- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 21, 2009

EXCLUSIVE, UPDATED:

An investigation that has “basically come to a dead end” led the FBI to add the first domestic-terror suspect to the bureau’s list of Most Wanted Terrorists.

Daniel Andreas San Diego, a 31-year-old animal rights activist, is under indictment for the 2003 bombings of two San Francisco Bay Area companies linked to an animal-testing laboratory.

“Basically, we have no idea where he is,” Michael Heimbach, assistant director of the bureau’s counterterrorism division, said during a news conference Tuesday announcing the addition. “The leads on him have gone stale.”

The FBI hoping to find San Diego with the help of the publicity generated by adding him to the list, which also features such notorious international terrorists as Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahri and Adam Gadahn, the American-born al Qaeda spokesman. Before the addition of San Diego, the list, created in the wake of Sept. 11, had previously included only Islamist terrorists.

The bureau also announced an award of up to $250,000 for information leading to the arrest of San Diego.

“All of the people listed on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist List are a danger to the U.S. and need to be caught,” Special Agent Richard Kolko said said.

The announcement was made nearly a week after The Washington Times reported on a Homeland Security Department assessment warning that war veterans could be susceptible to recruitment into “right-wing extremism.” The report unleashed a firestorm of controversy and led to an apology to veterans from Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

Mr. Heimbach said animal rights and environmental extermists like San Diego have collectively committed more than 1,800 crimes and caused more than $110 million. He said the FBI is currently investigating about 170 incidents of animal rights or environmental extremism.

Authorities such attacks typically target property, but say that is what may set San Diego apart. They say San Diego planted two bombs during one of the attacks; the second set to detonate after the first.

“It is possible that this device was planted to target first responders,” Mr. Heimbach said.

No one was killed or injured in either early-morning attack, but the explosions damaged both buildings.

Authorities say San Diego planted bombs at the corporate offices of two biotechnology companies, Chiron Life Sciences Center in Emeryville, Calif., and Shaklee Corp. in Pleasanton, Calif.

Authorities say San Diego targeted those businesses because of their links to Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS), an international laboratory that conducts testing on animals, including trials of medicine, food and chemicals to determine whether they are safe for humans.

HLS is a frequent target of animal rights activists and radicals, who accuse it of conducting unnecessary and cruel experiments. For example, the activists say, HLS employees have punched beagle puppies in their faces.

After the second bombing, in which the pipe bomb was loaded with nails, authorities received a claim of responsibility from the previously unknown Revolutionary Cells-Animal Liberation Brigade.

“We gave all of the customers the chance, the choice, to withdraw their business from HLS,” according to an anonymous communique released after the attack. “Now you will all reap what you have sown. All customers and their families are considered legitimate targets.”

A federal arrest warrant was issued for San Diego in October 2003 that charged him with using explosives to maliciously damage and destroy buildings and other property. A grand jury indicted him on those charges in 2004.

He has remained a fugitive since then.

“The FBI has worked extensively with local, state, foreign law enforcement agencies, including authorities in Germany, United Kingdom, Costa Rica, France, Spain, Denmark, Austria, Italy, the Czech Republic, Mexico, Argentina, the Philippines and Chile,” Mr. Heimbach said. “San Diego is reported to have ties to the San Francisco, California and Germany. He may be living outside, possibly in Costa Rica.”

According to the FBI, San Diego is a strict vegan, meaning he eats no meat or food containing animal products. He is also known to carry a 9 mm handgun.

San Diego also has distinctive tattoos, according to the FBI.

On his chest, the words “It Only Takes a Spark” are tattooed below an image of burning hillsides and plains. Along his waistline, according to the FBI, is a tattooed a series of collapsing and burning buldings that ends with a single, leafless tree.

The case has been featured five times on the television program “America’s Most Wanted.”

According to the program, San Diego became involved with animal rights radicals in the late 1980s. He wore a jacket at one time printed with the phrase, “Vegan Death Crew.”

• Audrey Hudson contributed to this report