Monsanto was also quick to see the market opportunity. The company had grown with the production of 2,4-D and its descendant 2,4,5-T, which were then combined to produce Agent Orange to defoliate forest cover during the Vietnam War. In 1970, in an effort to come up with an even stronger plant killer, Monsanto chemist John E. Franz hit upon an herbicide called glyphosate, which was marketed under the trade name Roundup and had seen unmatched growth in broadleaf weed control in the agricultural industry. The only problem with Roundup: It was such an effective herbicide that farmers had to apply it carefully, spraying only early sprouting weeds, to avoid exterminating their crops.
Monsanto’s engineers set about searching for a gene that would allow crops to survive exposure to Roundup. They found it in the wastewater-treatment plant of one of their own glyphosate production plants in Louisiana, where workers had noticed a range of bacteria thriving despite exposure to Roundup—and one, under lab testing, displayed total immunity to glyphosate pesticides. By 1996, Monsanto had commercially introduced soybeans that had been genetically modified to resist glyphosate—what the company termed “Roundup Ready.”I had no idea that some level of serendipity occurred to help this happen. "Fortune favors the prepared mind" and all of that. (Does anyone know if this is actually true?)
The article legitimately questions whether or not the FBI should be using the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Act to track foreign nationals performing industrial espionage within the United States. It seems to me that the most ideal scenario would be a new set of laws granting surveillance powers to federal agencies that are tasked with preventing industrial espionage from other nations. But asking for new laws these days seems like asking for a pony*, so we're probably going to muddle through with what we have.
*Not that I really want a lot of new laws, I note.