A published report says U.S. forensic
experts have discovered evidence of a global bombmaking network used by Islamic
militants in terrorist attacks in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
The New York Times says in its Sunday edition that U.S. government
investigators have examined fragments from hundreds of improvised explosive
devices used in attacks on the three continents and have found design similarities
in many of them.
The newspaper quotes one forensic expert as saying many devices were made
by the same bombmaker or by different people using the same bombmaking instructions.
The Times report says intelligence analysts suggest that the al Qaida
terrorist network may be teaching bombmaking skills to militants who now are
spread around the world.
Some counterterrorism experts believe efforts should be focused on capturing
the relatively small number of master bombmakers responsible for building bombs
used in most large-scale attacks.
According to the Times, the United States has established a new forensic
intelligence unit to gather information related to the construction of improvised
The unit, known as the Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center, or TEDAC,
says nearly all terrorist attacks against Americans in the last five years
involved improvised bombs.
Tedac began operating in December, but The New York Times says Congress
was made aware of its existence only last week.
The unit comprises experts from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central
Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency,
and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.