By Amy TolsonFebruary 17, 2016
From this day forward, Feb. 16, 2016, will be known as a "bad day for terrorists."
While the bad guys are at work building improvised explosive devices to harm innocent people, the brains behind the Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center are constantly at work in an effort to be one step ahead of those terrorists to protect the American people and their allies.
FBI Director James B. Comey, Redstone Arsenal Senior Commander Lt. Gen. Larry Wyche and U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby celebrated a new beginning and renewed commitment to TEDAC's mission Feb. 16 as they cut the ribbon for the TEDAC Laboratory Complex on Redstone Arsenal.
"This is a good day for the American people," Shelby said. "It's a good day for law abiding people all over the world. This is a bad day for terrorists."
Stood up in 2003, the mission of TEDAC is to "directly contribute to the eradication of the IED threat" through the analysis of improvised explosive devices, by not only linking IEDs to their makers, but also identifying trends in how they are being made, and with what materials and chemicals. Since its inception, more than 75,000 submissions of IEDs and related materials have been processed through TEDAC from Iraq, Afghanistan and some 50 other countries around the world.
"Everybody knows that one scrap, one drop of chemical, is going to be the difference between innocents being slaughtered and innocents being saved," Comey said. "That's what TEDAC does, that's what TEDAC will demonstrate to the rest of the world."
TEDAC's ribbon cutting is only the beginning of the FBI's increasing presence on Redstone Arsenal, according to Comey, who cited the opportunity for Huntsville to be a possible location to expand an FBI headquarters component.
"They don't need to be sitting in Washington to be effective," Comey said of his workforce. "A whole lot of our support organizations need good office space, great community support, and this is that kind of place."
While any concrete plans for headquarters are too early to comment on, Comey said that more than 200 employees will complete the move to TEDAC's new facility in Alabama within the year. Redstone Arsenal was selected as the new TEDAC location, as opposed to its previous location at Quantico, Virginia, due to the analysis and work that is already being done with explosives on the installation at the Hazardous Devices School and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Forearms and Explosives or ATF.
The new location for the interagency brings together its 30 partners, which include representatives from the FBI, ATF, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, the intelligence community and international partner agencies, under one roof, in a neutral location.
"Putting people from different agencies together is the way we save lives," Comey said.
Once such way in which TEDAC has made a difference can be found in the case of two recovered fingerprints from an IED in 2009. TEDAC worked to ensure that biometric information was flagged in case the terrorist ever attempted to enter the United States, which he did in February 2013. He was stopped by the Department of Homeland Security before he could enter the country thanks to TEDAC.
"Preventing terrorist attacks remains the FBI's top priority," said Gregory Carl, TEDAC director. "The threats posed by foreign fighters and from homegrown bomb extremists are dynamic, and IEDs continue to function as the weapon of strategic influence for our adversaries. The IED threat continues to evolve and proliferate globally, and as a result, our U.S. government response and mitigation efforts must adapt to these threats."