(if we stop the heavy petting, the terrorists will have already….oh, never mind)

From the New York Times’ Eric Lipton

It reads like a tally of terrorist targets that a child might have written: Old MacDonald™s Petting Zoo, the Amish Country Popcorn factory, the Mule Day Parade, the Sweetwater Flea Market and an unspecified œBeach at End of a Street.

But the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security, in a report released Tuesday, found that the list was not child™s play: all these œunusual or out-of-place sites œwhose criticality is not readily apparent are inexplicably included in the federal antiterrorism database.

The National Asset Database, as it is known, is so flawed, the inspector general found, that as of January, Indiana, with 8,591 potential terrorist targets, had 50 percent more listed sites than New York (5,687) and more than twice as many as California (3,212), ranking the state the most target-rich place in the nation.

In addition to the petting zoo, in Woodville, Ala., and the Mule Day Parade in Columbia, Tenn., the auditors questioned many entries, including œNix™s Check Cashing, œMall at Sears, œIce Cream Parlor, œTackle Shop, œDonut Shop, œAnti-Cruelty Society and œBean Fest.

Even people connected to some of those businesses or events are baffled at their inclusion as possible terrorist targets.

One business owner who learned from a reporter that a company named Amish Country Popcorn was on the list was at first puzzled. The businessman, Brian Lehman, said he owned the only operation in the country with that name.

œI am out in the middle of nowhere, said Mr. Lehman, whose business in Berne, Ind., has five employees and grows and distributes popcorn. œWe are nothing but a bunch of Amish buggies and tractors out here. No one would care.

But on second thought, he came up with an explanation: œMaybe because popcorn explodes?