"Dirty Bomb" Materials Uncovered in Maine
"Dirty Bomb" Materials Uncovered in Maine ResidenceThursday, Feb. 12, 2009
Authorities in Maine found radiological "dirty bomb" ingredients and related items in the home of a man shot to death in December, the Bangor Daily Newsreported yesterday (see GSN, Jan. 15).
A Dec. 9 search of James Cummings' home in Belfast turned up "radiological dispersal device components and literature, and radioactive materials," according to a FBI field Intelligence report obtained by Wikileaks.
Among the finds were four single-gallon containers filled with depleted uranium, 35 percent hydrogen peroxide, thorium, lithium metal, thermite, aluminum powder, beryllium, boron, black iron, oxide and magnesium ribbon.
Investigators also recovered "literature on constructing 'dirty bombs,' [and] information referring to cesium 137, strontium 90 and cobalt 60," the report says.
A dirty bomb uses conventional explosives to disperse radioactive material in an effort to spark chaos and spread contamination.
The hydrogen peroxide is "a necessary precursor for the manufacture of peroxide-based explosives," and aluminum, lithium metal and thermite are materials "used to sensitize and amplify the effects of the explosives," according to the report (Walter Griffin, Bangor Daily News, Feb. 11).
"I've been told by federal officials that the items seized could be purchased legally and that there was not sufficient quantity or quality to pose an immediate threat or hazard to the health and safety of the public," Maine Public Safety Commissioner Anne Jordan said in a statement yesterday (Clarke Canfield, Associated Press/Boston Globe, Feb. 11).
Cummings' wife Amber, who is believed to have shot him but has not been charged, said he talked about radiological weapons. She described him as physically, sexually and mentally abusive.
Cummings appeared to have ties to white supremacist groups, the report states, and local workers who entered his Belfast residence said he owned various pieces of Nazi memorabilia.
Authorities declined to discuss the homicide case or the information contained in the report, the Daily Newsreported (Griffin, Daily News).
The report stated that the uranium component was bought online from a U.S. company that was identified in the investigation, but not in the report.