FBI: Plot to steal seed corn a national security threat

March 30, 2015

Does protecting America's lucrative genetically modified seed corn industry warrant the use of national security laws intended to fight terrorists and government spies?

The FBI says yes, and it has invoked the broader powers afforded by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, to surreptitiously gather evidence against two Chinese siblings accused of plotting to steal patented seed from Iowa cornfields, according to court records.

Stealing hybrid seeds enhanced with traits such as drought resistance doesn't pose the same immediate threat as a suicide bomber, but the FBI treats economic espionage and similar trade secret theft as dangerous threats to national security.

Arty turns 11 this summer.