The CIA says that it inadvertently left "explosive training material" on a Loudon County (Va.) district school bus during a routine training exercise last week at a district high school.
District officials say the bus transported students on two days earlier this week before the material was detected, but the CIA maintained in a news release that "the training material did not pose a danger to passengers on the bus."
The training exercise involved the spy agency's K-9 unit and took place at Briar Woods High School in Ashburn, Va., during the school system's spring break.
"A container holding the training material was hidden inside the engine compartment of a bus," the CIA says. "At some point, a portion of the material appears to have fallen from the container into the engine compartment. The material that fell from the container was not recovered following the training."
When classes resumed this week, the bus in question made eight runs Monday and Tuesday totaling 145 miles and carried 26 students from three schools.
On Wednesday, during routine bus maintenance at a district facility, workers discovered the training material and notified authorities. The CIA is not disclosing the exact nature of the training material "so as not to compromise its training techniques," the district says.
In the light of the incident, school officials say, the training program has been suspended while those involved—the CIA, the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office, the county fire marshal and the school district—re-evaluate safety procedures.
"To prevent such incidents from happening again, CIA has taken immediate steps to strengthen inventory and control procedures in its K-9 program," the agency says. "CIA will also conduct a thorough and independent review of CIA’s K-9 training program."