Slain Neo-Nazi Wanted to Build a "Dirty Bomb"

By Matthew Harwood
02/25/2009 -
A Maine man who was shot and killed by his wife last December had some of the components and instructions to build a dirty bomb, according to a leaked Washington, DC, law enforcement intelligence report.
The report from the Washington Regional Threat and Analysis reports that the FBI found "radiological dispersal device components and literature and radioactive materials" at the Dublin, Maine, home of 29-year-old, James Cummings, who may have had ties to white supremacist groups.
WikiLeaks, a popular Web site that leaks confidential government documents, posted the document online January 19.
The report says Maine authorities detected radioactivity emanating from four jars labeled "uranium metal" as well as found two jars of thorium. Upon further analysis, the four jars of uranium metal held depleted uranium 238 while the jars of thorium contained thorium 232. The FBI comments included within the report say literature on constructing dirty bombs was found as well as information relating to cesium-137, strontium-90, and cobalt-60.
Depleted uranium, thorium, cesium-137, strontium-90, and cobalt-60 are all radioactive isotopes. (Clarification below)
Cummings obtained the four jars of depleted uranium online from a company in the United States that was left unidentified in the report.
He also possessed "four one-gallon containers of 35 percent hydrogen peroxide, lithium metal, thermite, aluminum powder, beryllium, boron, black iron oxide, and magnesium ribbon" as well.
The 35 percent hydrogen peroxide is a necessary precursor to peroxide-based explosives. Lithium metal, thermite, and aluminum would create a stronger explosion, according to the intelligence report.
James Cummings' 31-year-old wife, Amber, told police that her husband was angry over the election of President Barack Obama, mixed chemicals in their kitchen sink, and spoke of dirty bombs. FBI comments within the report said an application to the National Socialist Movement was also found in Cummings' home.
The Bangor Daily News reports a tradesman that worked in the Cummings' house confirmed his affinity for white supremacists ideas, saying he was fond of Adolf Hitler and prominently displayed the Nazi flag inside his home.
Amber said she shot her husband after years of mental, physical, and sexual abuse. She has yet to be charged with a crime.
CORRECTION: As a reader points out, while James Cummings possessed depleted uranium (DU), the material is weakly radioactive and not suitable for use in a dirty bomb, which would contain highly radioactive material. According to the World Health Organization, most DU digested or absorbed into the human body is processed and then expelled with no adverse effects. Because Cummings could not build a dirty bomb, the headline has been amended to show his desire to build a dirty bomb and to downgrade his ability to do so.