Rep. Pete King: Merchants Selling Ball Bearings, Beauty Products 'Should Notify Police'

Susan Jones | April 17, 2013 | 5:44am EDT
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Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) (AP File Photo)

( - Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.), a member of both the House Homeland Security Committee and the House Intelligence Committee, wants retailers to tell police about people who buy innocuous items that could be used to make a bomb.

This follows reports that the Boston Marathon bomber used pressure cookers packed with nails and ball bearings to kill three people and maim dozens of others at the finish line on Monday.

"Obviously there's always certain ways that security can be stepped up at an event," King told MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell on Tuesday.

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"But the fact is that if someone is a terrorist, that they can construct a bomb and put it together. If they can carry it that far, chances are they're going to make it to the event. That's why the intelligence is so important, to be aggressive, to be out front, and why it's important (for) people, if they see something, say something.

"For instance, merchants, if they're selling any components that can be used for a bomb, everywhere from ball bearings to beauty products, they can all be used to make bombs. They should notify the police."

King noted that New York City Policy Commissioner Raymond Kelly has sent his officers into the community to monitor what's happening: "I know they've been criticized for it, but that's how you can head off this type of -- hopefully, head off -- this type of attack."

King said getting "more intelligence" is something that "has to be done."

Asked if the Boston attack might lead to the installation of more surveillance cameras, King said he thinks so -- "because I think privacy involves being in a private location. Being out in the street, there's not an expectation of privacy. Anyone can look at you, can see you, can watch what you're doing. A camera just makes it more sophisticated."

King said surveillance cameras are "no different" from having a neighbor look at you from a window -- or a police officer watch you walking down the street: "So I think we do need more cameras. We have to stay ahead of the terrorists."

King called cameras "a great law enforcement method and device. And, again, it keeps us ahead of the terrorists who are constantly trying to kill us."

Jammers, too

A few hours later, speaking to Fox News, Rep. King called for the use of "jammers" to prevent the detonation of remote-controlled improvised explosive devices.

"I feel strongly that local police should have access to jammers," King said. "I believe they should have more cooperation with the military -- right now there are legal issues, as far as...military units being involved in this, but the military has expertise dealing with these IEDs."

The only way to stop IEDs with detonators is to have "more dogs, more surveillance."

King then repeated his call for retailers to go to police when they notice people buying every day items that could be used as bomb components.

"Anyone seeing anyone buying components, any type of BBs or ball bearings -- a large amount of nails, even -- report that to police," he said.

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