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Hostage Rescue Team, Part 4: An Exercise in Terror

Our continuing series goes inside a night-training exercise to capture a would-be bomber.

Mar 04, 2013 03:00 PM

Hostage Rescue Team, Part 4: An Exercise in Terror


The subject was overheard by a co-worker discussing five explosive devices he had secretly placed around the nation’s capital. Intelligence suggested that the subject’s laptop—which never left his side—was a triggering device that could be activated in a matter of seconds. The Hostage Rescue Team’s mission: capture the subject and secure his computer before he detonated the bombs.

The operation order was received at the HRT headquarters in Quantico, Virginia, at 4:30 p.m., and the HRT Blue Operational Unit was assembled shortly thereafter. In less than two hours, they would deploy to the subject’s farm in rural Virginia. Although everyone in the room knew this was a training exercise, the team was serious and attentive.

“We make these training scenarios as real as possible,” said the HRT Blue Unit senior team leader. “This is how we maintain our skills.”

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