberation Front
(ELF), Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC), and anarchist groups provides detailed
instructional material on a variety of topics, including ways to evade and/or thwart law enforcement
(U) One of the earliest examples of this type of instructional material is David Foreman's Eco-
Defense: A Field Guide to Monkeywrenching, segments of which continue to circulate on the
Internet within the anarchist and radical environmentalist communities. Foreman was a founding
member of Earth First in the 1980s. Despite being written in 1985, the book is still referenced by
anarchists and animal rights/environmental extremists as a useful "how-to" manual.

(U) Law enforcement officials should be particularly cognizant of the sections of Eco-Defense that
deal with the identification of undercover law enforcement officers, confidential informants, and
cooperating witnesses. Among the admonishments listed in the book are the following:
"Monkeywrenchers" (a term used to designate saboteurs) are urged to "study who has access
to information now believed to be in the hands of the police" and "notice anyone who
suddenly attempts to distance themselves [sic]."
Foreman's book notes, "often a confidential informant is used to introduce the infiltrator to
the group so that she will be more readily accepted." Thus, law enforcement officials should
recognize that merely using an existing source to gain access for an undercover agent/officer
might not be sufficient for establishing the officer's credibility.
Eco-Defense warns that potential undercover officers may "assume roles outside the target
organization" that could increase access for the officer. The book further advises, "a
favorite is to pass themselves off as writers or members of the news media, or even as
someone hoping to produce a documentary for public access television." Eco-Defense also
suggests that undercover agents may pose as defense attorneys in an effort to gather
information from recently arrested activists.
The book also asserts that undercover agents frequently pose as utility workers or phone
company repairmen for the purpose of gaining access to a suspect's living quarters. The
book asserts that, once access is obtained, the agent is free to plant listening devices or
observe illegal activities to justify a search warrant. The book advises readers to demand
identification and verify the repairman's legitimacy.
Finally, Eco-Defense warns incarcerated activists that "jailhouse snitches" may seek
information for law enforcement authorities.
(U) Eco-Defense offers several ways to detect law enforcement sources or undercover officers,
including applying strict operational security measures in preparation for acts of eco-terrorism. The
book cautions activists to compartmentalize operational plans and to limit foreknowledge of the
target to one person within the cell, revealing the target only en route to the action. The book
further admonishes that "in such cases, be suspicious of someone who suddenly has to make a
phone call after learning the target or other plans...suffice it to say that such operations should only
be undertaken by small groups of people who have known each other for years and have previously
operated together."
(U) With individuals suspected of being an informant or undercover agent, the book recommends a
tactic known as "baiting" - essentially providing the suspected agent/informant with singular
information designed to provoke a law enforcement response. Specifically, the book suggests
concocting a fictional future attack and providing the details of the attack to the suspected
informant/agent. According to Eco-Defense, "if the suspected undercover agent is the only one
provided with this information, and the police make the appropriate response, you have reasonable
proof that the 'suspect' is indeed an agent." The book suggests that this process can be employed
against several people at one time by providing each individual with similar, but slightly different
information, asserting that the law enforcement response will indicate which individual is acting as
an informant/undercover agent.
(U) Eco-Defense identifies additional methods by which informants or undercover officers may
expose themselves, including:
Seeking information for which they have no need to know.
Attempting to get people to repeat previous incriminating statements, ostensibly to record
the statements.
Casting suspicion on others to divert suspicion from themselves.
Volunteering for clerical or leadership roles within an organization in hopes of gaining
access to information about the group.
Showing nervousness during an action.
Leaving meetings or actions briefly to make phone calls.
Probing for detailed information (e.g. names, times, dates, locations, etc.) indicating that an
informant/agent may be taping the conversation.
Repeatedly discussing illegal activities even after conversation has shifted to unrelated
Regularly inquiring about individuals believed to be leaders of a group.
Expressing particularly radical or inflammatory ideas.
(U) To thwart the efforts of law enforcement officials - specifically undercover operations and
confidential sources - the book provides several tips to current or prospective eco-extremists:
Activists are urged to follow a "need-to-know" rule in which detailed information regarding
planned direct actions is compartmentalized and restricted to the individuals involved in the
Activists are advised that when an individual within the group expresses reservations about a
specific direct action, that individual should be removed from the direct action cell. This
removal should be done gradually without destroying personal bonds to the individual,
thereby reducing the individual's incentive to retaliate by cooperating with law enforcement
The book cautions activists to be leery of individuals that introduce new members to the
group and then suddenly disassociate themselves from the organization. The suggestion is
that the new member may be an undercover agent and that the existing member may in fact
be a law enforcement informant.
Similarly, activists are advised to be suspicious of group members that are arrested for
criminal charges with no connection to the group's goals or objectives. For instance,
individuals arrested on drug charges become vulnerable to law enforcement recruitment with
promises of leniency in return for cooperation.
Finally, activists are encouraged to sever any contacts with the so-called "criminal element,"
such as violent gangs or drug-traffickers, warning that such groups are "teeming" with law
enforcement informants.
(U) In addition to the methods and tactics discussed above, eco-terrorists promote and follow strict
operational security with respect to communications, employing encryption in electronic
communications and avoiding telephonic conversations about criminal activity. Eco-Defense also
illustrates that eco-extremists are aware of traditional law enforcement investigative techniques,
including analysis of telephone records, mail covers, vehicle tracking, and consensual recordings.
(U) Eco-Defense is merely one of the many documents within the eco-extremist movement
demonstrating the movement's in-depth study and knowledge of law enforcement techniques and
methods of operation. By closely scrutinizing potential informants and undercover agents, eco-
terrorists are more capable of thwarting successful law enforcement penetration. Law enforcement
officials should be cognizant of the above-mentioned tactics, and recognize that eco-terrorists
closely study law enforcement tactics, procedures, and policies. As a result, creative undercover
scenarios must be carefully planned and adequately backstopped.
This assessment was prepared by the Counterterrorism and Cyber Divisions of the FBI. Comments and queries may be
addressed to the Unit Chief, Domestic Terrorism Analysis Unit at (202) 324-8664.
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It sounds like they ... 30.Jan.2009 15:43

