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2008 Press Releases

U.S. Embassy Statement on the Role of ATF

April 11, 2008

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is the primary U.S. Federal agency for the investigation of explosives incidents and the enforcement of explosives laws and explosives industry regulations.

Since 1978, ATF has had a national and international response capability to investigate significant explosions and fires. This capability, the National Response Team (NRT) and International Response Team (IRT), consists of teams that respond anywhere in the U.S., and, through the Department of State Diplomatic Security Service, respond to assist foreign governments with investigations overseas.
 
The teams are each composed of veteran special agents, forensic chemists, bomb technicians, and fire protection and electrical engineers with explosion and fire origin and cause expertise. The teams work alongside local investigators in reconstructing the scene, identifying the origin and cause of the explosion or fire, conducting interviews, and sifting through debris to obtain evidence related to the explosion or fire.
 
The NRT has been activated for all major explosives and fire incidents in the United States. Examples include the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the Oklahoma City bombing, the TWA Flight 800 explosion, and the 9/11 World Trade Center and Pentagon crash sites.  There have been 31 IRT deployments.  Recent IRT deployments include responses to requests by Paraguay, Grenada, Suriname, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic involving serious incidents with numerous fatalities.
 
All members of the team deployed to Albania for the Gerdec post blast investigation have extensive expertise in explosion post blast and fire origin and cause.
 
The six team members have previously been deployed to the Oklahoma City bombing, the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing, the TWA Flight 800 explosion, the 9/11 crash sites, and numerous explosion incidents involving multiple fatalities at ammunition and explosive manufacturing and storage facilities in the U.S. and Europe.