5 Crimes That Scared Everyone Until, Whoops, It Turned Out the Government Did It

Oh no, a bomb?!?! Who put this here?
5 Crimes That Scared Everyone Until, Whoops, It Turned Out the Government Did It

Oh no! There’s someone in your house! And he has a gun. You’re going to die!

Wait, no. Turns out it’s a cop. That’s a relief. Though, is it a relief, actually? He came very close to killing you. And you came very close to killing him. This was a ridiculous situation that never should have happened. Still, it’s not as bad as the time that...

A Fake Army Prisoner Got Beaten for Real

In 2003, military police at Guantanamo Bay received word that an inmate had attacked a guard and had been pepper sprayed. It was now the job of these five officers to follow up . They did so by entering the cell and slamming the man’s head against the floor. “Red!” the man said, which was a codeword used when someone wants to end a simulation. “I’m a U.S. solider! I’m a U.S. soldier!” he said next. They went on beating him.

They pulled down his jumpsuit. Exactly what their intentions were here, we can only speculate, but this revealed that underneath the suit, the man wore a military uniform. He was not a detainee. He was Sean Baker from Kentucky, from the 438th Military Police Company and currently stationed at Guantanamo; he had volunteered for this training exercise. 

Sean Baker


“Whoopsie! We thought you were a pepper-sprayed inmate, who should be beaten.”

Baker had a seizure and was hospitalized. Later, he’d have a dozen seizures every day and was discharged. The military first insisted that his medical discharge was unrelated to the beating, then they amended the position to say, “Okay, it was kind of because of the beating.” He tried suing the military, but it turns out that’s impossible. Theirs not to reason why. Theirs but to do and die.

The CDC Mailed Out a Bunch of Live Anthrax

In 2001, someone mailed anthrax to a bunch of news offices in New York and Florida. This was a big deal. He even mailed the deadly spores to the building of Cracked’s offices. A photo editor who worked at the building died. Cracked had to burn decades of archives due to the risk that they got contaminated. 

Bacillus anthracis


Should have burned everything they wrote since 2001 instead. 

The man whom the FBI labeled the perpetrator killed himself in 2008. He turned out to be a scientist working for the army’s Research Institute of Infectious Diseases. This doesn’t, however, mean the story was an example of the government mailing out live anthrax. Ha, ha, no! If you want something like that, you’d have to wait till 2014, when the government mailed out live anthrax. The culprit was the CDC, who’d intended to mail out inactive anthrax, but they ended up exposing 80 people to the live stuff by mistake.

The CDC “overhauled” lab procedures following the error. That was why, the following year, the CDC did not mail out any live anthrax. No, this time it was the Department of Defense who mistakenly mailed anthrax to labs in nine states. Special biosafety level 3 labs are equipped to deal with live anthrax, but these other labs weren’t. Really, we’d recommend erring on the side of not posting anthrax to anyone. 

The CIA Slipped Explosives onto a School Bus

In 2016, a mechanic was looking under the hood of a Virginia school bus, when he spotted something odd: plastic explosives. “That’s definitely not supposed to be there,” he said. No detonator was connected to the explosives, so this was a safe situation, as far as explosives in school buses go. Still, this was a cause for some concern. 

school bus

Marcelo Cidrack/Unsplash

Not panic, like when they find a copy of This Book Is Gay, but concern.

The CIA had placed the explosives there, as part of their K-9 training program. The dogs were supposed to detect the explosives, and to make the test as real as possible, they used actual school buses. Apparently the trainee dog did find the explosives but not all of them, as some of the stuff fell deep into the engine compartment. So, it was a good dog, but a bad system. 

Airport Security Planted a Bomb on a Passenger

We hope that last story just whetted your appetite for planted bombs because we’ve got a couple more of them for you. This next one comes from Ireland, where police arrested a man in 2010. His luggage held 90 grams of explosives, which usually is an offense worthy of arrest. He hadn’t put them there himself, though. He had flown in from Bratislava, and Slovak authorities had placed the explosives in his stuff. They’d placed the explosives in 10 passengers’ suitcases, and baggage screeners had caught nine of the samples but not the 10th.

Bratislava airport

Steven Lek

Luck of the Irish, we guess.

As with the school bus, no vehicle was in danger of exploding here. Plastic explosives, absent a detonator, are inert. That Duty Free bottle of scotch you bring with you is more dangerous. The problem was everything else about how they handled the operation. 

Bratislava authorities did inform Ireland about the operation, which is good. But they informed them about the operation three days afterward, which is bad. It was then that police went to the man’s Dublin apartment. They cordoned off the area, which was unnecessary, and they arrested the man, which served no purpose at all. On second thought, we take it back: Bratislava should have just kept their mouths shut. 

The Other Bomb in Oklahoma City

Last up, we’re going to mention a real bombing — a real bombing that also uncovered a fake bombing. We’re talking about the Oklahoma City bombing, which leveled the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in 1995 and killed over 150 people. Rescuers spent two weeks going through the wreckage, first looking for survivors, then looking for bodies.

Just a hour into the effort, rescue halted. They had evidently stumbled on another bomb, and this was a biggie. It wasn’t just a bomb but a missile, a 3-foot missile designed to penetrate armor several feet thick. It was marked as live ordinance. There was no reasonable excuse for it to be sitting a couple floors above the building’s daycare center, so officials did the appropriate thing and ordered an evacuation. The rescuers had to drop what they were doing and get out of there.


Amber Robinson

Here’s what a TOW missile launcher looks like in the field, for reference.

This missile had not been planted by terrorists. The government was storing a missile in that building, as part of a planned sting operation. Naturally, they have since refused to elaborate on this sting operation. In fact, for seven years after 1995, the missile’s discovery was kept secret from the public, despite an FBI investigation and grand jury examination into its presence. 

Did that break in the rescue efforts lead to trapped people dying? We can’t say yes for sure. But we do know there was some reason the government covered this up. And we know, it’s impossible to say the previous sentence without sounding like a crazy person, but in a sane world, all of these stories could only be the ramblings of a crazy person. 

Follow Ryan Menezes on Twitter for more stuff no one should see.

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