Tigerhawk very kindly linked to my recent post about the joys of single malt whisky, which given that my second cousins often get as many hits in an hour as I generate on a good day means I've enjoyed, to adopt a recent term of art, a temporary surge in readership. A commenter at Tigerhawk offered an unqualified, one word endorsement of Bruichladdich, a product of the only independent Islay distillery and one which commendably still uses its Victorian-era equipment and heritage strains of barley. I haven't had the pleasure of sampling offerings under the Bruichladdich label, but I am greatly intrigued to discover that this Scottish distillery, and perhaps others like it, has attracted the attention of our very own Defense Threat Reduction Agency, which covertly monitored Bruichladdich as a potential security risk because its distilling equipment could also be used to - gasp - make chemical weapons!
The surveillance was revealed by a friendly e-mail from the DTRA inquiring why one of the distillery's own webcams was no longer working. Now I've watched enough MacGyver in my time to know that all it takes is being locked up in a room full of useful materials like duct tape and a swiss army knife to make all sorts of explosive stuff, and apparently so have the ever alert agents of the DTRA because according to Bruichladdich they were told that "'tweaks' to the process flow or equipment, can create something very pleasant (whisky) or deadly (chemical weapons)."
I had no idea. One wonders, however, whether it is just this one little craft whisky outfit that is under the watchful eye of the DTRA or if the terrorist threat goes far deeper? You used to need warrants for this sort of thing in this country, but now who knows who might be peering into Jack Daniels' vats through the company webcams and what they might find there? But surely we can all agree that there is a tragic intelligence flaw of long standing in all this covert activity. You can't sample the product through fiber optic cable. You need assets on the ground! Where do I go to get my clearance? Och, weel, I'll even wear me tam 'o shanter.