Feds Warned Of Pressure Cooker Bombs

DHS memos detail terrorist use of cooking utensil

Boston Marathon Bombing

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Pressure Cooker Bomb

APRIL 16--With reports that the Boston Marathon bombs were likely a pressure cooker device, a previous Department of Homeland Security information bulletin is worth revisiting.

The 2004 DHS report warns of the “potential terrorist use of pressure cookers,” adding that there was “continued interest by terrorist organizations to use innocuous items to package improvised explosive devices (IEDs).”

A federal law enforcement update on pressure cooker bombs was issued in mid-2010, after agents broke up a terror plot targeting New York City’s Times Square. “One of three devices seized after the attempted attack incorporated a pressure cooker containing approximately 120 firecrackers,” investigators noted in the July 1 memo prepared by DHS and FBI agents.

The three-page 2004 document details prior attacks that employed pressure cooker IEDs. These bombs, investigators noted, typically “are made by placing TNT or other explosives in a pressure cooker and attaching a blasting cap at the top of the pressure cooker.” The makeshift bombs can be triggered by “digital watches, garage door openers, cell phones or pagers.”

DHS officials warned that the common cooking utensil “is often overlooked when searching vehicles, residences or merchandise crossing the U.S. Borders.” (4 pages)