Virginia facility trains foreigners to fight terrorism, but is it secure?
Facility founder says property doesn't require more security
MONTROSS, Va. – Down a lonely road, in the farmlands of Virginia, is a little town with an explosive story to tell.
"I keep my door locked -- double-locked -- every day," said Montross resident Mildred Wood.
The U.S. government trains foreign police to become experts in weapons and bombs at a private facility that is two hours from the nation's capitol. The trainees are often from volatile, terrorist ridden countries.
"Niger, Nigeria, Saudi (Arabia), India, a lot of different ones come in," said Karen Burrell, who also told Local 10 News that she is a housekeeper at the facility.
People in the area are worried. They said the O'Gara Group facility appears wide open.
"It's got no security," said resident Annette Hamilton. "You don't see police or nothing like that. I've never seen police cars go in and out of there."
Local 10 News watched the place for days and noticed that some of the training happens on the side of a public road, where no one even noticed an out-of-place television news crew. Local 10 News reporter Sasha Andrade was even able to walk to an area of the facility that houses explosives. Any gate she passed was wide open, including the one around the explosive storage containers. She was never stopped or asked to leave.
Bill O'Gara is the founder of the facility. He said that it doesn't matter that the gates are open, because the storage containers are individually secure.
"You have to remember that everything we've done with a safety parameter, so those trailers themselves are double-locked and alarmed," said O'Gara. "There's no way you're going to get into those trailers."
But O'Gara wouldn't comment on a story people kept telling in Montross of trainees who have left the program and skipped town.
"A couple of the foreigners just took off," stated Andrade.
"They left," replied Hamilton.
The U.S. government requires that trainees be vetted before they are issued visas and trained. However, last month a vetted trainee, at a different facility near Amman Jordan that is not run by the O'Gara group, opened fire on his instructors and killed them.
The people of Montross question what if something like that happens in this country, on a bigger scale, driving distance from the capitol? The locals said they live with that fear every day -- that it is the very soundtrack of their hometown.
Watch Andrade's second report in the investigation Tuesday on Local 10 News at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m.
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