Updated with audio: Fracking executive confirms: Homeland Security thinks fracktivists are terrorists


UPDATE: AUDIO now available

According to comments made by Mark Grawe, Chief Operating Officer at EagleRidge Energy (EagleRidge), Denton, Texas residents who object to his company’s reckless operations way too close to their homes, schools and parks are terrorists worthy of inclusion on the Department of Homeland Security’s watch list.

Wednesday night Grawe attended a Home Owners Association meeting in Mansfield where EagleRidge has drilled and fracked several wells very close to a neighborhood, schools and playgrounds.


He appeared at the meeting with a police officer in tow. When a resident asked if the officer was for his protection, Grawe talked about a Barnett Shale Energy Education Council meeting he attended where his industry peers advised him to take security with him to community meetings because “they” have been to meetings where “it escalated.”

I have been to hundreds of fracking meetings but I have yet been to one where anything “escalated.” Sometimes we have carried paper gas mask masks glued to Popsicle sticks. Once in Denton after 4 ½ years of treating the council with respect while they ignored the residents’ wishes, we refused to obey the 3 minute time limit and, one-by-one, were quietly escorted out by a nice police officer. But that’s about as fractious as I’ve seen things get in the Barnett Shale.

Grawe went on to tell the Mansfield residents that some people in Denton are “preaching” civil disobedience and that they are on “the watch list” but not his watch list.

When another resident asked whose watch list, Grawe said “Homeland Security.”

watchlist1The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Watchlist Service (WLS) is a database of known or suspected terrorists compiled by the Terrorists Screening Center (TSC).

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) currently uses the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB), a consolidated database maintained by the Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Investigation Terrorist Screening Center (TSC) of identifying information about those known or reasonably suspected of being involved in terrorist activity in order to facilitate DHS mission-related functions, such as counterterrorism, law enforcement, border security, and inspection activities.

It’s shocking to think that young families, pregnant women and retirees who don’t want to live next to a heavy industrial plant that will decrease their property value, diminish their quality of life and emit hazardous air pollutants that compromise their health would be considered terrorists. But what is more shocking is that Grawe has inside information about who is on the DHS watch list!

If you saw Gasland Part II you will remember that retired Air Force officer, Virginia Cody was a victim of domestic spying by the DHS.

James Powers, Pennsylvania Homeland Security Director contracted with an anti-terrorism contractor, Institute of Terrorism Research and Response (ITRR), to spy on gas drilling opponents. ITRR intercepted communications and tracked group members and their affiliations.

Virginia Cody was a member of Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition (GDAC), a public awareness group, which is the same kind of group as Denton’s Drilling Awareness  Group (DAG). Powers mistakenly sent an email to Cody that made it clear the DHS was supporting the oil and gas industry in trying to squelch opposition.

At the center of the controversy is an e-mail written by the director of the state Homeland Security Office that seemed to take sides in the Marcellus Shale gas-drilling debate.

“We want to continue providing this support to the Marcellus Shale Formation natural gas stakeholders while not feeding those groups fomenting dissent against those same companies,” James F. Powers Jr. wrote in a Sept. 5 e-mail to Virginia Cody, an antidrilling activist in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Philly.com, Rendell’s office releases content of all bulletins on planned protests

Like DAG, GDAC members are not radicals nor do they participate in any illegal activities. Yet they were listed on intelligence bulletins as security threats right along with Al-Qaeda operatives.

Equally shocking was the revelation that the Pennsylvania Department of Homeland Security had distributed those bulletins to local police chiefs, state, federal, and private intelligence agencies, and the security directors of the natural gas companies, as well as industry groups and PR firms. AlterNet, Corporations and Law Enforcement are Spying on Environmentalists.

Pennsylvania State Police’s intelligence unit was not impressed with the quality of information in the bulletins.

