OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Sometimes the conspiracy theories write themselves.
There is no indication that there is any connection between the events, but as 50 senators have been issued emergency satellite cell phones we have learned that around 60,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate, which is used in fertilizer and in explosive devices, is missing,
The chemical was used in the 1995 attack on the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City that killed 168 people, Fox News reported.
On April 12, a railcar loaded with 30 tons of the chemical left Cheyenne, Wyoming. However, according to an incident report from Dyno Nobel, when the car arrived two weeks later at a rail stop in the Mojave Desert, it was completely empty.
Dyno Nobel, the company responsible for shipping the ammonium nitrate is a leader in commercial explosives and filed a report with the federal National Response Center (NRC) on May 10.
The Federal Railroad Administration, the California Public Utilities Commission, Union Pacific, and Dyno Nobel are looking into the disappearance, and the railcar is being transported back to Wyoming to undergo a thorough inspection.
Dyno Nobel told local station KQED News that they believe that the material fell from the car on the way to a rail siding about 30 miles from Mojave.
“The railcar was sealed when it left the Cheyenne facility, and the seals were still intact when it arrived in Saltdale. The initial assessment is that a leak through the bottom gate on the railcar may have developed in transit,” it said.
“We take this matter seriously and will work to understand how it happened and how it can be prevented from occurring again,” a spokesperson for the company said.
At around the same time it was reported that 50 United States senators have been given satellite phones for use in case of an emergency, CBS News reported.
The phones were offered to all 100 senators but only around 50 had accepted them.
CBS News reported.
In testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee last month, Senate Sergeant at Arms Karen Gibson said satellite communication is being deployed “to ensure a redundant and secure means of communication during a disruptive event.”
Gibson said the phones are a security backstop in the case of an emergency that “takes out communications” in part of America. Federal funding will pay for the satellite airtime needed to utilize the phone devices.
A Department of Homeland Security advisory said satellite phones are a tool for responding to and coordinating government services in the case of a “man-made” or natural disaster that wipes out communication.
“The new satellite phone system is one part of a new security program that includes hardening lawmaker offices and homes and seems geared towards domestic unrest that could threaten other communications networks like cell service,” said private domestic intelligence firm Forward Observer in its daily subscriber brief on Monday.
On Monday there was an emergency event at the White House that raised concerns.
A suspect has been charged with driving a U-Haul truck into the barricades at the White House and threatening to kill or harm a president, vice president, or family member. Police say the man had a Nazi flag in the truck with him, CNN reported.
“A preliminary investigation revealed the driver – who has not been publicly identified – may have intentionally struck the barrier, the Secret Service later said. While authorities have not provided specific details on the alleged threat, the US Park Police said the man faces the charge of threatening to kill, kidnap or inflict harm on a President, vice president, or family member,” CNN reported.
“The driver also was also arrested on charges of assault with a dangerous weapon, reckless operation of a motor vehicle, destruction of federal property, and trespassing, according to the Park Police. After the crash, the truck was searched by bomb technicians, and no explosives or incendiary devices were found, a law enforcement source familiar with the investigation told CNN,” the outlet added.
“What appears to be a Nazi flag was just pulled from the cab of a U-Haul truck that rammed the fence at Lafayette Square in front of the White House,” Reuters reporter Nathan Howard said on Twitter.