updated 2/22/2004 4:51:27 PM ET 2004-02-22T21:51:27

Identical technology appears to have been used to create terror bombs that have struck targets in different parts of the world, including against U.S. troops in Iraq, the head of the House Homeland Security Committee said Sunday.

Similarities in the devices indicate a clear connection among the operations “because we are finding that the same designs for these bombs are showing up on different continents,” Rep. Christopher Cox said.

The New York Times, in a report Sunday about the connections, quoted an unidentified forensic expert as saying the links prove “that we have the same bomb maker, or different bomb makers using the same instructions.”

‘We’re using intelligence proactively’
Cox, R-Calif., said the findings, from a new intelligence operation working out of the FBI Laboratory in Quantico, Va., has given the government the capability to take the initiative to prevent attacks.

“We’re using intelligence proactively to make sure that we don’t have to just clean up the mess but rather we prevent these things before they happen,” Cox said on CNN’s “Late Edition.”

Cox said the new operation’s existence was made public in the past week. The Times reported that terrorism specialists in Congress were briefed about it last week.

The newspaper said studies by the interagency Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center, the new operation’s name, found that 90 percent of terror attacks against Americans over the past five years have involved improvised explosive devices. Apparent links were found among makers of devices used in Africa and the Middle East and other parts of Asia, the newspaper said.

“What we are finding now is that the same kinds of devices, or at least apparently the same kinds of devices, are being deployed against our forces in Iraq,” Cox said.

“It’s an especial problem because there’s nobody to fire back at,” he said. “These can be remotely detonated devices, and we’re having to fit all of our equipment there with shields so that we can protect our troops.”

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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