04.04.16

SCHUMER REVEALS: ISIS' GO-TO EXPLOSIVE—TATP—COULD BE DETECTED WITH NEW TECHNOLOGY BUT FEDS MUST FAST-TRACK MORE TESTING; SENATOR SAYS DETECTORS COULD BE PLACED IN AIRPORTS, TRAIN STATIONS & MAKE NEW YORK SAFER ONCE TECHNOLOGY IS APPROVED

TATP Is A Highly Volatile Explosive Powder Cooked Up By Terrorists Using Ingredients Available At Every Corner Store; Mere Ounces Have Generated Massive Blasts In Recent Terror Attacks 

Though Easy To Make & Conceal, TATP Could Be Sniffed Out Using Promising New Technology That Must Be Field Tested Quickly; Senator Says Technology Could Be Game-Changer For Security    ‎

Schumer: There Is No Time To Waste In Perfecting TATP Detectors 

In the wake of continuing terror attacks abroad and threats here at home, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, today, called on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to fast-track testing of a detector technology that can identify ISIS’ go-to explosive, TATP, formally known as triacetone triperoxide. The new explosive detector has proven successful in laboratory settings in sniffing out the highly volatile explosive powder but requires more field testing before it can be formally deployed to U.S. airports and train stations. Schumer, today, urged DHS to push for a faster testing schedule and to do all it can to roll out this promising technology as soon as possible. TATP, dubbed by terrorists as “Mother of Satan,” has been used to carry out recent terror attacks, including the latest attacks in Brussels.

“DHS must get this very promising TATP-sniffing technology on the fast-track for testing and final deployment because the stakes are just too high,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “Recent terror attacks have seen this specific homemade explosive used, and so, we cannot waste a second knowing we may have a technology that could detect it down to molecule. Our airports, train stations and more could be made even safer with this kind of detector and that is why we must do all we can to get this technology out the door and into our transportation hubs.”

For the past 8 years, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has provided federal funds for research that lead to the development of a brand new sensor technology—a detector—that can continuously monitor the air and find TATP even in tiny bits . In controlled settings, the sensor has proven successful and is now scheduled for field tests at different sites across the country. These tests are part of the technology’s path to possible deployment. Schumer, today, also said that New York City, a top terror target, should be one of the first cities to receive the new sensors should the technology achieve federal testing goals.   

Triacetone triperoxide, or TATP, is a white, crystalline explosive powder that has been used by ISIS in recent terror attacks. TATP bombs are made using hydrogen peroxide, acetone and other household chemicals. According to media reports, TATP was used by the terrorists involved in November’s attack in Paris, which claimed the lives on 130 people. American bomb-disposal technicians noted that TATP was sealed into bundles and taped into suicide vests. More recently, Belgian authorities confiscated more than 30 pounds of the explosive in the home of one of the suspected Brussel attackers. TATP was also used in the 2005 London bombings, which took the lives of 52 commuters, as well as by Richard Reid, who attempted to detonate an explosive in his shoe onboard a flight in 2001.  

In hopes of preventing future terrorist attacks involving TATP, a Rhode Island professor has developed a sensor that can detect vapors—like those in TATP-- released from explosives. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security helps fund Professor Otto Gregory’s work at the Awareness and Localization of Explosives-Related Threats (ALERT) Center, led by Northeastern University and the University of Rhode Island. The ALERT center was created for explosive experts to collaborate and improve the nation’s response to threats. Unlike hand swabs and bomb sniffing dogs, Professor Gregory’s sensor is designed to continuously monitor an area to reveal explosive particles in the air. According to reports, Professor Gregory’s sensor can detect amounts of TATP as small as 1 part per billion. Professor Gregory hopes that the sensor can be made small enough to be installed on a turnstile or worn by an officer.

The Department of Homeland Security has funded University of Rhode Island research that has helped develop this detector technology. URI now has field tests scheduled and is currently seeking more testing opportunities to show the feasibility of the detection sensors in varying settings. Field testing is scheduled at an FAA facility this year and on cargo containers at the port in Savannah, Georgia. Schumer, today, said that the detectors could save countless lives and prevent attacks at airports, transit hubs and other public spaces. He is urging the DHS to fast-track testing in the hopes of installing the technology in New York City as soon as possible.

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