Homemade Explosives (HME) Threat Improvised explosive device (IED) attacks remain the primary tactic for terrorists seeking relatively uncomplicated, inexpensive means for inflicting mass casualties and maximum damage. Many IEDs utilize homemade explosives, which are types of explosives that can be mixed by almost anyone and made from common household chemicals that are easily accessible and can be purchased legally.
Unlike conventional manufactured military or commercial explosives, terrorists improvise innovative HMEs from widely available precursor chemicals and common household products. Bomb makers are only limited by their imagination, technical skills, able materials and target availability. Three ways to get explosives: - Buy them - Steal them - Make them Oklahoma City is a prime example
HME Information on the Internet Terrorists use chat rooms, web forums, and other Internet resources to disseminate information on obtaining and improvising precursors and explosives, assembling devices, and emplacement and concealment tactics. Recipes and tactics spread from site to site, reaching vast numbers of current and aspiring terrorists across the globe.
Advantages of HME There are many advantages to using HME, including availability, cost and accessibility. Can be improvised from ordinary household products Can be obtained legally HMEs are cheaper to improvise Can be made at home or in a workshop Degree in chemistry is not necessary Commercial or Military explosives are difficult to obtain and expensive
Disadvantages of HME Disadvantages to using HMEs include required procedural knowledge, safety hazards, and potential law enforcement interdiction points. May require an instructor or detailed recipes to improvise HME Many multi-step recipes and assembly directions may be difficult to follow for inexperienced individuals Accidents due to premature detonation Health hazards from harmful precursors can injure or even kill the individual making the HME Buying precursors can be an interdiction point
Types of HMEs: Ammonium Nitrate-Based Ammonium nitrate-based explosives, consisting of ammonium nitrate and another precursor that serves as a fuel, are the most widely used types of binary explosives. Popular fuels to mix with AN include : Fuel oil (ANFO) Sugar (ANS) Aluminum powder (ANAL) Nitromethane (ANNM) Ammonium Nitrate Sugar (ANS) Ammonium Nitrate / Nitromethane The Irish Republican Army (IRA) and its splinter groups have used ANS and ANNIE in vehicle-borne IEDs (VBIEDs) across Great Britain, while ANFO has become one of the most widely used explosives in the world. Ammonium Nitrate Aluminum Powder
Types of HMEs: Binary Explosives Binary explosives consist of two non-explosive chemical precursors that can be mixed together to create a blasting cap-sensitive explosive once they are combined. Examples include Picatinny Liquid Explosive (PLX, Ethylenediamine and nitromethane) and ammonium nitrate-based types, such as Astrolite® (a liquid explosive consisting of ammonium nitrate and anhydrous hydrazine), Tannerite (commercially available over the Internet), and ammonium nitrate and nitromethane. The Precursors for these HMEs are not considered explosives themselves by The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) or U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). Only when mixed are they classified as explosives. Mixing binary explosives can be a relatively simple process. In addition to improvising ANFO, Timothy McVeigh mixed ammonium nitrate and Nitromethane to form another type of AN- based HME, both of which were used in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.
Tannerite Easily obtained via the internet, shipped via UPS. 9 pounds of Tannerite causes catastrophic damage to an ambulance
Types of HMEs: Hydrogen Peroxide-Based Extremely sensitive to heat, shock, and friction, hydrogen peroxide-based explosives, such as HMTD and TATP, are some of the most commonly used HME in IEDs. The Millennium bomber, Ahmed Ressam, planned to use HMTD as part of an IED attack on the Los Angeles International Airport on New Years Eve 1999, while Richard Reid in 2001 attempted to use TATP as a booster in his shoe bomb. Camp Stove Fuel Tablets for Hexamine Hexamethylene Triperoxide Diamine (HMTD) Food Additives for Citric Acid Hair Bleach for Hydrogen Peroxide Triacetone Triperoxide (TATP) Drain Cleaners for Sulfuric Acid Nail Polish Remover for Acetone
Firing chain of Reid device: 1. Human mind /hands 2. Matches 3. Time Fuse 4. Improvised Initiator 5. Booster-Detonating Cord 6. Main Charge Total about 5 ounces
Types of HMEs: Hydrogen Peroxide-Based (contd) The 2006 Transatlantic liquid explosives plot revealed terrorist intentions to detonate liquid peroxide-based HME mixed with the citrus soft drink Tang and other organic materials aboard commercial airliners. Organic materials, such as black pepper, flour and cumin, can serve as excellent components for peroxide- based HMEs. Methyl Ethyl Ketone Peroxide (MEKP) is a liquid explosive that can be improvised from its precursors Methyl Ethyl Ketone (MEK), hydrogen peroxide, and sulfuric acid. Liquid explosives can be artfully concealed in soft drink bottles, shampoo bottles, and other innocuous containers, making them easier to smuggle.
