New York police detectives were easily able to buy more than a ton of ammonium nitrate and build a terrorist-style bomb in the Bronx without raising many alarms, an official told the Senate Homeland Security Committee yesterday, the New York Daily News reports. The security breach uncovered during Operation Kaboom was just one weak spots cited by New York police counterterrorism czar Richard Falkenrath. He urged Congress to regulate the sale of ammonium nitrate – a common fertilizer that was used in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and the 1993 World Trade Center blast.
Rep. Pete King (R-L.I.), chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, said the farm lobby was pushing against regulating ammonium nitrate sales. New York police showed just how easily a devastating bomb could be assembled by assigning the task to several detectives in 2004. With $7,000, and information gleaned from the Internet and easily available books, detectives with no explosives experience built a bomb from 2,750 pounds of ammonium nitrate and 125 pounds of fuel oil they gathered. Detectives told farm supply stores they needed ammonium nitrate for an apple orchard. They bought 2,750 pounds for about $700. The 1993 WTC bombing involved between 1,000 and 1,200 pounds of ammonium nitrate; Oklahoma City involved 4,800 pounds. The detectives built a bomb and detonated it at a firing range.