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This was the same backpack in which Atwater was carrying a military smoke grenade when he was stopped by TSA security in Fayetteville, North Carolina’s airport a week earlier, December 24. Atwater was scolded and his smoke grenade taken away but was still allowed to travel to Texas presumably with a bag full of enough C-4 to blow the jet he got on out of the sky.

It’s clear the C-4 was in Atwater’s backpack after the smoke grenade incident because when he was busted for the plastic explosive on New Year’s Eve, his excuse was that he forgot about it since coming back from Afghanistan the previous April. The Green Beret didn’t say why he had the C-4 or why he would have had to illegally smuggle it out of a war zone to possess it. Atwater was mum on why he had a military smoke grenade his backpack or why he had brought this small arsenal on a public aircraft and forgot about the C-4 even after getting caught with the smoke grenade. In the end, though, he didn’t have to explain anything: all charges were dropped in February 2012.

Another Army Special Forces soldier was arrested at home in Clarksville, Tennessee on November 2, 2009 for having 100 pounds of C-4. The soldier’s house was near Fort Campbell, Kentucky, where he was stationed. Two hunters had found the hefty C-4 stash in a bag in a field linked to the Special Forces sergeant.

In another incident, a ten pound cache of C-4 was found by a caretaker at the New York City Marble Cemetery in spring 2009. The eight M112 demolition charges in a crumbling black garbage bag were good to go even though lack of taggants – identifying markers – dated the production of the C-4 to before 1997.

Exactly how much C-4 has been stolen from the military or civilian businesses in the United States is a mystery. Anecdotal information serves as a key indicator barring such estimates.

One of the biggest heists of explosives in New Mexico history went down sometime in December 2005 when 400 pounds of plastic explosives, including 150 lbs. of C-4, were ripped off. The thieves used a blowtorch to cut into several storage trailers of Cherry Engineering outside of Albuquerque.

The company’s owner, Chris Cherry, was a scientist at the time of the theft with Sandia National Laboratories. This was the second theft in two years at the unguarded site with no surveillance cameras. Officials said that there was enough explosive to equal the 1995 Oklahoma City federal building bombing and that they had no leads.

“There is no specific threat,” then Governor Bill Richardson said in a written statement, adding that “it is my understanding that the explosives were stolen from a private magazine.”

Somehow Richardson seemed to imply that things were okay. One Rand Corp. terrorism expert told CNN that these thefts were common with around 100 per year in the 1990s with most having to do with organized crime, insurance fraud, extortion, personal vendettas, vandalism, revenge and protest. It is not reassuring that terrorism wasn’t the motive for stealing from unsecure sites.

Law enforcement has repeatedly taken down people trying to sell or buy C-4. It is illegal for most civilians to own C-4 in the U.S. That didn’t stop two men and a woman in Bradford Pennsylvania from trying to sell a M112 brick to a confidential police informant in early November 2012. One of the men had absconded with the 1.25 pound C-4 from his employer two months earlier at his well blasting business. For their troubles the trio was jailed on $250,000 bail.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Cleveland announced May 1, 2012 that they had busted five men conspiring to use C-4 to blow up a bridge outside of the city. The self-proclaimed anarchists wanted to place two improvised explosive devices under the Route 82 Brecksville-Northfield High Level Bridge which crosses over the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, according to the complaint. The pair didn’t realize that the “C-4” they were being sold was inert putty placed in their hands by undercover agents.

L-R Connor Stevens-Brandon Baxter-Douglas Wright-FBI photosThrowing themselves at the mercy of the court ended up being a successful move but came at the cost of some grandiose public groveling. One of the would be terrorists, Brandon Baxter, 20, got 117 months instead of the prosecutor-recommended 300 months after his defense attorney John Pyle laid it on thick.

“The government has every right, every duty to trap terrorists,” Pyle proclaimed. “I don’t dispute that for one second. I grew up in a country where farmers trap destructive rodents; they sometimes trap curious cats. Brandon Baxter is more a curious stray cat than a destructive rodent.”

SONGS is not vulnerable to stoner stray cats. It is vulnerable to all manner of foreign and domestic criminal and terrorist conspirators simply because the targets are not heavily protected and are of high value. This series has established that the threat is abundantly real with the weapons, explosives and personnel available for such a black swan attack. Killers from around the world are available for the right ideology or the right price or both.

A chilling example of this was the September 27 bust of three ex-soldiers accused of plotting to kill a Drug Enforcement Agency agent for $800,000. Alleged ringleader Joseph “Rambo” Hunter, 48, bragged to undercover DEA agents that he could handle protecting drug shipments and assassinations with his team of snipers. Hunter supposedly told the agents that he became a contract killer after serving in the U.S. Army from 1983 to 2004.

“The bone-chilling allegations in today’s indictment read like they were ripped from the pages of a Tom Clancy novel,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said at a press conference. “The charges tell a tale of an international band of mercenary marksmen who enlisted their elite military training to serve as hired guns for evil ends.”


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  1. You called this three months ago. Serious validation – “Clapper Says Syrian Al-Qaida Wants to Attack US” http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/clapper-syrian-al-qaida-attack-us-22283284

    Thank you for having the guts to report this. Maybe the Marines or anti nuke people will see that this threat is real and get off their butts and protect those nuclear rod pools.

