The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said Gregory General Contracting Company reported approximately 640 pounds of dynamite and 400 blasting caps were taken. My former colleagues in the federal Intelligence Community tell me Iranian "Sleeper Cells" are suspected and are believed to be moving aggressively toward an actual attack here in the U.S.
The explosives were stored in a locked truck trailer left at the site on River Road in Marietta, PA on Friday, according to the ATF. The work site security company discovered the theft Monday after noticing the trailer door was open and the locks were missing.
The ATF is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information that leads to the recovery of the stolen explosives and/or the arrest and conviction of those responsible. Anyone with information can call the ATF hotline at 1-888-ATF-BOMB (1-888-283-2662). Tips can also be reported online.
Iranian-backed militants are operating across the United States -- mostly unfettered -- raising concerns in Congress and among regional experts that these "sleeper cell" agents are poised to launch a large-scale attack on the American homeland, according to testimony before lawmakers.
Iranian agents tied to the terror group Hezbollah have already been discovered in the United States plotting attacks, giving rise to fears that Tehran could order a strike inside America should tensions between the Trump administration and Islamic Republic reach a boiling point.
Intelligence officials and former White House officials confirmed to Congress on Tuesday that such an attack is not only plausible, but relatively easy for Iran to carry out at a time when the Trump administration is considering abandoning the landmark nuclear deal and reapplying sanctions on Tehran.
There is mounting evidence that Iran poses "a direct threat to the homeland," according to Rep. Peter King (R., N.Y.), a member of the House Homeland Security Committee and chair of its subcommittee on counter-terrorism and intelligence.
A chief concern is "Iranian support for Hezbollah, which is active in the Middle East, Latin America, and here in the U.S., where Hezbollah operatives have been arrested for activities conducted in our own country," King said, referring the recent arrest of two individuals plotting terror attacks in New York City and Michigan.
"Both individuals received significant weapons training from Hezbollah," King said. "It is clear Hezbollah has the will and capability."
After more than a decade of receiving intelligence briefs, King said he has concluded that "Hezbollah is probably the most experienced and professional terrorist organization in the world," even more so than ISIS and Al Qaeda.
Asked if Iran could use Hezbollah to conduct strikes on the United States, a panel of experts including intelligence officials and former White House insiders responded in the affirmative.
"They are as good or better at explosive devices than ISIS, they are better at assassinations and developing assassination cells," said Michael Pregent, a former intelligence officer who worked to counter Iranian influence in the region. "They're better at targeting, better at looking at things," and they can outsource attacks to Hezbollah.
"Hezbollah is smart," Pregent said. "They're very good at keeping their communications secure, keeping their operational security secure, and, again, from a high profile attack perspective, they'd be good at improvised explosive devices."