Skip to main content /US /US


Sources: 'Shoe bomb' suspect claims he used Internet recipe

Suspect's father says racism drove son to crime

By Susan Candiotti
CNN National Correspondent

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Richard Reid claims he used a recipe from the Internet and explosives purchased from a man in Amsterdam for $1,500 to fashion a sneaker bomb capable of blowing up an airliner, U.S. government sources said Monday.

The sources said Reid, 28, a heavily traveled British citizen of Jamaican heritage, told the FBI he bought the bomb ingredients from a Czechoslovakian man in Amsterdam. Reid lived there from August until December, working in various restaurants.

The suspect, a convert to Islam who once attended the same south London mosque as Zacarias Moussaoui, who faces trial as an alleged conspirator in the September 11 terror attacks, also claims he learned how to mix the ingredients after finding a recipe on the Internet, sources said.

Reid is accused of trying to light his sneakers with a match aboard American Airlines Flight 63 from Paris, France, to Miami, Florida, on December 22. Flight attendants and passengers restrained him and the plane was diverted with a military escort to Boston, Massachusetts. No one was hurt.

Read the charges U.S. vs. Reid (FindLaw) (PDF)
Timeline: The shoe bomber case 
Message Board: Safety in the skies 

At Reid's arraignment late last month in Boston, an FBI agent testified the shoe bomb contained the highly volatile, heat-and friction-sensitive chemical triacetone triperoxide, or TATP. If the shoe had exploded near the fuselage, it could have blown a hole in the aircraft. Reid was sitting in a window seat, the agent said.

Explosives experts told CNN the ingredients for TATP can be purchased from any store that handles common chemicals.

In Reid's case, sources said, TATP was allegedly used as an explosive additive needed to detonate the bomb's main ingredient -- the hard-to-detect plastic explosive PETN hidden in his ankle-high sneakers. The bomb also had a fuse containing black powder, according to sources.

The suspected shoe bomber's father, Robin Reid, said he wasn't close to his only child and found out about the case while reading the morning paper and
The suspected shoe bomber's father, Robin Reid, said he wasn't close to his only child and found out about the case while reading the morning paper and "there's my son's face staring out at me."  

Sources said the fuse was crimped at the end, which might have made it harder to ignite with a match. An FBI official has described the bomb as very sophisticated. Sources said Reid has claimed he carried out the plot by himself, but investigators doubt that claim.

Father: 'Outcast by everybody'

Reid is being held under a suicide watch at a detention facility in Massachusetts on a criminal complaint of interference with a flight crew. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison. Federal prosecutors in Boston have until late January to add more charges, based on the recommendations of a grand jury.

The suspect's father said racism and rejection in England probably drove his son to crime. Both men are of English and Jamaican heritage.

"We're rejected by people," Robin Reid told CNN. "Neither race welcomed me. No race will say we're a member of theirs. We're outcast by everybody."

Still, the elder Reid said, he had not resorted to violence. "I've not turned to that extreme myself, but I'm not made to feel welcome anywhere I go. So I know how my son feels."

He had no inkling that his son might be interested in terrorist activities, the elder Reid said. "The last time I saw my son, he was going off to Afghanistan to follow the Muslim faith."

Robin Reid said his son found comfort in studying Islam "because the Muslim faith accepts you as you are. I became a Muslim myself a little bit."

The elder Reid said he wasn't close to his only child and found out his son was accused of an attempted bombing while reading the morning paper, and "there's my son's face staring out at me."

But now he fears his son will see suicide as the "one way out for him" and he hopes that authorities will put his son in an "institution where they can help him, like a hospital or something like that where they can help him sort his mind out."




Back to the top