  2. Seems like people serious about terrorism – the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies – take this article seriously. Their PTSS Daily Counterterrorism News Journal featured it at https://globalecco.org/documents/10180/452548/PTSS+Daily+17+10+2013.pdf/18883adf-e4cc-4f90-88f3-3f2abe856007

    The U.S. and German defense departments created this security and terrorism studies institute in 1993. Glad to see this part of DOD taking a look at this because defeating the threat is practical and essential. It is a threat on both sides of the Atlantic that can’t be ignored any longer.

  3. Well, this is all very unsettling. The ready availability of powerful explosives and military arms is not surprising to me at all. I can understand why drug lords can be particularly vicious when it comes to protecting turf, eliminating rivals and using mercs to secure their operations. And, for a price, these professional mercenaries might well eliminate a chosen soft target for monetary gain. That said, I do not believe it would make any business sense for cartels or their hires to lay waste to SONGS, contaminating a lucrative market area for their usual wares. Their is no motive for that crowd to cr*p in their own back yard, so to speak. Rather, it is the ideologues who might choose an extremely messy target, such as SONGS, most likely in retaliation for U.S. activities elsewhere (such as intervention in Syria or Iran). The fact that powerful weapons or explosives might be sold to such groups from local suppliers, greatly simplifies the logistics of transporting said weapons and explosives to the attack site. I wouldn’t be surprised if such a potential attack were supplied directly from weapons stolen from the Camp Pendelton Marine base, itself. So rather than being protective to SONGS, the nearby Marine base, is actually the most likely supply source for weapons and explosives the attackers need to accomplish their nefarious aims. I think I could write a creditable B-grade TV script thriller about such a plan. Let’s hope such ideas do not become an actuality in a terrorist’s mind. Is it responsible to merely hope for the best, though? The target risk is there, the weapons are nearby, so many military personnel who might become theives when tempted by mounds of cash…

    Sleep well, dream of something pleasant, sheep, perhaps. Just remember, there may be a wolf lurking among them. Or is it a Black Swan?

  4. Have your geiger counters fully functioning.

  5. This is so shocking I don’t even know where to begin. Actually I do. The wingnuts who have commented so far show just how nuts conspiro’s really are. It’s likely that they couldn’t even understand this monumental work. Enviroreporter has done the job our government should be doing. What I find really impressive is how you covered all the bases showing how credible the threat of attacking San Onofre, Peach Bottom and the other hundred or so pre-placed terrorist targets really is. Instead of just scaring the pants off of us, you’ve also hinted at the solutions which I gather are in the next piece. I can’t wait to read it! Thank you Enviroreporter! You really have done commendable work that is a credit to your profession and our country. Now the government must ACT now that the wingnuts who shut it have been show the door.

  6. In the days of old when they dug up the gold, the great equalizer was the Colt .45 Nowadays the great equalizer is RPG.
    The launchers are actually legal to own in the US, but the propelled grenades surely are not. But, for the right price and the right reasons, Russia, China, etc. could (and do) supply tens of thousands of these “great new equalizers” to pretty much anyone who can pay and/or support their agenda.

    Any wannabe Ranger cops or agents who climb into those armored tin cans they supply the police with these days, might just as well go ahead and baste himself with butter first.
    Ask any combat vet about RPG. The simple RPG-7 has been around for at least 50 years and the newer RPG-29 is a monster.

    Like a kid hiding behind a bush with a 12 gauge, an RPG can certainly ruin anyone’s day. Armored or not.

  7. I guess the author has not heard of a false flag attack and architects & engineers for 911 truth.I don’t know who to feel worse for 1) a intelligent person that writs articles like this that doesn’t beleive 9-11 could be a staged false flag event or 2) a person that is so mind controled that the thought would not even enter their being. Military Officers for 9-11 truth, Firemen for 9-1 truth, Scientists for 9-11 truth etc…. probably another 20-30 organizations….back to sleep, zzzzzzz.

  8. But Mr Collins, he just needed to do his part to try and recreate a master narrative where Greens are terrorists and nuclear operators are kittens. With the global disaster at Fukushima, we know the authorities are absolutely useless, the Pacific Ocean will soon be unusable.

  9. Michael Collins this is a very interesting article you have here. Very interesting that focus is made on San Onofre. Not too many people understand this government is going to blow up San Onofre and blame it on some entity that they themselves have created. They will call it “terrorism”. The plan was revealed via clues left in a Masonic TV show. Government terrorists LOVE to do this, telegraphing their murderous intentions, so they leave clues in the most unlikely places.

    Good job on the article, I think? Your either a high level Freemason, a government operative, or just very observant.

    To everybody else, get the hell out of San Diego!

  10. Humboldt bay power also has ponds and above ground containers. The insanity is there is no way to move the containers.

  11. @John ONeill: Judging from your comments, you are having reading comprehension challenges. The lead photo should have clued you in that we are not talking about 30-year-old bazookas or terrorists planning to hold anything.

  12. Five bazooka rounds were launched at a French reactor by a Green party terrorist thirty years ago. No significant damage resulted. It would require something considerably more potent to puncture a spent fuel pool ( thick reinforced concrete fully lined with welded steel). After that the putative terrorists would have to hold the plant till all the water drained – it’s kept twenty feet deep above the fuel.

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