Tracy Mapes news1st@hotmail.com

Recited the Monkeywrenching Book?

... never denied it was all completely true,
and then put their name on it, and called it their work?

With the severe and pervasive acceptance of corruption in
this country, and more specifically law-enforcement's depth
of cohabitation and furtherance of the underlying criminal
enterprise, I would like to see a move away from labeling
dissenters or dissidents "ECO", or "Animal Right", and move
toward, "Inalienable Rights."

This, because, how in the hell can you concentrate on only
animal or environmental issues when they've stolen your very
Right to even exist as an autonomous and free willed being?

Information sharing by all groups should become like the
government model, seamless information sharing, and when one
of the weasels is ferreted out, should be targeted for prosecution.

And, If the corrupt system that harbors them refuses to respond?,
direct action against the individual or supporting agency should
be taken into consideration. If they have destroyed all of your
protections held so high by the papers All were Sworn to Uphold?

...What Law is There?

The Government uses Law as a Blanket to protect itself from the
very Fires they have set through their actions or inactions in
response to the Social Acceptability of said Corruption. They
were supposed to be "Our" Line of Defense, but yet have only
become the Arbiters of organized crime.

Basically a protection racket with no regard for the ordinary
citizen. You are already at War. And they created it with false
scenarios and evidence developed to fit the preconceived concoctions
of who their enemy would look like.

And if you don't look like the presently described enemy, they have
the resource to corrupt your friends, neighbors and family until you

They've made hell on Earth a reality with all of their high minded and
righteous intention. Smothered you, me, and soon to be themselves in
their self-glorification. The Fucked This Country Over Something Serious.

And We Sure in Hell should start making them pay for it. Either in Redemption
of making it Right, or with their Lives.