Inside the Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center
TEDAC is the government’s single repository for IEDs that have been collected or are of interest to the United States government.
For instance, it’s the bomb library of America.
It basically provides you the one source, the one location that all IEDs of interest to the U.S. government can come and have forensic exploitation to help us identify the bomb-makers, looking at associations and linking bombs together from one incident to another based on the forensic evidence.
We have a lot of experience in identifying IED components, blast damage. It’s just like putting a puzzle back together.
So you’re starting looking at some of the telltale blast characteristics on the components, understanding what blast damage is.
So you can start saying, well this was in close proximity to the blast, this was indigenous to the scene, it doesn't need to be collected. It’s basically a screening or a sorting, if you will.
Identifying those key components from an IED is very, very critical early on.
So one of the benefits of TEDAC is utilizing traditional forensic capabilities of the FBI and law enforcement have used for virtually 100 years, whether it be fingerprint techniques or DNA of recent time, toolmark examinations. For instance, when a tool is used for making an IED it leaves unique marks on those items.
By doing the toolmark examinations we’re able to link devices together and show associations. And then obviously if we have a fingerprint we now may be able to identify an individual to multiple devices that we don't have biometrics on. But because of using their trace disciplines such as hairs, fibers, things of that nature, of being able to make the associations from some of those other disciplines that are not identification-based but more pattern-based.
From our perspective, we see the more visibility that we have looking at IEDs from around the world, the better we are to be able to protect the homeland. Because we realize that what’s happening overseas eventually could come here to the United States.
We want to get our hands on those IEDs and exploit them to help identify the networks, looking at the types of materials that the bomb-makers are using so we can put the tripwires in place here to basically identify these threats if we have an individual in the country that may be relying on those same instructions that the terrorists overseas have used.
One of our goals is to stay as far left of boom as possible. We don't just respond to a bomb after it occurs. We’re trying to identify the bomb-makers and the groups way out in front of the threat from actually happening and disrupting that plot before they even have placed the bomb.