john simpson

ACS' Neal Langerman in USA Today article on IEDs

Blog Post created by john simpson on Nov 1, 2010

Taken from USA Today

“Experts:  Improvised explosives still main terror weapon”



Improvised explosives like the ones  used in two bombs discovered in U.S.-bound cargo shipments are the weapon of  choice for terrorists and will continue to be a threat because they are so  difficult to detect, say security and terrorism experts. Despite a nearly  decade-long effort to better screen for explosives, they continue to be used in  attacks launched everywhere from Afghan and Iraqi war zones to hidden al-Qaeda  strongholds. The PETN found hidden in toner cartridges is a military-grade  explosive that has been used repeatedly by terrorists. Though officials have not  described the bombs in detail, it appeared they each could have held 2 to 3  pounds of PETN, said Neal  Langerman, an explosives expert who is an officer with the American Chemical Society. "It would have  been enough to do significant damage wherever it detonated," Langerman said. If  the bombs had exploded, they would have likely caused significant damage to the  cargo jets that carried them, and killed or injured anyone nearby. To an enemy  who cannot match our military might or easily penetrate our borders, a small,  hidden bomb that can be assembled with easily obtained materials such as  cellphones is an attractive weapon. "Explosives pack a lot of energy in a very  small package," Langerman says. "That's what it's all  about."