Easy-to-make peroxide-based “Mother of Satan” bombs are considered the most likely weapon that terrorists will use against the U.S., more so than nuclear or radiological “dirty” bombs, FBI forensic scientist Kirk Yeager tells the Associasted Press. He heads the explosives unit at the FBI’s laboratory in Quantico, Va., about 35 miles south of Washington. The bombs are made by mixing chemicals used in common household items, including hydrogren peroxide and paint thinner, and easily found at drug stores or hardware stores. Experts know them as TATP, short for triacetone triperoxide, and HMTD, or hexamethylene triperoxide diamine.
AP lists four cases of explosions or thwarted attacks with TATP or HMTD in the U.S. since 1999. Authorities say terrorists planned to mix a solution similar to TATP in last summer’s thwarted attacks on as many as 10 London-to-U.S. flights – leading to the crackdown on bringing liquids aboard airlines. Ecoterrorists and animal rights extremist groups such as Animal Liberation Front and Earth Liberation Front are believed by authorities to use peroxide-based explosives. Yeager, 41, who helps the FBI solve bombing cases by investigating the crime scene debris, is the only U.S. official who makes TATP and similar explosives in mass quantities.