Types of HMEs: Liquid Peroxide Based Explosives Terrorist operatives overseas have planned numerous plots and attacks using Concentrated Hydrogen Peroxide (CHP) solutions blended with fuels to create liquid high explosives. Liquid home made explosives can be formed by blending a strong oxidizer, such as hydrogen peroxide, with an organic material used as a fuel. Based on the fuel type and concentration of hydrogen peroxide, the resulting HME will vary in its ease of detonation and explosive energy. In September 2007, German authorities foiled a bombing plot in which terrorists were planning to use CHP solutions to make explosives. CHP blended formulas were to be used in the disrupted August 2006 plot to blow up airliners en route from the United Kingdom to the United States. The explosive devices used in the attacks on the London transit system in July 2005 involved CHP formulations. The failed 2004 bombing of the U.S. Consulate in Karachi, Pakistan used a CHP-based device.
New Tactics and Trends of HMEs New explosive trends appear in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other theaters abroad, as terrorists cope with limited resources and adapt to security measures. Precursors Recipes harvested online list precursors ranging from animal dung and urine to salt, spices, flour and even coffee. Liquid Explosives Terrorists attempted to adapt to aviation security measures by developing a plot to conceal liquid explosives in soft drink bottles, toothpaste tubes and a variety of innocent looking containers. New trends frequently migrate to other theaters via the Internet and online Jihadi connections.
Potential Indicators of Explosives Manufacturing Explosives manufacturing involves a level of technical knowledge. Laboratory equipment may be improvised or conventional.
Additional Dangers of HME for Law Enforcement Law Enforcement Officers may mistake HME for drugs during initial investigation. + = Portable drug test kits sold under the name NIK are designed to test for cocaine, PCP, LSD and brown heroin. If mixed with TATP or HMTD, the reaction may be violent resulting in injury to the officer.
Several chemicals were used as oxidizers and fuels in the following slides: The following categorizes are the dangerous chemicals found: Oxidizer Chemicals Potassium Chlorate (KCL03) Potassium Perchlorate (KCL04) Potassium Nitrate (KN03) Peroxide Based Explosives Triacetone Triperoxide (TATP) Hexamethylene Teiperoxide Diamine (HMTD) Fuels in Explosive Mixtures Aluminum Powder (AL) Nitromethane (CH2N02) Icing Sugar
23 Feb 2011 – Saudi National Arrested In Texas Came to U.S. in Oct 2008 on student visa. Initially, college major was Chemical Engineering. Changed schools twice. Now majoring in Business.
Personal Journal & blog postings. His desire for violent jihad and martyrdom. Target lists. "I excelled in my studies in high school in order to take advantage of an opportunity for a scholarship to America. … I chose [a specific Saudi sponsoring corporation] for two reasons. First [it] sends its students directly to America … Second[ its] financial scholarship is the largest, which will help tremendously in providing me with the support I need for Jihad. … Now after mastering the English language, learning how to build explosives, and continuous planning to target the infidel Americans, it is time for Jihad."
The Central Valley Arson Investigators Association (CVAIA) was established in 1968. Holds an IED / Live Fire Range class in May at the Tulare County Ag Center. Central Valley Arson Investigators Web Site: http://www.centralvalleyarson.org/