The CIA reportedly left explosive material under the hood of a Loudoun County, Virginia, school bus that was later used to transport children to and from school.
Following a training exercise March 21-24 during Briar Woods High School’s spring break CIA agents forgot to remove explosive training material in the school bus’ engine compartment, The Washington Post reports.
Children were transported to and from school March 28 and 29 on the bus containing the explosive material before it was removed, according to the CIA and Loudoun County officials.
The bus traveled at least 145 miles in those two days, transporting 26 students eight times from Rock Ridge High School, Buffalo Trail Elementary School and Pinebrook Elementary School.
The CIA training exercise was for explosives-detecting dogs. The material left in the bus went undetected because it had fallen deep inside the engine compartment and was wedged beneath the hoses.
"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 CIA said in a statement obtained by the Independent. The agency added that the material "did not pose a danger to passengers on the bus."
It was reportedly a "putty-type" material that is used on the battlefield and requires a special detonator, according to The Washington Post.
Loudoun schools spokesman Wayde Byard said law enforcement agencies do occasionally use school facilities for realistic training exercises, including active-shooter drills. He added that bus drivers check under the hood before driving but the material could not be easily seen given its deep location and because it was the same color as the hoses.
The explosive material was found when the bus was taken in for routine maintenance on March 30.
Loudoun County Schools have suspended law enforcement training exercises until stronger protocols are put in place.
“We’re all very upset by what happened, but we’re going to review everything that did happen,” Byard said. “Obviously we’re concerned. The CIA really expressed its deep concern and regret today, and it was sincere.”