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FBI Conducts Explosives Training

FBI New York July 06, 2010

Hollywood shot (
Hollywood shot ("wall of fire") done with detonation cord and gasoline
Photo Credit: FBI

The New York Division of the FBI recently presented an improvised explosives demonstration at army Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey. This demonstration was part of a three-day National Improvised Explosives Familiarization (NIEF) training course.

The NIEF initiative supports the FBI’s top priority to protect the United States from terrorist attacks by training our investigators and law enforcement partners in regard to the emerging improvised explosive threat. Initially, 250 of our special agent bomb technicians and weapons of mass destruction coordinators received training about the kinds of products—ones typically found under kitchen sinks and in garages—that can burn or explode when combined, and how to disrupt or dismantle devices that use such products.

Then the training expanded to include regional bomb techs, members of our Joint Terrorism Task Forces, and other first responders. So far, we’ve trained nearly 400 people in 11 regions nationwide. And many of them will bring the NIEF training to others in their communities.

Participants in the three-day NIEF training receive in-depth instruction and course materials in accordance with their respective roles, responsibilities, and technical certifications. The goal of this training is to enhance awareness and outreach programs to first responders, and to inform private sector wholesalers, distributors, and retailers of precursor chemicals that can be used by terrorists or experimenters to make improvised explosives.

Attendees of the explosives demonstration witnessed over a dozen examples of improvised explosive and incendiary mixtures that have been used by terrorists around the world. There were also subject matter experts on hand to discuss the threat posed by the readily available chemical precursors for these mixtures.

Special Agent Bomb Technician (SABT) Pete Licata, of the New York Division, trained law enforcement personnel at the army base on the types of explosives encountered by public safety and law enforcement personnel. SABT Licata described the different effects in blast pressure, incendiary thermal effect, and chemicals that create rapid fires versus immediate combustion. Licata’s team executed the explosions while students were at a safe distance or behind a bunker for their own safety.

SABT Pete Licata demonstrating different chemical explosives to NIEF studentsSABT Pete Licata demonstrating different chemical explosives to NIEF students
SABT Pete Licata demonstrating different chemical explosives to NIEF students
Photo Credit: FBI

Improvised explosives can be manufactured from many chemicals and common household items that are generally benign in nature; but when mixed in the proper ratio with other chemicals may become a deadly explosive. Instructor SABT Pete Licata said, "The course is to provide bomb technicians and investigators firsthand experience of what the different chemicals look, sound and smell like to assist them in future investigations."

 FBI provided several explosives demonstrations
FBI provided several explosives demonstrations
Photo Credit: FBI

Acting Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s New York Division, George Venizelos said, “Responding to situations where explosives may be present is one of the most dangerous threats to law enforcement. First responders find themselves at serious risk. This course provided much needed instruction on the prevention measures our law enforcement personnel, and the general public should take in dealing with hazardous devices.”