Businesses, employees, and the public play an important role in helping safeguard our communities from bad actors who seek to use improvised explosive devices (IEDs) made from common household products. Businesses including hardware and beauty supply stores may possess or sell products that can be used to make IEDs such as precursor chemicals or device components. The FBI and CISA need your help to recognize and report suspicious activity associated with the nefarious acquisition or use of these products.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the FBI’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate, and businesses of all types are joining forces in a national IED awareness campaign called Operation Flashpoint. The primary objective of Operation Flashpoint is to safeguard relevant products, identify suspicious activity, and report concerns to law enforcement. Through in-person outreach and CISA’s Bomb-Making Materials Awareness Program (BMAP), businesses receive free guidance, educational videos, and training resources that are common sense, simple to implement, and have minimal impact on operations.
Operation Flashpoint demonstrates a whole-of-government and whole-of-nation partnership approach to protecting people and critical infrastructure from bombings. Each day, CISA and the FBI work to prevent and disrupt potential terrorist or criminal attacks using IEDs. Businesses can make vital contributions to this prevention effort. Your vigilance and assistance are a critical first line of defense and one of the best opportunities for the early detection that’s essential to our nation’s counterterrorism and law enforcement efforts.
- Provide early detection of the sale of precursor chemicals, explosive powders, and exploding target materials by individuals engaging in suspicious behaviors
- Prevent diversion and theft of precursor chemicals by bad actors
- Build a network of vigilant and informed stakeholders who will see and say something to prevent bombing attacks
- Improves prevention, mitigation, and risk management opportunities to stay ahead of threats
- Enhances public/private partnerships
- Increases private sector point-of-sale awareness
- Increases identification of suspicious activity and purchasing behavior
- Improves recognition and reporting to appropriate officials
Report Suspicious Activity
To report suspicious activity, dial 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324) or contact your local law enforcement department. In the event of an emergency, always call 911.
To report suspicious activity to the FBI online, please visit: https://tips.fbi.gov/.
Resources and Participation
Operation Flashpoint provides an array of awareness products and resources designed to share counter-IED awareness information intended to prevent and mitigate bombing incidents.
Email email@example.com to learn how to participate, regardless of the type or size of your business.
Watch the Vigilant Employee Video
The store manager of a local hardware store is watching the news when he sees the two suspects have been identified and arrested in connection with a bombing attack at the local high school. Two of his employees explain that the bomber had been in their store the week before. They tell him the bomber asked for chemicals, requested the cutting of galvanized pipes, requested endcaps for those pipes, and paid with cash to avoid credit card detection. It was not an unusually large quantity of chemicals but suspicious due to them being purchased together. Additionally, the bomber was hesitant to talk with the employees and paid in cash, which are both indicators of suspicious activity. Operation Flashpoint would have provided these employees the knowledge to recognize those behaviors and the confidence to report the suspicious purchase, possibly preventing a bombing attack.