BusinessWeek profiles the FBI's Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center (TEDCAC), which is preparing to move next year from its current hodgepodge of facilities near Washington, D.C., to a new $132 million facility in Huntsville, Ala. TEDAC will expand its work to include analyzing explosives built by terrorists worldwide, including in the U.S., allowing the government to stay on top of bombmaking techniques.
The team photographs each of the thousands of bombs or fragments sent to the lab each year, examining them for fingerprints, fibers, and hairs. The bombs and components, many of them IEDs–improvised explosive devices–from Iraq and Afghanistan, are then cataloged and shelved in a vast warehouse with more than 100,000 boxes of IEDs. Analysts have lifted at least 6,000 fingerprints from explosives, helping authorities identify about 1,700 people with terrorist ties, according to the FBI. With American combat operations winding down, the FBI doesn't anticipate a shortage of work. In the last year, IEDs caused 42,627 casualties worldwide.