This is from the Daily Telegraph, and it makes you wonder if anyone in the US secret services actually does any meaningful work. The article also made me remember metal-slut. There is nothing on the narrow road leading to the tiny island distillery to suggest it might be the home of an illegal weapons industry. Barnacle geese newly arrived from the Arctic are gathering in the fields, five small boats sit at anchor in the harbour, and there are no security checkpoints. Visitors to the Bruichladdich distillery are invited to take an unfettered tour of the facility, and to buy souvenirs in the shop. They are also reminded that they can revisit the site when they return home by logging on to the company's eight "webcams". The cameras were installed to allow whisky enthusiasts around the world to watch a process that has barely changed since Victorian times. Not surprisingly, it did not occur to the distillers that their operations might also interest American agents looking for chemical weapons. It emerged yesterday that the cameras have been watched by the Defence Threat Reduction Agency, a US government department set up to safeguard America from chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons of mass destruction. The agency's interest was revealed in a series of e-mails from its base in Fort Belvoir, Virginia, after an employee contacted the distillery to point out that one of its cameras had stopped working. After the camera was fixed, the island distiller received a "thank you" message bearing the full name of the DTRA. Intrigued by the source of the message, Mark Reynier, managing director of the distillery, asked the agency why it was watching his whisky vats and was told that chemical weapons could be made using a process similar to distilling. With no more than a slight "tweak", Scotland's distilleries could be producing something even more hazardous whisky. Mr Reynier, 41, said: "I was absolutely amazed when we got an e-mail telling us why they were monitoring the distillery. It was one of the most bizarre things I had ever heard. "Whisky has been called many things, but never a weapon of mass destruction. It makes you wonder if the Americans have any chance of finding anything if they are watching a little distillery on a Hebridean island. "I might also point out that if we were making chemical weapons, I don't think we would be put the process on a live webcam. It has caused great amusement among our staff." In an e-mail to Mr Reynier, Ursula Stearns of the DTRA said the agency's mission was to "safeguard the US and its allies from weapons of mass destruction (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high explosives)". She added: "Our area deals with the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention so we go to sites to verify treaty compliance. "I still find it very funny that their chemical processes look very similar to your distilling process. As part of a training class we went to a brewery for familiarisation with reactors, batch processors, evaporators, etc before going in the field. "It just goes to show how 'tweaks' to the process can create something very pleasant (whisky) or deadly (chemical weapons)." A spokesman for the agency said yesterday that the webcams were of "no official interest", but added that the US was committed to destroying chemical weapons. He said that included "monitoring and visiting commercial facilities where they would be able to make chemical weapons". Perhaps it was the pledge on the webcam page that aroused suspicion. It states: "Watch whisky being distilled! See the comings and goings of a working distillery. We have nothing to hide . . ."