“I likened it to reading the National Enquirer. Every so often they have something right, but most of the time it’s unsubstantiated gossip,” George Bivens, director of the state police’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation, testified in a Pennsylvania Senate hearing Monday. ProPublica

Governor Ed Rendell, accepted Powers’ resignation two weeks after the domestic spying news broke. Rendall said he tangled webwas embarrassed by the incident but he failed to apologize.  (Note: Rendell pressured the EPA to drop it’s investigation of water contamination by Range Resources in Parker County, Texas. Parker County is one of three water contamination cases where, despite evidence, the EPA backed away from investigations.)

Adam Briggle, University of North Texas philosophy and religion professor and DAG member  and his student, Ben Kessler an Iraq war veteran were visited by the FBI in early 2012.  The FBI questioned Briggle about an ethics course he was teaching that touched on non-violent civil disobedience. At the same time, Briggle was working with DAG helping to organize Denton residents to advocate for more protective drilling regulations. PegasusNews, UNT Professor, student questioned by FBI.

Kessler had helped organize a peaceful protest in April 2011 outside Range Resources’ offices in Fort Worth. In a Washington Post article the FBI said they acted on an “anonymous complaint.” I blogged previously about the FBI’s harassment of Kessler.

Late 2011, I attended an industry conference where Matt Pitzarella, Range Resources’ Director of Corporate Comms and Public Affairs, admitted Range deploys former military psyops operatives in our neighborhoods, LISTEN. At the same conference, Matt Carmichael, Anadarko Petroleum’s Manager of External Affairs, recommended his peers download the U.S. Army/Marine Corp Counter Insurgency Manual LISTEN, and Michael Kehs, Chesapeake Energy’s VP of Strategic Affairs and Public Relations, called Americans insurgents LISTEN.


The conference also included topics about how to inoculate academics, reporters and lawmakers, the most important, influential members of society, how to align with universities to gain credibility and the importance of tracking the opposition and all their contacts.

Grawe’s statement confirms there is an unholy alliance between the oil and gas industry and our government. But it also shows how deep that alliance goes and the extent of industry’s use of psyops against the American people. If even a third-tier operator like EagleRidge has inside information about who is on the DHS’s Watch List, it’s easy to believe the industry could have influence on who gets added to that watch list.

About Sharon Wilson

Sharon Wilson is considered a leading citizen expert on the impacts of shale oil and gas extraction. She is the go-to person whether it’s top EPA officials from D.C., national and international news networks, or residents facing the shock of eminent domain and the devastating environmental effects of natural gas development in their backyards.


  1. kim Feil says

    PLEASE EMAIL OUR local FBI at fbi.dallas@ic.fbi.gov to investigate how our City Councils 1) allow drilling in highly densly populated areas, 2) are not enforcing local ordinances to use Best Available Emission Control Technologies, and 3) to investigate our state TCEQ for NOT enforcing… these two laws…
    TEX LG. CODE ANN. A§ 253.005 : Texas Statutes – Section 253.005: LEASE OF OIL, GAS, OR MINERAL LAND
    “(c) A well may not be drilled in the thickly settled part of the municipality..”

    Texas Administrative Code, Title 30, Part 1, Chapter 101, Subchapter A,
    Rule 101.4, Environmental Quality, Nuisance

    No person shall discharge from any source whatsoever one or more
    air contaminants or combinations thereof, in such concentration and
    of such duration as are or may tend to be injurious to or to adversely
    affect human health or welfare, animal life, vegetation, or property, or
    as to interfere with the normal use and enjoyment of animal life, vegetation,
    or property.

  2. Alberta Neighbor says

    It’s just non-stop nonsense eh Sharon.

    So the solution to companies gassing communities and releasing a ticking “bomb” beneath peoples’ homes and communities, is to attend resident meetings with a police officer and put people’s names on a list – because they don’t feel comfortable with being gassed or a ticking bomb snaking into their homes and communities?

    Why don’t they at least bring the aquifer “fixer/cleaners” (“bomb” diffusers) and “air purifiers” along with them and show people they have a handle on the actual threats.

