After supper we went over to see what he wanted.
“This came in as Robert was leaving – he said to call you after it was unencrypted if it looked important,” he said as he put the deciphered communiqués on the screen.
The first one was from Jaed to Tiam and included pictures, descriptions and diagrams of his chosen method to deliver death and destruction. It was a new slant on a bicycle bomb.
In the Middle East, Africa, China, Indonesia and most third world countries bicycles were the most popular mode of transportation for the poor, even for many in the middle class. Automobiles were expensive and so was gas and in some countries gas was rationed.
They were used for everything, often filled with all kinds of bags, boxes, cane and anything else that could be tied, strapped or carried onto them. In war torn countries civil war, revolutions and insurgencies the bicycle had been turned into a weapon.
Usually they carried suicide bombers wearing backpacks full of explosives with nails or ball bearings or the bicycles had backpacks or saddle bags attached filled with the bomb.
Usually if the saddle bags carried the explosive charge the bicycle was rode into a busy street market and left in a bicycle stand or leaned against a building or a post. The rider activated a timer as he got off the bike and then he simply walked away to watch the carnage.
Looking at the drawings, pictures and the finished product Jaed had modernized the concept. He knew – the world knew it was standard policy now to inspect backpacks, bags and coolers as well as anything else carried into major events.
The new concept was cutting out the two top tubes on men’s heavy duty mountain bikes and replacing them with heavy scored plumbing pipe to create smaller pieces of deadly shrapnel. The front end of the pipe Jaed used was cut and tapered to make it look like the original when lightly welded in place.
That end of the pipe had a solid steel plug driven in and securely welded in place. This was done to contain the explosion until massive pressure was built up. The higher the pressure the more damage was done.
The Oklahoma City bombing was a clear example of poor bomb making. After the explosion hundreds of pounds of the explosive mix littered the site. He had used thin fifty five gallon drums that ruptured at a very low pressure before even twenty five percent of the mix had ignited. His lack of knowledge and stupidity saved hundreds if not a thousand lives.
The pipe would be filled with C4 – a very stable, very pliable plastic explosive that can be formed or rolled into shapes. C4 is generally manufactured in 2 x 11 x1.5 inch block that weighs 1and 1/4 pounds then wrapped in a Mylar wrap and sealed with adhesive tape.
It requires a shock wave created by a detonator or blasting cap to begin the mass explosion. It cannot be set off by heat, impact, fire or even being fired into with a gun – a common misconception promoted by Hollywood.
Jaed had taken advantage of this in the rear end of the pipe. After rolling the C4 into a cylinder small enough to fit into the pipe a cylindrical plug with a hole sized to allow a blasting cap to be installed was welded into place.
The rear of the pipes were welded to the seat stanchion. The wiring, batteries, timer and other control were hidden in the stanchion below the seat and accessible by removing the seat. The two pipes could hold three and three quarter pound of C4, based on the size of the pipe.
With the heavy steel pipe the pressure buildup would be tremendous, creating a huge deadly blast area. Jaed’s communiqué stated they had one hundred of these bikes with the tubes already manufactured, just waiting for the explosive.
With paint, epoxy and silicone applied, it would be difficult to spot these bikes without tapping on the tube with a metal object listening for a more solid sound instead of the sound of thin metal.
Jaed’s plan was to place the bikes in strategic locations and chain them into place. Others were to be placed into racks for the public to use. With miniature electronic timers the day and time could be programmed in advance.
General Kedar – through Tiam – replied to Jaed’s communiqué almost immediately, “The final products you wish will be delivered to you tomorrow.”
Analyzing the communiqué was depressing. It meant that the terrorist had four hundred pounds of commercial or military grade C4 and blasting caps in the area at their disposal. It was not coming across the border as we suspected; it had already made the trip. Did the controllers have that much confidence in Jaed that they sent the C4 anyhow?
How much more C4 did they have and where was it?
Another thing that it meant was the terrorists still had availability to advanced machine and welding operations at their disposal. Manually cutting, shaping and welding two hundred pipes was an operation that would be hard to do without drawing attention and would be time consuming by a single individual.
My feeling was that it was done in a manufacturing area, probably on CNC milling machines for uniformity, appearance and speed. Once the dimensions were plugged in it was all automatic.
It also meant that the electrical components had already been acquired, based on the pictures and tested.
Where were the bikes being stored? Where were they being modified? When would they be delivered to the water park? I doubted they were already at the water park- there was the possibility of too many prying eyes. All questions I had no answers to at the time.
I did have questions for Robert to look at. Was there enough of the bike in the picture to identify the manufacturer? If so could he find a local dealer? I was assuming that all the bikes were the same to make modifications easier and faster. A sale of one hundred at a time of the same model should be easy to find.
The picture also showed the miniature timer- was it good enough to allow a manufacturer and supplier to be found and tracked?
Then there was the machine shop that was making the pipes; they had to have some idea what they were making. Did the water park have a machine shop that was capable? Was Jaed a machinist? That was an interesting thought because I thought Jaed was a regular at the park from the bits and pieces from the other messages trails.
Just how many people were working on this? It was certainly more than just Jaed.
I called my people at the park and gave them a list of new things to look for and be careful of.
July the fourth fell just three days after Vicky and I returned from Portugal. With those thoughts in mind we returned home to little boys and babies in need of personal attention that was mutually shared.
At 0800 I keyed MTAC and began discussions with Ben. The agency people had only deciphered the first of the three communiqués from yesterday. There were already several more today that Roberts’s people were working on.
I continued to wonder why the feds were always so slow – the only conclusion I could come up with was it was a federal job, why rush at anything? Maybe it was the committee effect with everyone being afraid to make an immediate decision without first a consensus of minds.
Ben and I talked for an hour as we formulated plans and put options in order. The DHS, the FBI, the Department of Labor and OSHA were going to catalog all machine shops in a one hundred mile area.
The Department of Labor and OSHA had a coding system to identify what a business did to establish employee on the job accident risks and therefore the OSHA inspection criteria and frequency of those inspections.
Then the owners would be investigated electronically, looking for any and all connections to the Middle East. Not only the owners but all employees were to be inspected by both the Labor department and the IRS. The IRS could review all the employers W2s gathering names and how long they had been working at that establishment. Then they could be cross checked against immigration records, Interpol and the FBI and DHS data base.
Using the IRS in this manner broke all the rules and a few laws but I felt it was a necessary evil at this point in the investigation. Ben wanted me there when he approached the IRS director; he wanted someone to help twist his arm. Hell, I would break both his arms if necessary.
As chairperson of the oversight committee it was my sworn duty to see that all federal and state agencies stepped up to the plate when necessary to fight terrorism.
Those agencies were to be law enforcement and IRS agents carried guns, badges and also had SWAT teams – whatever for, no one knew. All these years I only thought an IRS agent killed you with a pencil and a crooked adding machine.
To me the gun and badge gave me the green light to use their resources, at least that was the point I was going to argue.
“Get them all on board and give me a time for the meeting. I will be there,” I replied.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.