Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Camp David Security Breach

President Nixon at Camp David / White House badge from the 1960s

It was 1969.  The U.S. was fighting a war in Vietnam and was involved in a Cold War with the Soviet Union.  The military wanted to test Presidential security to see if improvements were needed.  The Air Force Chief of Staff gave the order to a team of forty men from the Office of Special Investigations (OSI)  to plot a simulated assassination of the President.

The Air Force hit team chose Camp David as one of their targets.  Security was tight whenever President Nixon was at the camp, so they planned their entry when they knew he wasn't going to be there.  They created a fake White House ID based on one they saw left hanging on a coat hook by a careless White House staffer at a restaurant in DC.

They called the Camp David security office and told them to expect a White House aide who needed a tour of the retreat.  The fake aide arrived in a limo; showed his pass and was let inside the gates.  He was given a tour of the Aspen Lodge, the President's cabin at Camp David.  When no one was looking, he made his move. He replaced a toilet paper roll in the Aspen bathroom with one that would release faux-poisonous gas when pulled.

In a second attack scenario at Camp David, the Air Force team drove to the public area of Catoctin Mountain Park and hiked through the woods armed with grenade launchers and duct tape.  They climbed a 40-foot tree and positioned the grenade launchers toward the Presidential helipad.

The Air Force reviewed the results of this assignment and made the necessary security recommendations.

For more information about this mission, read the full article in the Orange County Register.

Sources:  Orange County Register; Life