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News

FBI Connects Dots to NDT Industry

November 19, 2019

What does the nondestructive testing industry have to do with the FBI? Colleen McClanahan connected the dots in her informative special presentation following yesterday’s keynote address.

Colleen McClanahan of the FBI showed how the NDT industry can counter radiological threats.

McClanahan is part of the FBI’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate, under which radiation and radioactivity is monitored. Radiological products can be used to make weapons of mass destruction, such as dispersive devices (aka “dirty bombs”) and exposure devices, which expose the public to radiation in less obvious, hidden ways.  

Since the NDT industry uses radiological materials for inspection purposes, the FBI is reaching out to industry members for help in making sure none of it gets in the wrong hands.

“Most radiological material is used for beneficial purposes, but if not, we need to know about it,” McClanahan said.

McClanahan said her office has documented efforts to acquire radiological materials that date back to the early 1990s. “Radiological materials are more readily available on the black market than usable nuclear materials,” she said. “And a crude device can be constructed with little to no scientific experience.”

McClanahan stressed the importance of security for industry members who work with radiological materials, to both insider threats (such as employee theft) and outsider threats (such as a break-in or a client who may order an unusual supply of product). She urged attendees to report any red flags to the FBI at fbi.gov. “Just like at the airport—if you see something, say something,” she said.

Caption: Colleen McClanahan of the FBI showed how the NDT industry can counter radiological threats.