    But I may be getting ahead of myself, is there anything in the Homeland Security Handbook that says companies gassing or releasing “bombs” under and into communities are considered threats?

    Isn’t gassing and poisoning a community, and releasing “bombs” into neighborhoods – Terrorism 101? Am I watching too much TV or did someone rip out that handbook page?

    I am really finding it challenging to explain to my kids that “terrorism” is only illegal/frowned upon – if you don’t:

    – lobby for it;

    – waste taxpayer money strong-arming communities into accepting it;

    – stand back and watch the destruction of communities unfold.

    I think it’s about as far from national security as you can get.

  3. Jana DeGrand (@janadegrand) says

    I am fully awake. The correct spelling of my name appears above. You do not need to look very far to find me. I have quite a lot so say. There is nothing quite like a menopausal woman and her protective instinct. Hear me roar!

  4. says

    Based upon my readings of the last few years, the following seems to be accurate:

    + Dissent is being considered as treason.
    + Journalists are being equated to terrorists and/or traitors.

    I’ve been around for a LOT of years and I can say with assurance that I’ve never been more concerned about the frailness of our democracy, especially now that I’m perceiving the “deep capture” of our local, regional, state, and national politicians by special interests with deep pockets.

    P.S. – by the way, I consider what your doing as journalism and believe that you should be affording the protections thereof.

  5. says

    It’s the ultimate irony that the same people who destroy our land, poison our air and water, and endanger every living species including our children get away with this. They can because they take advantage of people’s general lack of knowledge. Ironic, too, that our very own U.S. military has long seen the tactical necessity of renewables. Wake up, people! Thanks for enlightening us, as always, Sharon.
    Liz R., KeepTapWaterSafe.org (aka @fractivista)

  6. says

    If you trace back under the George W. Bush era you will find bills that define terrorist as those who do or protest against anything that the government says is or will help the country. Back then it was mostly those who were against the Iraq war and anything that the administration deemed good for the war effort. If you look through the Patriot Act, you will find that we as Frackivist fit that label. You don’t have to do anything but show up at a meeting or a protest and be against the industry and you too can be labeled a terrorist.
    EdVicheck recently posted..Should We Be Worried By The Fact That China Wants A New World Order, Not Just A One World Currency?My Profile

  7. Shelly McAllister says

    Thanks for the information Sharon and everyone else contributing to the enlightenment of this terrible threat. Frackers proliferate. The sites are EVERYWHERE. I live in DFW and there are pipelines, trains hauling parts and huge dykes puncturing the Earth. These sites go up in nice neighborhoods as well as lower income neighborhoods. I’m appalled. It needs to STOP. Another thing I read about that we need to be aware of in DFW is the use of frack fluid to “de-ice” the roads in the event we have bad weather. Can you imagine how toxic that would be?

    • Alberta Neighbor says

      It’s unfathomable that dumping toxic, radioactive waste on roads is even considered, but EnCana seems to be a big fan of covering roads in the US with their waste.

      “Documents and emails originally obtained last fall showed the state agency permitted spraying of flowback on roads early last summer for 30 days. The total was over 40,000 gallons.

      Newly-released documents now show the frack wastes were sprayed in a state forest between two horizontal frack wells in Kalkaska County. In Cheboygan County flowback was spread on roads abutting Paradise Lake, on camp roads at Mill Creek Campground, and in an industrial yard. They also show the spraying was permitted for 94 days, not just 30.

      The source wells were drilled and fracked in 2011 by Encana Oil & Gas. They are three miles apart on Sunset Trail, in the Mackinaw State Forest in Kalkaska County.”


      • says

        As I learned at the psyops conference, industry admits that the biggest issue they face is the massive amount of waste generated by fracking. As I keep reminding people, the waste has to go somewhere. We should expect drilling waste to surface in many areas of our lives. Texas pass a law to use it for “beneficial uses.”