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Truck Bombs: Preparing for the Inevitable

Posted By Douglas J. Hagmann On May 30, 2007 @ 2:32 am In Domestic Terrorism,Intelligence Analysis,Sean Osborne,Terror Alerts | Comments Disabled

By Sean Osborne, Associate Director, Military Affairs and Aharon Etengoff,

May 30, 2007 : Truck bombs have taken a devastating toll against American soldiers as well as civilians in Iraq, just as they did at the World Trade Center on February 26, 1993 and at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995. Whether loaded with conventional explosives, or any mixture of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, nitromethane, ANFO, urea nitrate, or supplemented with chlorine and other chemical agents, truck bombs have the potential to wreak havoc in American cities and key infrastructure. Recent postings on Islamic forums indicate that trucks or other large vehicles are one potential method of delivery for the so-called “American Hiroshima” intended for U.S. cities as planned and approved in an Al Qaeda fatwa.

Aharon Etengoff (http://www.weaponsurvey.com) and I have prepared the following suggestions which might be implemented to protect power plants, schools, religious institutions, government buildings and critical infrastucture from the truck bomb threat.

Sterile Zones: Creation of a “sterile zone” around sensitive installations (such as power plants, fuel depots, ports of entry, schools and large religious centers) where entry of large vehicles should be forbidden if at all possible. Shipping and receiving at those select sites should occur at least 500 to 1,000 yards distant.

Pre-screening: The pre-screening or forward inspection of delivery vehicles is standard practice at most military posts and other sensitive locations. At no time should transport vehicles be allowed to proceed after only a minimal check of the bill of lading being matched to the contents to be delivered.

Major Urban Locations: Establish checkpoints at all major entry points (if general or precise intelligence warning is received). At other locations which are key urban and national infrastructure, such as Wall Street, a central receiving station should be maintained at distance with deliverables ferried in by cleared vehicles only.

Highways and Transportation Infrastructure: Enhanced patrols, with mobile roving checkpoints or stop-on command checks when threat indicators warrant. In July and August of 2001 several of the 9/11 hijackers, driving rented vehicles, had been pulled over by local law enforcement between Florida and New Jersey for moving violations. No central data base of suspicious persons or collated intelligence was instantly available to local law enforcement 2001. The local police are “on point” in the war against terrorists and must be kept in the actionable intelligence data stream.

Real-time monitoring: Real-time monitoring of all truck rentals. Local JTTF should be the hub and high priority disseminator to local LE of APBs regarding stolen or missing vehicles or suspicious persons renting same.

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