Why Is Indiana Popcorn Factory on Terror Target List?

AP Photo: ROBERT SCHEER / The Star
AP Photo: ROBERT SCHEER / The Star

The Old McDonald Petting Zoo in Woodville, Ala., doesn't seem like a target for terrorists.

"No one would strike here because we're so remote," said Sherry Lewis, co-owner of the farm.

But this farm filled with goats, bunnies and roosters is in the Homeland Security Database, a list of 77,000 possible terror targets that includes power plants, bridges and stadiums.

That's not the only unlikely potential target on the list. Others include the Annual Mule Day Parade in Tennessee and the peaceful, historic Bok Sanctuary in Florida, an 80-acre garden.

Many people who live in these communities and work at some of the "targets" on the list are bewildered.

"I have absolutely no idea how we may have gotten on that list," said Robert Sullivan, president of the Bok Sanctuary.

And at the Anti-Cruelty Society in Chicago, Courtney Kieba said, "We're pretty sure the dogs are not sharing terrorist secrets here at the society."

List Riles Other States

But this list of terror targets is no joke. The database is used by the Department of Homeland Security to dole out hundreds of millions of dollars in anti-terrorism grant money.

When the department recently cut funding to Washington, D.C., and New York City by 40 percent, many accused the department of distributing funds based on politics, not need.

"I think some places clearly padded their lists," said New York's Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer. "There were no real standards."

The state on the list with the most potential targets? Indiana, with 8,500 sites - more than New York or California.

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

One Indiana business on that list is Brian Lehman's popcorn company in rural Berne.

"I think it's funny," Lehman said. "I think it's some kind of mistake."

The popcorn business is basically a barn in a cornfield with five employees.

"The last news people who were looking for us drove right by us," Lehman said. "They couldn't find us."

Source:ABC News