March 11, 2018 was the fourteenth anniversary of the Madrid transit bombings in which over 190 people died and more than 1,800 were injured. The attack involved improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in backpacks and other small bags that exploded on four commuter trains. One IED malfunctioned and was rendered safe, while Spanish authorities disrupted three other IEDs.
The bombing near the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan in December 2017 and the subway bombings in London and St. Petersburg, Russia earlier in the year illustrate the danger to surface transportation systems posed by persons inspired by violent extremist ideology. In light of the prevalence of IEDs as a terrorist tactic, TSA encourages our industry partners to review the attached Counter-IED Resources Guide from the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Bombing Prevention (OBP) for tools and training to counter this threat. OBP’s TRIPwire provides additional information on IED incidents, techniques, and procedures, as well as corresponding IED prevention and protective measures.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is providing this Security Awareness Message to our industry partners to encourage a heightened sense of security awareness within the surface modes of transportation, not in response to a specific threat to the Nation’s transportation systems. The current National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) Bulletin issued on November 9, 2017 describes the threat posed by homegrown terrorists who use readily available tactics and weapons. At present, the TSA Office of Intelligence and Analysis is not aware of information to suggest any imminent plots against surface transportation in the United States. However, the potential remains for individuals inside the United States, who are radicalized or otherwise motivated to violence, to attack surface transportation systems.
Read the full safety message from the TSA.