Jeffrey LewisWhite Supremacist Trust Fund Dirty Bomber

This is major league weird and a significant coup for WikiLeaks.

Walter Griffin, of the Bangor Daily News, reports:

James G. Cummings, who police say was shot to death by his wife two months ago, allegedly had a cache of radioactive materials in his home suitable for building a “dirty bomb.”

According to an FBI field intelligence report from the Washington Regional Threat and Analysis Center posted online by WikiLeaks, an organization that posts leaked documents, an investigation into the case revealed that radioactive materials were removed from Cummings’ home after his shooting death on Dec. 9.

[snip]

It says that four 1-gallon containers of 35 percent hydrogen peroxide, uranium, thorium, lithium metal, thermite, aluminum powder, beryllium, boron, black iron oxide and magnesium ribbon were found in the home.

Also found was literature on how to build “dirty bombs” and information about cesium-137, strontium-90 and cobalt-60, radioactive materials. The FBI report also stated there was evidence linking James Cummings to white supremacist groups. This would seem to confirm observations by local tradesmen who worked at the Cummings home that he was an ardent admirer of Adolf Hitler and had a collection of Nazi memorabilia around the house, including a prominently displayed flag with swastika. Cummings claimed to have pieces of Hitler’s personal silverware and place settings, painter Mike Robbins said a few days after the shooting.

[snip]

Cummings grew up in California and lived in Texas before moving to Maine in August 2007. Although Robbins said Cummings told him he made his money in Texas real estate, it appears that the actual source of his wealth was a trust fund established by his father, a prominent landowner in the Northern California city of Fort Bragg. An Internet search of the James B. Cummings Trust indicated that it has an annual income of $10 million.

Comments

  1. Yale L. Simkin (History)

    I’m not sure what he was thinking, but it looks like the major danger from the “dirty bomb” was the fire/blast and some nasty beryllium contamination.

    Now if it was Pu238 or Co60, instead…

  2. Andrew Tubbiolo (History)

    People like this are the excuse always bandied about as for having a police state. Amazingly, they are usually so unstable their schemes unravel early. Please look at what he really had before we fly off the handle like we did when the Brits arrested the halfwits who said they were going to use ‘liquid’ bombs to bring down trans-Atlantic airliners. Or react the way the FBI did when their own agents got some numbskulls in NJ to say they were going ‘attack’ Ft Dix under the guise of pizza delivery.

    Andrew

  3. Tom

    The actual FBI document mentions four small jars containing U-238 and two jars containing Th-232. The uranium jars reportedly carried the label of a US company which sells the materials online.

    This strongly indicates that we are talking gram-amounts of DU and Thorium. (And probably Beryllium, too, because that material is also available, likely from the same online vendor: “1 gram Beryllium ball for 20$”).

    Now, DU and Thorium are not suitable materials for radioactive dirty bombs to begin with, simply because of their comparatively low specific radioactivity. Dispersed in gram-amounts, their effect would be virtually negligible.

    So, even if the collection of documents in the man’s possession indicates an intent to build an radiological weapon, he appears NOT to have had the actual capability to do so.

  4. Magpie (History)

    A dirty bomb doesn’t need to actually kill anyone. If it’s got something “nukular” in it people will panic, the media will panic, and: mission accomplished.

    Look at weaponised Anthrax in 2001 – killed half a dozen people and yet just about every nation on earth still spends great lumps of currency each year dealing with hoax attacks.

  5. Saved by Serendipity? (History)

    Fortunately wacko guys have wacko wives to save the day?And vice versa maybe? I wonder. Is this the morale of the story?

    BUT supposedly a robust policing is in place and supposedly they are tracking, among others, movement in acquisition of radioactive materials.
    But that’s an enormous undertaking, almost not doable.

    Then, they supposedly track extremist elements like the supremacists. That’s still difficult but more doable maybe.

    However the idea is that when these two “lines of monitoring” intersect there is a higher probability that you pick-up the danger in time. In theory…

    In this case, it seems that the random event saved the day.

  6. Major Lemon (History)

    “Cummings grew up in California”. Obviously he never ‘grew up’ enough.

  7. Mark Gubrud

    According to your quote of the report, the guy did not have any highly radioactive material that would be suitable for a dirty bomb. Just another self-styled extremist dreamer. You do have to ask what would have happened if this guy had come by a discarded medical or RTG source such as reportedly litter Russia and sometimes turn up here, too. Probably, nothing. We hope.

  8. Andrew Tubbiolo (History)

    Magpie’s point is valid. Also consider that the most successful lone wolf terrorist was trained, cleared, and paid by the government to combat the weapons he made and used. His motivations included an excuse to deploy the vaccine he was developing. So Mr Cummings’ wife saved the US population from having to endure a more extreme press cycle had he exploaded something. Von Bergendorff’s own stupidity saved someone in Las Vegas for being exposed to his ricin. And the 50+ billion dollar a year US internal security aparat was unable to track down the anthrax terrorist in their own midst for 7 years.

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