April 2, 2016
Everybody makes mistakes.
Let’s just be thankful that the people who keep us safe from our enemies across the globe didn’t actually blow-up these children.
Briar Woods High School, a half-hour drive from the CIA’s headquarters in Northern Virginia, might have provided an ideal training ground for the agency’s bomb-sniffing dogs. Its labyrinthine hallways and voluminous classrooms are home to something that can wreak havoc for the canines: polished floors, which cause dogs to slip and lose their focus as they hunt for explosives.
That was one reason the school, which educates nearly 1,700 students in Ashburn, played host to a CIA dog team for a training exercise while students were on spring break last week, according to the Loudoun County school system. But the choice to go to a public school for the quiet exercise has led to an only-in-Washington embarrassment for the elite spy agency, which left explosive material behind in the engine compartment of a school bus that then shuttled special-needs children for two days this week.
A mechanic discovered and removed the explosive putty — which county Supervisor Koran Saines (D-Sterling) said was the demolition explosive C-4 — during a routine bus maintenance check Wednesday. Until then, no one noticed that it was missing.
That the CIA was using live explosives and lost track of them in a place where children and teachers spend their days has raised concerns among parents about the use of a school facility for such kinds of law enforcement training. It also illuminates the fact that local authorities and school systems feel obliged to prepare for scenarios that once seemed unthinkable, such as gunmen firing at schoolchildren and bombs hidden on buses.
Loudoun County schools spokesman Wayde Byard described the material as “putty-like,” and the CIA said the material “is very stable and insensitive to physical shocks,” descriptions that are consistent with plastic explosives, which require special detonators to set off. Saines, who was briefed on the mishap Wednesday by county personnel, said county officials confirmed that it was C-4.
Dean Boyd, a CIA spokesman, said that the training team left behind “explosive material used as a training device for K-9s. This material is commonly used by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to train K-9s in explosives detection.”
The agency “has taken immediate steps to strengthen inventory and control procedures in its K-9 program to prevent such incidents from happening again,” Boyd said, noting that the CIA has done a full inventory of explosive material used in the training program. “CIA is a part of the Northern Virginia community and we will do whatever it takes to prevent this from happening again.”
They’re willing to do whatever it takes to now accidentally leave military-grade explosives lodged inside a children’s school bus.
Now that is devotion to duty right there.
God bless them.
And God bless America.