BOSTON, Dec. 28 (UPI) -- A federal judge in Boston Friday found probable cause to continue to hold shoe-bomb suspect Richard Reid in custody without bail pending trial on charges stemming from an alleged attempt to blow up a Paris to Miami jetliner over the Atlantic Ocean last week.
During a detention hearing in U.S. District Court in Boston, FBI special agent Margaret G. Cronin testified FBI lab technicians determined there were enough explosives in Reid's high-top sneakers to cause extensive damage to the American Airlines Flight 63, which carried 197 passengers and crew.
"If the sneakers had been placed against an outside wall, the explosion would have created a hole in the fuselage," said Cronin, one of the FBI agents who arrested Reid after the plane was diverted to Boston and the only witness called at the hearing.
Cronin said lab technicians in Washington analyzed the materials found in both sneakers, and determined it was triacetone triperoxide, or TATP, a substance considered a favorite weapon of terrorists in the Middle East and elsewhere.
It was TATP that was used to bring down a Philippines Air Lines flight with 293 people on board Dec. 11, 1994. Two Palestinian terrorists were convicted of using TATP in 1996 to bomb Jewish targets in Britain.
Cronin said Reid's sneakers each contained a "functioning improvised explosive device, in layman's terms -- a home-made bomb."
The shaggy-haired Islamic convert, shackled and wearing orange-colored prison garb, showed no emotion during the hearing.
There was a heavy police presence in and around the court for the hearing, and the courtroom was packed with members of the media, leaving few seats for the public.
Although it had been speculated the government would bring more serious charges such as attempted murder against Reid, 28, no new charges were raised at this hearing. Prosecutors, however, have 30 days to do so.
Reid is charged with assault and interfering with a flight crew.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Colin G. Owyang argued that Reid should be held without bail as a flight risk and a danger to the public because he allegedly assaulted two flight attendants as they tried to keep him from igniting a fuse to his sneakers, he had a criminal record and because he had "no verifiable address anywhere in the world."
Public Defender Tamara Birckhead did not contest the allegations specified in Cronin's affidavit, but said it drew a "very narrow conclusion that he poses a danger."
Saying there was no evidence linking Reid to any terrorist group or individual, Birckhead asked that she be allowed to revisit the detention issue later if conditions warrant.
Magistrate Judge Judith G. Dein said there was probable cause, and ordered Reid held.
Reid, who carried a British passport, had to be restrained by crewmembers and other passengers aboard Flight 63, which took off from Paris on Saturday morning. Reid had missed the same flight the day before because of questions about his documents, but was allowed to board the plane on Saturday after authorities determined they were in order.
An international investigation, meanwhile, traced Reid's activities over the past six months trying to pin down any links to terrorists. Over that time he reportedly traveled to Israel, Egypt, Pakistan, the Netherlands, Belgium -- where he obtained a new British passport on Dec. 7 -- and France.
Reports have linked Reid to Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called 20th hijacker who is under indictment for conspiracy in connection with the Sept. 11 attacks. Both reportedly attended the same mosque in south London during the mid-1990s, and spent months together late last year learning about explosives at an al Qaida terrorist camp in Afghanistan.