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Redstone Arsenal gains FBI lab that “changed the war on terror,” poised to become major FBI hub

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REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (WHNT) - In the wake of the Boston bombing, the FBI's Terrorist Explosive Devices Analytical Center, also known as TEDAC, deployed experts to analyze the carnage.

In September 2015, Popular Science described it as a "little-known FBI lab" that "changed the war on terror."

That center has a new home on Redstone Arsenal.

The building is new, but the mission started back in 2003. FBI Director James Comey notes that at the time, "There was no one government entity that was responsible for thinking well about the threat, for consolidating that thinking, then exploiting the intelligence to fight the enemy."

The FBI's director says the new TEDAC facility brings together more than thirty agencies and over 200 FBI professionals from all over Quantico.

"TEDAC is no longer spread out over many, many satellite offices," he tells the crowd gathered at the ribbon cutting, "We are together under one roof."

As for the TEDAC's day-to-day operations, Comey elaborates on the center's work, "It links IED's to the bomb makers. It recognizes trends in how those bombs are being constructed and with what materials. It identifies the chemicals the enemy is using and where they came from. It works to reconstruct explosive devices and identifies the unique signatures of these bomb makers."

Comey hopes knowing their enemy can help them predict their enemy, "TEDAC works to try to anticipate what these savages will bring next to the fight."

As to what the FBI hopes to bring to the fight next, TEDAC is just a start.

Before they even cut the ribbon on the facility, Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) was hinting to the crowd about more, "I've seen some plans this morning, and we've got to implement them. Congressman Brooks and Senator Sessions and I will work with the director on that"

Following the ribbon cutting, Shelby and Comey addressed the media. Shelby gives the director a little nudge, "Mr. Director, could you just touch on some of the vision for the future here of the FBI? There's more to come.""

"There's more to come," Comey confirms, "We're going to move over 200 people down here for this facility."

But that's the baseline for the people working at TEDAC specifically. Shelby is getting at this next piece of information from Comey, "What we see here is an opportunity to have a center of gravity for the FBI. The new headquarters building that we're building outside of Washington some place, I don't know where it will be, will not be big enough for the entire FBI. So we're going to have to move some of our support to some good place in the United States. As we were discussing with the senator, this may be the perfect location for that kind of thing."

Shelby emphasizes,"That'd be a lot of people."

"A lot of people," Comey agrees, "They don't need to be sitting in Washington to be effective. A whole lot of our support organizations need good office space and great community support, and this is that kind of place."

So TEDAC might not be the last FBI ribbon cutting we see around here.

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