by Howard Melamed

Here is the ugly scenario: A terrorist plants a remote controlled improvised explosive device (RCIED) containing radioactive debris while a football game is being played. It is discovered by an alert policeman, and the First Responders, the local or county bomb squad is on the scene within minutes.  While the public is being evacuated, and the bomb squad attempts to disable the RCIED, it is detonated by the terrorist using a cell phone or even a garage door opener.  Bomb squad personnel are killed instantly, along with hundreds of other citizens, and deadly radioactive material is released exposing thousand others. Why couldn’t the bomb squad do something about it? It’s simple. They do not have jamming equipment to disable any chance of the bomb being detonated. In this country, it is illegal for state and local government agencies including the bomb squads to use them.

My company, CellAntenna Corporation, located here in Coral Springs solves in building cellular communication problems and also sells jamming equipment to the Federal Government.  We were recently requested by the FCC under a Letter of Inquiry to reply to a complaint that we were selling the jamming equipment to local police departments and their bomb squads, which was not the case. The FCC pointed out that this is illegal for us to do so. In September I met with the FCC in Washington, and pointed out that although we were in compliance with the law, this situation is insane. Remote Control devices are the choice weapon of terrorist around the world.  If we are to defend this country against this most likely scenario, we have to have the equipment in the hands of the First Responders which are the local and state law enforcement agencies.  One of the compliances officers said to me that local and state police cannot be trusted with RF Jamming devices, since they might use them for other purposes. I pointed out that we trust police with bullets and guns that may kill people; can we not trust them with a radio frequency jamming device that kills frequencies?  They were not impressed. In their interpretation the law is quite clear, and the only federal department that does not need a search warrant to enter your home, and made Howard Stern cry, said “No jamming allowed by any local or state police department”.

Excerpt from 1934 Communications Act

(a) The Commission may, consistent with the public interest, convenience, And necessity, make reasonable regulations (1) governing the interference potential Of devices which in their operation are capable of emitting radio frequency energy By radiation, conduction, or other means in sufficient degree to cause harmful Interference to radio communications; and (2) establishing minimum performance Standards for home electronic equipment and systems to reduce their susceptibility To interference from radio frequency energy. Such regulations shall be applicable to The manufacture, import, sale, offer for sale, or shipment of such devices and home Electronic equipment and systems, and to the use of such devices.
(b) No person shall manufacture, import, sell, offer for sale, or ship devices Or home electronic equipment and systems, or use devices, which fail to comply With regulations promulgated pursuant to this section.
(c) The provisions of this section shall not be applicable to carriers Transporting such devices or home electronic equipment and systems without Trading in them, to devices or home electronic equipment and systems Manufactured solely for export, to the equipment manufacturer, assembly, or Installation of devices or home electronic and systems for its own use by a public Utility engaged in providing electric service, or to devices or home electronic Equipment and systems for use by the Government of the United States or any Agency thereof. Devices and home electronic equipment and systems for use by the Government of the United States or any agency thereof shall be developed, procured, or otherwise acquired, including offshore procurement, under United States Government criteria, standards, or specifications designed to achieve the objectives of reducing interference to radio reception and to home electronic equipment and systems, taking into account the unique needs of national defense and security.

Part of Homeland Security ACT of 2002
SEC. 502. RESPONSIBILITIES. The Secretary, acting through the Under Secretary for Emergency Preparedness and Response, shall include— (1) helping to ensure the effectiveness of emergency response providers to terrorist attacks, major disasters, and other emergencies; (3) providing the Federal Government’s response to terrorist attacks and major disasters, including—
(A) managing such response;
(5) building a comprehensive national incident management system with Federal, State, and local government personnel, H. R. 5005—79 agencies, and authorities, to respond to such attacks and disasters;

The FCC interpretation comes as a result of the FCC claiming its right to make such determinations based on the 1934 Communications Act section 302 (a) and (b). There is no specific mention of Radio Frequency Jamming Equipment in the statute nor are there any provisions regarding the protection of the public and any government agencies from radio controlled bombs or other forms of radio controlled improvised explosive devices.

However, the 2002 Homeland Security Act gave the Department of Homeland Security and its secretary, Secretary Chertoff with the power to provide local and state law enforcement departments with the equipment needed to prevent a terrorist attack, as well as equipment that can mitigate or limit a terrorists killing capability. In 1934 congress could not have predicted Remote Controlled Improvised Explosive Devices (RCIED), Cell Phones, or Al Qaeda. They need to update the 1934 Communications Act to 2005 realities. Having the FCC prevent bomb squads from having RF Jamming equipment is like having the Environment Protection Agency prevent the police officers from using bullets because they emit banned lead oxide gas when a gun is fired.

While in Washington, I also went to the offices of both of my Senators from the state of Florida, Martinez and Nelson.  Since both senators had more pressing issues, I was only able to meet with their aids and both said the same thing: “Interesting, and keep us informed”.  I still haven’t heard back from them. My congressmen are hard to get a hold of as well as.  I even sent a letter to Secretary Chertoff, head of the Department of Homeland Security,  (click here to view)  advising him of the situation and telling him to act based on the authority given to him by congress.  CellAntenna sent out a Press Release to the media, as well as to the congressional forums, indicating our position (click here to view the press release). While several newspapers and radio stations have interviewed me on this issue, for the most part no one is paying attention. This frightens me as it should you.

Are we only to be given lip service by our government when they say that they are doing all they can to protect us from terrorist attacks, or do we really have a serious Department of Homeland Security that will do what they need to do to? This question is the main one to be answered, and unfortunately until there is another 9/11 where citizens and First responders are killed, our government will not change anything.  Believe me, I would love to write an addendum to this article to say I was wrong, or remove it entirely, knowing that our First Responders have acquired the necessary tools to protect us in likely terrorist attacks and methods.

So, I ask our Senators and Congressman,  and Secretary Chertoff to let common sense prevail, and allow our bomb squads at the local and state level acquire the equipment they need to protect us and themselves against a remote controlled bomb attack, before anyone gets killed.

I need your help. Why not call our congressman and senators. Tell them to start paying attention!


Author: HelpMeHoward