By Patrick J. Brosnan

The revelation this week from Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abidis that he received “credible” intelligence that Islamic State militants plan to attack subway systems in the United States and Paris adds gasoline to the thoughts on the minds of many Americans- are we going to be attacked AGAIN on American soil? It is a terrifying thought but a pragmatic one given the known facts. First, approximately 80 potentially radicalized Americans have returned to the Homeland and are “under varying degrees of surveillance and investigation “according to FBI Director James Comey’s statements to CBS on Wednesday September 24. Great news and thank God! The FBI has apparently zeroed in on these traitors and are applying the pressure, as they can, under the Patriot Act, and must, as Americans with common sense. Director Comey advises there are approximately a dozen or so Americans still fighting with ISIS in Western Syria and, they too, are under the FBI’s microscope, a dark place that they must remain indefinitely. So we know these traitors hate us, are well-funded, and have drank extensively from the Jihadist Kool-Aid. We also know they have legal passports in their pockets that continue to make them, from a Law Enforcement perspective, invisible. These four factors create a perfect storm for a radicalized Jihadist to strike on American soil with virtual ease. But is it really that easy? Sadly, and terrifyingly, it is. Let’s examine the factors involved, from an operational, budget, and access perspective, to conduct a successful subway strike in the Homeland.

Ease of Acquiring Explosive Material

Initially, I was hesitant to convey any information that could assist a budding traitor but realize, sadly, that any bomb-making details that I share are already widely available on numerous internet sites and, equally important, from a cost/benefit calculus, is the value of an enlightened and hyper-vigilant populace. Analysis of the Tsarnaev brothers’ planning and operational strategy revealed that two self-radicalized morons, on a shoestring budget, could legally acquire and build two bombs that would kill three people and wound more than 260 at the Boston Marathon. The Tsarnaevs built two highly-effective bombs utilizing materials that are easily and legally acquired and, most importantly, do not raise any red flags when purchased. First, they picked up two pressure cookers from Macys for $120. They then purchased christmas lights and model car kits for under $100, presumably also at Macys. The final purchase, and most critical, was at Phantom Fireworks in Seabrook New Hampshire where they bought a $199 fireworks kit containing four launch tubes and 24 black powder-packed shells. They then used a buy one- get one free coupon to get another kit free. Bottom line- three pounds of explosives once they crushed and emptied the fireworks into the pressure cookers.

Cost of Acquiring Explosive Material

Unlike the 9/11 attacks where the hijackers spent an estimated $450,000 for flight training, living expenses, travel and tickets for the planes they hijacked, these attacks are very inexpensive. The fireworks were $200, two cookers were $120, Christmas lights and model car kits approximately $100 and a few bucks for nails and batteries. For under $500 bucks they constructed two deadly bombs that killed three, maimed dozens and injured 260.

Ease of Constructing the Bombs 

The step by step instructions for building bombs with kitchen pressure cookers is readily available online. Inspire, an online, English-language magazine that Al Quaeda began publishing in 2010 has published several articles detailing how exactly to construct these bombs. It is amazingly simple: fuses from the Christmas lights, remote-controlled detonators from the model car kits, three pounds of fireworks powder, two kitchen cookers, some nails and a cell phone to trigger it! In fact, the construction of these bombs is so simple that a moron like Dzhokhar Tsarnaev who failed seven subjects at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth could, and did, construct two of them.


It is frighteningly evident that a deadly home-made bomb can be legally obtained, inexpensively purchased, easily assembled and transported discreetly due to its relatively small size. A true recipe for disaster. This is reality: not large and legally unobtainable “dirty” bombs or nuclear weapons of mass destruction. No, in today’s world, it is kitchen pressure cookers, and similarly mundane devices, stuffed with firecracker powder and rigged with Christmas light fuses that pose the greatest realistic threat to the United States.

Patrick J. Brosnan, a former NYPD Robbery/Gun Squad detective named New York State Police Officer of the Year in 1990 for his efforts in taking guns off the streets, is now CEO of Brosnan Risk Consultants and a Fox News crime analyst.

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