Virginia training facility owner says area is safe

Foreigners trained to combat terrorism at facility

MONTROSS, Va. – After finding out that the U.S. government trains foreigners in explosives outside of Washington and after seeing that even a news crew can wander around the private training facility undetected, Local 10 News reporter Sasha Andrade had questions.

Bill O'Gara is the founder of the Virginia facility.

"It doesn't worry you that I was able to walk through the facility with a TV camera, and nobody noticed, and get right up to those explosive trailers with the door wide open?" Andrade asked.

"No, because you have to remember that everything we've done is with a safety parameter, so those trailers themselves are double-locked and they're alarmed," O'Gara said. "There's no way you're going to get into those trailers."

He said it doesn't matter how close anyone gets to the explosives, because they are 100 percent secure inside Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms-qualified containers.

The problem is, history proves otherwise, at other facilities not run by O'Gara. 

According to authorities, in 2013, 559 pounds of explosives were stolen from a federal, ATF-qualified storage unit in Billings, Montana.  In 2011, something similar happened in Nebraska, and in 2005 investigators said that enough explosives to flatten a city were stolen from ATF-certified storage trailers near Albuquerque, New Mexico.

O'Gara said nothing out of the ordinary has ever happened at his training facility.

"Safety is what we do," he said. 

"What about people making threats?" asked Andrade. 

"No. Never," O'Gara said.

"If someone came in and was acting in a threatening manner, what would happen?" Andrade asked.

"We have a standard operating procedure that would go into place, and we'd make sure that the threat was being handled in the appropriate manner," O'Gara said.

"But that's never happened?" Andrade asked. 

"Never happened," O'Gara said.

However, last month state police and the local sheriff’s deputies said they responded to a call for help at the O'Gara facility to deal with a suspect who was agitated on the property. According to police, once the suspect calmed down, officers let him drive away.

"I keep my door locked, double-locked," resident Mildred Wood said. 

She and many of her neighbors live in constant worry for their community and for their country. 

Every few weeks a new group shows up from another country to learn the same skill set.They're supposed to use it to fight terrorism, but people in Virginia wonder what if the opposite happens?