CIA Left Explosives On A School Bus After Training Exercise

After borrowing a school bus for a training exercise, the CIA accidentally left explosive material on the bus, which was used to transport some two dozen K-12 students before the explosives were discovered and removed during routine maintenance. The CIA has since apologized.

When they were notified, the CIA sent a team of bomb sniffer dogs to sweep two other school buses just to make sure there were no additional traces of explosive material left on other school buses used in the same training exercise. The CIA released a statement in which the spy agency apologized for the mishap and reassured parents that the explosive material aboard the school bus was inert and could not have been activated through normal operation of the school bus.

“As part of the training exercise last week, canine explosive detection training was conducted in areas inside and outside of the high school. During the outside portion of the training, [explosive material] was hidden inside an engine compartment of the bus,” reads the statement from the Loudoun County Sheriff’s office concerning the CIA’s leftover explosive material.

Still, parents whose students were transported aboard the explosive school bus were not happy with the CIA when they found out what had happened. The CIA accidentally left the explosive material aboard one school bus after borrowing the bus for a training exercise at Briar Woods High School in Virginia. The training exercise was intended to provide training to the CIA’s K-9 units, particularly bomb sniffing dogs. As part of the exercise, live explosive material was deposited throughout several school buses and in a few places in Briar Woods High School.

The explosive material left behind by the CIA was not forgotten or inadvertently left behind, the CIA is quick to point out — the material aboard the bus fell out of the explosive container when it was recovered after the training exercise. The CIA statement concludes that the material was perfectly safe, and it was a very small amount that accidentally fell out of a container of explosive material, which was safely recovered after the training exercise concluded.

“At some point, a portion of the [explosive material] appears to have been dislodged from the container and fell into the engine compartment of the bus, and was not recovered following the training,” reads the statement from the Loudoun County Sheriff’s office concerning the explosive material left aboard a school bus by the CIA.

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The CIA explosive material left on the school bus was discovered when the bus underwent routine maintenance at the school district’s bus yard. The mechanics who performed the maintenance contacted the fire marshal and sheriff’s office and notified the CIA. Prior to the discovery of the explosive material left behind by the CIA, the school bus was used to transport about 26 students from two elementary schools. CNN reports that the parents of the students aboard the bus during that time were notified that their children were aboard a school bus containing explosive material left behind by the CIA.

The training program between the CIA and the school district has reportedly been terminated after this mishap. The CIA reiterates that the students were not endangered by the inert explosive material, but nevertheless, the program has been scrapped. According to NPR, the canine training program was “suspended pending further review,” but to assuage concerns of worried parents, the CIA also swept other buses that were not used in the training exercise to confirm that they did not contain explosive material.

“The training materials used in the exercises are incredibly stable and according to the CIA and Loudoun County explosive experts the students on the bus were not in any danger from the [explosive material],” reads the statement from the Loudoun County Sheriff’s office.

[Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images]