Kaboom Bus: CIA Mix-up Left Students Sharing Their Ride With Plastic Explosives

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
kaboom bus cia mix up left students sharing their ride with plastic explosives

Had they known, students in the Loudoun Country, Virginia school system would have hated the sight of a school bus trundling down their road even more.

According to the Washington Post, a package containing plastic explosives was accidentally left under the hood of one of the district’s school buses following a CIA training exercise at Briar Woods High School.

Sniffer dogs had been sent in to detect explosives placed inside and outside the school, but the package hidden in one bus slipped further into the engine compartment, hiding among the hoses.

The bus then shuttled students and the high-powered package around for two days, covering 145 miles in the process. The bomb material was discovered during routine maintenance on March 30.

Whoops, said the CIA, adding that the explosives “did not pose a danger to passengers on the bus.”

The material was removed by the CIA and members of the local fire marshal’s office.

Putty-type explosives like the ones used in the operation are pretty stable and require a specific detonator in order to go kablooey, so there was no chance of engine heat or potholes setting off the clandestine cargo.

Still, if you stretch your imagination, it’s possible to imagine why parents might be miffed after little Johnny rode around with a pile of C4.

“We’re all very upset by what happened, but we’re going to review everything that did happen,” Loudoun schools spokesman Wayde Byard told the Washington Post. “Obviously we’re concerned. The CIA really expressed its deep concern and regret today, and it was sincere.”

In a statement, the CIA said it plans to keep better tabs on its explosive hardware in future training exercises.

[Image: Johannes Thiel/Flickr ( CC BY 2.0)]

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4 of 68 comments
  • 05lgt 05lgt on Apr 04, 2016

    Here an ugly theory: Someone missed their pickup from a dead drop. Who in country is the CIA trying to unaccountably deliver C4 to?

  • TMA1 TMA1 on Apr 04, 2016

    When I was in the military, someone once lost a single 5.56 round. We were woken up by the captain at 3 a.m. to scour the entire firing range to look for it (we did find it). Another time, a mortar round bounced out of a humvee. It was quickly recovered, but that captain lost his job. My point being, these things were taken much more seriously in the Marine Corps than they are in the CIA. That's not reassuring, given the reach of that agency.

  • Lynn Ellsworth Lynn Ellsworth on Apr 04, 2016

    Be thankful the explosives were next to an ICE. If the bus was an electric powered vehicle that requires far less maintenance the explosives might not have been found for years.

  • Chan Chan on Apr 04, 2016

    "Hmm, so it turns out that this training exercise didn't have a cleanup procedure......"