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FBI stops x-ray weapon assasination plot


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#1 DocM

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 07:33

Frightening, and very, very possible - especially for those with knowledge of electrical engineering x-ray generating systems. There are a lot of ways to produce the high power electrical impulse required for a lethal beam

They probably went with something like a significantly scaled up x-ray therapy accelerator (linear or cyclotron) with a 1-30 million eV generator instead of <150,000 eV in a diagnostic x-ray system. (X-rays from a cobalt-60 radiation therapy source run 1.17 and 1.33 million eV and can be plenty lethal if delivered to the whole body long enough.)

http://abcnews.go.co...ory?id=19440343

FBI Foils Plot to Build X-Ray Weapon[/b]

A New York man who allegedly wanted to kill President Obama and apparently blamed him for the recent Boston bombings has been arrested for trying to build and detonate a weapon of mass destruction.

Glendon Scott Crawford, 49, of Galway, N.Y., spent months designing and constructing an X-ray system that would emit deadly amounts of radiation and could be detonated remotely, according to the FBI. Crawford recruited Eric J. Feight, 54, of Hudson, N.Y, to join in the plot, and both were arrested Tuesday, the FBI said.

Crawford and Feight allegedly planned to hide their weapon in a truck and FBI experts said it would have been "functional" and "lethal."

According to the FBI, Crawford cited "a political figure" and a Muslim organization as "potential targets." Sources familiar with the investigation identified the "political figure" as Obama.

"Obama's policies caused this," Crawford allegedly wrote in a text message on April 15, the day a series of bombings killed three and injured scores more at the Boston marathon.

"He directed the [government] to start bringing [Muslims] here without background checks," Crawford wrote, according to the FBI. "They don't have to follow any laws, and this administration has done more to enable a government sponsored invasion than the press can cover up."

The FBI launched an investigation into Crawford last spring after he allegedly walked into a synagogue in Albany, N.Y., and inquired about technology that could kill "Israel's enemies while they slept." The synagogue notified police, and within six weeks the FBI had a source secretly recording meetings with Crawford, according an FBI affidavit filed in the case.

In a June 2012 conversation, Crawford – described by the FBI as a member of the Ku Klux Klan – called his design "Hiroshima on a light switch," the affidavit said. And in August 2012, Crawford allegedly asked a high-ranking official in the KKK for money to fund his plot. The KKK official informed the FBI, and within weeks two undercover agents posing as KKK members were introduced to Crawford.

Over the next several months, Crawford conducted extensive research for the design, at times expressing frustration over the slow pace of the team's progress, the FBI affidavit indicated. Ultimately, with help from the undercover agents, Crawford and Feight acquired the necessary parts and even tested the device that would remotely detonate the weapon, according to the FBI. It would all be powered through a truck's cigarette lighter, the FBI said.


(NOTE: I'm betting the /trigger system was lighter-powered, not the device itself.)

Crawford and Feight planned to meet Tuesday to connect the final components of their weapon, but they were arrested by the FBI.

The pair had met at GE, where Crawford was an industrial mechanic and Feight sometimes worked as an outside contractor due to his engineering skills. But GE has "no reason to believe" any crimes "took place on GE property," and Crawford has since been suspended, the company said in a statement.

"We are cooperating fully with authorities on their investigation," said Jim Healy, communications director for GE Power & Water.

Both defendants have been charged with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, namely through use of a weapon of mass destruction. The charges came via a criminal complaint, which means a grand jury will decide whether to indict the men if a plea deal is not reached beforehand.

In a statement, U.S. Attorney Richard Hartunian said the public must "remain vigilant to detect and stop potential terrorists," and the head of the FBI's field office in Albany, Andrew Vale, said such anti-terrorism efforts "are only successful" with the public's help.




#2 Growled

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 13:09

I'm glad they caught this one but I wonder if one day one will slip by them. A lot of innocent people will die.



#3 OP DocM

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 13:43

It should fit in a medium sized U-Haul, so care will be necessary.

On reflection, I'm still betting a compact linear accelerator akin to those used in radiotherapy, possibly explosively pumped (helical or disc flux compression generator?)

