CIA Exercise Gone Awry Leaves School Kids Riding A Bus Packed With Explosives For Nearly A Week

This will help you sleep at night: The CIA forgot a bunch of explosives on a school bus in Virginia last week after running training exercises with local law enforcement, and school children rode the explosives-packed bus for nearly a week before anyone realized the blunder, according to local officials.

March 24, CIA officials placed a container filled with “explosives training materials” into the engine compartment of a Briar Woods High School school bus. The container was not discovered for nearly a week, until a maintenance check of the bus turned it up. In that time, students at the Loudoun County school rode the bus eight times. At least two days the bus transported elementary students, as well.

Take a moment to reflect, here, that neither local law enforcement, nor the CIA running the exercise, remembered their own explosives being left on the public school bus. Instead, they were discovered by an average working citizen running a maintenance check back at the bus garage.

The CIA, however, issued a statement claiming the materials never constituted a threat to the public.

“During the exercise, explosive training material was inadvertently left by the CIA K-9 unit in one of the buses used in the exercise.”

The materials were found Wednesday, after which both local law enforcement, as well as the CIA, were summoned to retrieve the package immediately. All involved in the training exercise resulting in the protocol failure, including the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, as well as the Fire Marshal, refused to specify for the public what the “explosives training materials” consisted of, exactly, following a Thursday meeting with school officials. All county officials would say was:

“The exact nature of the training material used in this exercise is not being released at the request of the CIA so as not to compromise its training techniques.”

That statement ought to put local parents at ease.

Officials did offer a little more information, however, just not regarding the nature of the material, stating that “the material had fallen out of the container and into the engine compartment, where it went uncollected—and unnoticed—for nearly a week.”

Because the prior week was spring break for the school district, the bus only actually made eight runs over the course of two days—Monday and Tuesday. It drove a total of 145 miles and typically transports 26 children to and from three different schools: Rock Ridge High School, Buffalo Trail Elementary School and Pinebrook Elementary School.

Following its own protocol properly, the school district sent out an alert to parents regarding the matter, but had few answers for questioning guardians due to the tight-lipped nature of the authorities who created the fiasco in the first place. The school district’s email to parents stated, in part:

“During a routine maintenance procedure Wednesday, a Loudoun County transportation employee found an explosive training material on a school bus used in an exercise by a Federal Government agency last week. The explosive training material was in a benign state and could not be activated through normal operation of the bus.”

At least one parent of a student attending Buffalo Trail said she had trouble understanding why the CIA would be running training exercises on public school property. She also stated she is skeptical of their excuse downplaying the materials that were forgotten. She questioned:

“What are ‘explosives training materials’ anyway? That could mean a lot of things, none of which belong on a school bus.”

Attempting to put the public at ease in the most bizarre manner possible, the CIA said such exercises on public school grounds is “routine and part of exercises its personnel do with local law enforcement throughout the metro area.”

Feel better now, parents of Loudoun County, Virginia? This practice you find troubling isn’t troubling at all, because they actually do what they just mucked up “throughout the metro area.”

Take it easy. There may be explosives on your kids’ school bus, but it’s “benign.” Trust them. You have nothing to worry about.

Featured image by JohnPickenPhoto via Flickr, available under Creative Commons license.