War on Terrorism

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Evolution and Role of the Terrorist Explosive Devices Analytical Center

Remarks prepared for delivery by FBI Director Robert S. Mueller, III

Good morning, everyone. It is an honor to be here today as we mark this milestone, both in TEDAC’s development and in our combined efforts against the threat of improvised explosive devices, or IEDs.

On behalf of the Bureau, I want to thank Major General Collyar and everyone at Redstone Arsenal for hosting us today. I also appreciate the presence of Senator Shelby and Congressman Brooks and their support for this new facility.

Let me also acknowledge our TEDAC partners in the ATF and in the Department of Defense, especially Lieutenant General Michael Barbero and the Joint IED Defeat Organization. Finally, I want to recognize the FBI’s Birmingham Field Office and the Huntsville Resident Agency, who are working hard to prepare for TEDAC’s arrival.

The FBI established the Terrorist Explosive Devices Analytical Center, or TEDAC, in 2003. In the past nine years, it has proved to be one of our nation’s most valuable tools in the war on terror.

Prior to TEDAC, no single part of our government was responsible for analyzing and exploiting intelligence related to terrorist IEDs. Today, TEDAC coordinates the efforts of our entire government, from law enforcement to intelligence to the military, to gather and share intelligence about these explosives.

Given the ever-shifting nature of the IED threat, working together and sharing information is not just the best option, it is the only option. One tiny scrap of information can break a case or save lives.

I remember working on the Pan Am 103 investigation in Lockerbie, Scotland. The break in that case came from a fragment of debris—a fingernail-sized piece from the circuit board of a cassette player. Investigators found this crucial piece of evidence during a ground search of the area covering more than 845 square miles. That fragment helped to establish that the bomb had been placed inside a tape deck in a piece of luggage—intelligence that was key in identifying those responsible for that attack.

TEDAC collects and analyzes the same type of intelligence. Nearly all IEDs pass through TEDAC, allowing our technicians, examiners, scientists, and intelligence analysts to see the full spectrum of devices and to recognize trends in their construction and components. This, in turn, helps us to disarm or disrupt these devices…to link IEDs to their makers…and most importantly, to prevent future attacks.

TEDAC has processed more than 80,000 submissions since its creation. By using forensic techniques and examinations to analyze IED components, scientists and engineers have made dozens of forensic matches and connections between seemingly unrelated IEDs.

These connections have supplied valuable information to our agents, our analysts, and our war fighters on the front lines. TEDAC’s work has resulted in actionable intelligence and progress in the fight against increasingly sophisticated and deadly explosives.

The new laboratory we are building here will help advance TEDAC’s mission. It will allow us to more efficiently exploit the information and intelligence we obtain from the analysis of IEDs.

The lab’s location here at Redstone Arsenal—alongside the FBI’s Hazardous Devices School and the ATF’s National Center for Explosives Training and Research—also will enhance collaboration and strengthen our government-wide approach to countering IEDs and other explosives threats. And this will help us better share information throughout our government and with our state, local, and international partners.

Here at Redstone, American ingenuity developed the missiles that helped us win the Cold War and the rockets that took our astronauts into space, and eventually, to the moon.

Today, American ingenuity at Redstone continues to play a vital role in defending our nation. With the construction of this laboratory, TEDAC soon will add its own contributions to this proud legacy.

Thank you and God bless.

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