The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) placed a solicitation by way of the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) for 700 pounds of High Density Ammonium Nitrate and 700 pounds of A-5 Flake RDX with a delivery date of August 31, 2012.
For those of you who do not know, these are the ingredients to build a makeshift bomb.
Why would the DHS/TSA order such material? From their Statement of Work:
Name of Requisitioning Office: National Canine Program (NCP)/ Canine Explosives Section (CES)
SECTION II: Purpose
Scope of the Product, Service, or Outcome:
The CES requires the 700 pounds of High Density Ammonium Nitrate and 700 pounds of A-5 Flake RDX to provide Canine Explosive Training Aids (CETAs) to NCP participants. The supplier must be able to meet the exact requirements by August 31st, 2012. Substituions for this product are not acceptable
SECTION III: Background
The CES is required to provide NCP participants with CETAs. The CES has selected to use High Density Ammonium Nitrate and A-5 Flake RDX as it will provide NCP participants with a more realistic training aid and compliment the current aids provided.
This all comes on the heels of a solicitation for sheet style high powered plastic explosives.
The problem is very clear. As stated in the ATF Law Enforcement Guide to Explosives Incident Reporting document:
In order to detonate ammonium nitrate, the use of a booster is required. Commercially, Pentolite and RDX are used as a booster, while the military will often use TNT as the booster.
Instead of using a poor quality analog (aka hamburger) for Ammonium Nitrate to train dogs, they are requesting High Density, or the Kobe Beef of Ammonium Nitrate (AN). And in order to detonate the AN, RDX is used. The Department of Homeland Security is requesting BOTH components of a binary explosive compound to be delivered to a government facility in downtown Atlantic City, New Jersey.
To put the amount of explosives into perspective, Timothy McVeigh used 5,000 pounds of AN and motor racing fuel. RDX has a much greater explosive capacity than racing fuel, and McVeigh was a party to mass murder and destruction that would be on par with these materials being detonated.
The project claims it is for “Canine Explosive Training Aids”. One wonders what they need with over half a ton of explosive nitrates to train dogs. If a dog needed only 1 ounce of each material in order to be trained and tested, there is enough material for 11,200 dogs at the same time.
Congress gave oversight to DHS of procurement of ammonium nitrate after requesting they “regulate the sale and transfer of ammonium nitrate by an ammonium nitrate facility…to prevent the misappropriation or use of ammonium nitrate in an act of terrorism.”
Just hours after the story of the request by the Department of Homeland Security / Transportation Safety Administration was originally published by PPRN News, Jacob Goodwin, Editor-in-Chief of Government Security News released an article explaining how innocuous and safe this request is.
The invitation to bid is a 100% small business set-aside opportunity, and prospective vendors have until August 13 to submit their bids. Delivery of the explosives, which must be packed in bags, is required within 15 days, says the TSA notice.
The RDX and ammonium nitrate will be sent to the William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City, NJ.
‘TSA’s National Explosives Detection Canine Team Program prepares dogs and handlers to serve on the front lines of America’s War on Terror,’ says the agency’s Website. ‘These very effective, mobile teams can quickly locate and identify dangerous materials that may present a threat to transportation systems. Just as important, they can quickly rule out the presence of dangerous materials in unattended packages, structures or vehicles, allowing the free and efficient flow of commerce.’
Several new issues have come to light.
First and foremost, the solicitation has been removed from the list of DHS requests. Simply putting the solicitation in the FBO search engine, or RDX or Ammonium Nitrate will fail to yield any results.
Secondly, one of the most troubling aspects of the request is the amount of time that the company must deliver the material. The bid opened on 8 August, and closes 5 days later. Typically, bids run much longer and materials are usually due within sixty days after the close of the bid. But this bid closes next Monday, the 13th, and must be delivered within eighteen days after that. The speed to complete this request could be justified if the solicitation was being made at the end of the fiscal year, in September. But that is still seven weeks away. Haste makes waste. What does the DHS/TSA plan on laying waste to?
And finally, history again serves as our teacher. Further reading has found that many times in recent memory the amounts of explosives used in terror attacks around the world have been approximately one half ton, the amount suited to fill a small minivan. India, Afghanistan, and other terror-cell laden nations have had their peace breached by the use of high explosives.
Not surprisingly, according to our federal government there is nothing to worry about.
Now we know who submitted the winning bid.
According to the firm’s website, it specializes in supporting Federal, State and local governments and the private sector “in securing the homeland.” It has a rapid response team trained in firearms and security; and it provides consulting, training and legal services.
It is not a manufacturer of fertilizer or explosives. They employ a network of former ATF, Customs, DEA, FBI, ICE, IRS and Secret
Service agents, as well as noted experts on homeland security, executive protection, vulnerability assessments and critical infrastructure protection.
This is obviously another case of cronyism. It’s rampant in Washington, where people work for government or get elected to Congress and then leave to make money off their connections.