Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab tried to use Pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN) to blow up the airliner over Detroit Christmas Day. PETN is one of the most powerful high explosives known and could have caused great damage on the Christmas Day airliner. Umar was seated directly above the fuel tank. Reportedly about 80 grams nearly 3 ounces of PETN was taped around the leg of the terrorist.
Adjacent photo shows terrorist being taken into custody,
Eight ounces of the stuff in a World War II era 2.36” bazooka rocket could blast a hole in 5 inches of armour plate so 3 ounces would have make short work of the thin skinned aircraft.
“Shoe Bomber” Richard Reid had also used 8-10 ounces of PETN along with triacetone triperoxide (TATP), in 2001 to try to blast that Boeing 767. Neither man successfully detonated their bombs
Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab’s father a wealthy Nigerian banker informed authorities weeks ago that his son was dangerous having fallen under the influence of radical Muslims.
The UK denied Umar a new visa to return to his engineering studies there.
Despite both Umar was allowed to fly on KLM to Amsterdam and then on a NWA flight to Detroit. His name appears among 575,000 suspects on an FBI watch list but nothing was done to alert security of give him extra attention..
A passenger subdued Umar. There was no Air Marshal aboard the flight because Dutch law forbids it.
Congressman Peter King (R) New York the ranking Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee has called for a full investigation of the near disastrous security boondoggle. The Obama White House is in the early stages of finger pointing and deflection.
PETN is a white crystalline substance that feels powdery to the touch.
PETN is used in detonation cord, blasting caps and other applications. It is relatively simple to make but, like nitroglycerine is can be unstable turning an erstwhile manufacturer into a red paste spread around the walls, ceiling and floor of the would be bomber’s makeshift lab.
But, you need not make it there is a lot of the stuff around. For instance, the IAEA reported it lost track of 12,000 pounds of PETN in Iraq a couple years ago, and it is otherwise easily obtainable from various sources but you cannot buy it at the local Farm Bureau..
Obtaining PETN explosive from the Nigerian terrorist indicates that he has involvement with some big terror groups. The terrorist, who was alleged to have some association with Al Qaeda, has declared to have received training at the Al Qaeda base in Yemen. Apparently the detonator was faulty just as was Reid’s when he failed to detonate his shoe bomb at Christmastime 2001. Iran’s heavily involved in Yemen as a munitions supplier.
Had either bomb detonated it is likely both aircraft, passengers and crews would have been destroyed.