Summer 2011

Terrorism Awareness

This edition has me taking a detour off the normal biological safety path. I recently received several notices from the Indianapolis FBI Field Office related to potential indicators for terrorist activities. I receive these as I have a working relationship with the WMD Coordinator Special Agent at the Indy Field Office and I am also listed as their Subject Matter Expert on synthetic biology and general biosafety. It should also be noted that this information is considered open source and deemed unclassified.

While all of the information cannot be passed along in a short article, some of the highlights that the community may consider suspicious include activities at home improvement and large retail stores such as unusual quantities of compressed fuels, large numbers of electronic or kitchen timers, large amounts of short pipe lengths and end caps, and attempts to purchase excessive amounts of type 34-0-0 or 32-2-0 fertilizer. Personally, when I go camping with my sons I usually only need a single propane (small) tank. Buying 10 or so just may raise eyebrows.

Another notice dealt with wholesale distributors for beauty shops and a preoccupation with the concentration levels of available hydrogen peroxide or acetone. The only people I know that are concerned with the concentration of acetone in solution are actual chemists and they would not buy their supply from beauty wholesale distribution centers.

Related to mass transportation, activity that could possibly be considered suspicious includes the monitoring of vehicles and/or personnel from staff parking areas, discreetly using cameras or recording devices and elevated interest in security measures, security cameras, entry points, perimeter barriers or an unattended bus or train.

Taken individually, these may be harmless activities but cumulatively they just may be suspicious. If you have concerns you may contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Indianapolis Division at (317) 595-4000. Please click on the link below to view the notices from the FBI detailing this information

View Notices