#4 OP DocM

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 21:44

Update: CNN is reporting the device had an output of 8 to 10 Grays (Gy). A Gy is 1 joule absorbed / kg. For reference, the lethal whole body dose for a 150lb person is about 5 Gy, and death would take about 12-14 days. An abdominal x-ray is about 1.5 mGy and a CT about 7-9 mGy.

#5 Luc2k

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 22:06

So, what is the range of this thing?



#6 exotoxic

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 22:29

Would it not be easier to make some sort of high powered laser weapon??



#7 SinsOfCube

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 22:31

Update: CNN is reporting the device had an output of 8 to 10 Grays (Gy). A Gy is 1 joule absorbed / kg. For reference, the lethal whole body dose for a 150lb person is about 5 Gy, and death would take about 12-14 days. An abdominal x-ray is about 1.5 mGy and a CT about 7-9 mGy.

 

Grays isn't an unit for defining how powerfull a device is, if you put someone under a normal x-ray machine long enough you can get also get to a lethal dose. The things that affect how much energy you absorb in Grays are; the type of radition, the level of energy, distance to source and exposure time. This isn't directed at you DocM, just the CNN report.
 
Also this whole thing sounds rather strange, an exploding device shouldn't be able to generate x-rays, because x-rays are generated by shooting electrons at a lead or tungsten plate, causing the electrons to slow down and their kinetic energy is then released as heat (99%) and x-rays(1%). Using something like a linear accelerator as a weapon wouldn't be very effective either, since the further you are, the less radiation you receive. If you multiply the distance from the source by 2, you absorb 4 times less radiation, multiply the distance by 3 and you absorb 9 times less radiation.


#8 morebaker

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 22:36

i have a flux capaciter



#9 OP DocM

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Posted 22 June 2013 - 11:13

Grays isn't an unit for defining how powerfull a device is, if you put someone under a normal x-ray machine long enough you can get also get to a lethal dose. The things that affect how much energy you absorb in Grays are; the type of radition, the level of energy, distance to source and exposure time. This isn't directed at you DocM, just the CNN report.

I think they were given Grays to be a comparative measure of end effect on victims, not machine power.

Also this whole thing sounds rather strange, an exploding device shouldn't be able to generate x-rays because x-rays are generated by shooting electrons at a lead or tungsten plate, causing the electrons to slow down and their kinetic energy is then released as heat (99%) and x-rays(1%)......

AKA Bremstrahlung radiation, but linear accelerators are much more efficient than a normal x-ray tubes ~1% because the efficiency of x-ray production goes up rapidly with electron energy. Once you get into the MeV's it's in double digits and target cooling becomes much less of a concern. Above 10 MeV some linacs can switch to aluminum or other targets.

An explosive pumped disc or helical flux compression generator can deliver a massive electrical jolt. Feed that power into 3-5 meter linear accelerator (linac) with target foils at the end and you get a helluva x-ray output - with possible energies of 30+ MeV.

Using something like a linear accelerator as a weapon wouldn't be very effective either, since the further you are, the less radiation you receive. If you multiply the distance from the source by 2, you absorb 4 times less radiation, multiply the distance by 3 and you absorb 9 times less radiation.

AKA inverse square law, which applies to point sources without x-ray or gamm ray optics.

About a year ago it was found that gamma rays at high energies have a positive refractive index in lenses made of elements with heavy nuclei (silicon: 700 KeV up to 2 MeV) via Delbrück scattering, allowing for gamma ray optics. Gold and other heavy atoms should up the energy considerably. If these yo-yo's had heard about it fitting even a rudimentary lens to the business end of a linac changes the picture considerably.

Of course a lot depends on the duration of exposure. If the intended victims were at an event full of talking heads (political, religious, civic, whatever) that lasted a couple of hours then the devices output requirements drop considerably and more conventional gamma ray sources become practical - though the gamma ray optics would still be useful to keep the beam focus tight.

#10 Des™

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Posted 26 June 2013 - 14:51

This man lived 1 city up from me. Some pretty scary stuff.





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