Discussion: I first observed discussion of binary explosives on the al-Firdaws forum in January of 2007. In light of recent events I will post here my archive:
Implementation: On Christmas Day, 2009, Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab boards a flight in Amsterdam, bound for Detroit, and on final descent he attempts to set off what was most likely a binary explosive. Thank goodness he either screwed up or had bad instructions, because the chemicals he was working with were evidently quite good.
“AP sources: Attempt to blow up airliner foiled - Yahoo! News.” http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091226/ap_on_re_us/us_airliner_disturbance (Accessed December 26, 2009).
“City searches after plane plot | News.” http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23788488-city-searches-after-plane-plot.do (Accessed December 26, 2009).
“Passengers help foil attack on Detroit-bound plane - Yahoo! News.” http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091226/ap_on_re_us/us_airliner_attack (Accessed December 26, 2009).
“U.S. says al Qaeda linked Nigerian tries to blow up plane - Yahoo! News.” http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20091226/ts_nm/us_usa_flight_terrorism (Accessed December 26, 2009).
Update: More details from ABC News:
Investigators say the suspect had more than 80 grams of PETN, a compound related to nitro-glycerin used by the military. The so-called shoe bomber, Richard Reid, had only about 50 grams in his failed attempt in 2001 to blow up a U.S.-bound jet. Yesterday's bomb failed because the detonator may have been too small or was not in "proper contact" with the explosive material, investigators told ABC News.
...The device intended to blow up the Northwest flight was made at the location in Yemen, according to Abdulmutallab, and consisted of a six-inch packet of powder and a syringe with a liquid. Both were sewn into the student's underwear so they would be near his testicles and unlikely to be detected, he told agents.
Authorities say the combination of the liquid in the syringe with the powder created the flash bomb, which was extinguished by passengers and air crew.
Investigators are conducting tests to determine the exact nature of the powder and chemicals used.
The device is remarkably similar in description to a commercial binary explosive system as described in an "ATF Law Enforcement Guide to Explosives Incident Reporting" that I found laying around - aside from the bit about sewing the constituent parts into your underwear, which I suspect is not recommended by the manufacturer.
The ABC report adds:
According to the authorities, Abdulmutallab says he made contact via the internet with a radical imam in Yemen who then connected him with al Qaeda leaders in a village north of the country's capital, Sanaa.Posted on 26 December 2009 @ 16:15
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