New information on gun rights motive in National Guard bioterror exercise story

From News Channel 3 WSAZ – A dead science teacher, weapons of mass destruction, first responders in hazmat suits and the Ohio Army National Guard all near the Municipal Stadium in Portsmouth, Thursday. There’s no cause for alarm — this is just a drill!

 The mock disaster training exercise is being done with Scioto County first responders and the Ohio Army National Guard 52nd Civil Support Unit.

 “It’s the reality of the world we live in,” says Portsmouth Police Chief Bill Raisin. “Don’t forget there is such a thing as domestic terrorism. This helps us all be prepared.”

 The make-believe scenario is timely. Two school employees who are disgruntled over the government’s interpretation of the Second Amendment, plot to use chemical, biological and radiological agents against members of the local community.”

A FOIA request to the Ohio NG revealed that the statement by the local news team was accurate.  I read the documents, released by mediatrackers.org, and the only motive given in the scenario scripts was “On the chalk board as well as the tables there were several statements about protecting Gun Rights and Second Amendment rights.”

Mediatrackers.org followed up after the FOIA documents were finally provided.

Ohio National Guard Communications Director James Sims II suggested Media Trackers was “inferring” from the ONG document’s contents as opposed to “what’s actually in the report.”  After excerpts of the report were read to him, Sims said it was “not relevant” to understand why conservatives may feel unduly targeted by ONG’s training scenario.  “Okay, I’m gonna stop ya there. I’m going to quit this conversation,” Sims concluded. “You have a good day.”

While I disagree with Mr. Sims, the Ohio NG press release led me to believe that perhaps the Civil Support Team involved in the exercise did not develop the scenario.  When I asked Ohio National Guard Communications Director James Sims who had actually developed the scenario, his email reply stated “The West Virginia CST developed the scenario.”

I emailed Lt. Col. Todd Harrell, WV Army National Guard Public Affairs Officer, to see if he would provide any information on the matter.  Six days later I have received no reply.  

So as it stands now, the trail of scenario development leads to the West Virginia National Guard 35th Civil Support Team.  While someone in the Ohio National Guard was certainly aware of the details of the scenario (they had to set up and stage the event), more information is needed from the West Virginia National Guard before more can be known on who exactly thinks second amendment supporters are terrorists.

Contact information for the unresponsive WVNG PAO is: Lt. Col. Todd Harrell 304-561-6764 john.harrell1@us.army.mil

Photo of LTC Harrell when he was a Major in 2007

Photo of LTC Harrell when he was a Major in 2007

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