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FBI SWAT Team Trains in Waverly Hills

by ARLnow.com March 28, 2011 at 3:31 pm 16,033 77 Comments

(Updated at 4:20 p.m.) It looked like a scene from an action movie, but it was really just a training exercise.

FBI agents, dressed in camouflage body armor and armed with faux automatic weapons, practiced raiding a home in Waverly Hills today. The home, near the corner of 16th Street and N. Glebe Road, was vacant and made available for law enforcement training by the property owner.

Several alarmed residents contacted ARLnow.com to ask what was going on. When we arrived on scene about a half dozen FBI personnel were standing in the street observing agents who were surrounding the house with riot shields and fake guns.

FBI Washington Field Office spokesperson Lindsay Godwin said field training exercises like this are conducted at local homes about four times per year.

We blurred the agents’ faces at the request of the FBI.

  • you blurred faces because the FBI told you to or asked you to? another name for FBI’s SWAT team is its official HRT name. Hostage Rescue Team, usually they say HRT but it’s common for people to use the term SWAT Special Weapons And Tactics which was formed by LAPD Los Angeles Police Department. SWAT can be a regional name, we as civilian see a SWAT like team and call it SWAT alot of times when its not. NYPD deploys an ERT Emergency Response Team, L.A. County Sheriff’s use SWT Special Weapons Team, Detroit used SRT Special Response Team. So we see a “tactical” police unit and call it SWAT but actually it may or may not have a different name. I know a retired FBI HRT member. He was a team leader in Waco and spent years training HRT in Quantico, more recently he had been hired to debrief military teams before they deploy for special mission around the world. By the way I’m not trying to correct anyone, the term SWAT is fine but it’s been loosely taught over the years and pop culture has fooled us a little into thinking miltary style police units are SWAT teams. Yes and No, I thought I’d share the info anyways. I’m attaching a photo i did of what i believe ACPD calls their SWAT team.

    • Arlington, Northside

      The HRT Team out of Quantico and the WFO(Washington Field Office) SWAT Team are not the same.

    • Arlington, Northside

      Each FBI Field Office has a SWAT Team. There is only one Hostage Rescue Team, and they operate out of Quantico.

      • Post has been edited.

      • V Dizzle

        Was at the HRT hangar in Quantico about 6 weeks back, and I believe they noted having regional personnel..which I assumed were located at field offices throughout the country. May be mistaken. Cool helicopters though.

        • Arlington, Northside

          Agents are tasked out to help keep the team familure with the local areas.

        • did you see any of their blackhawks or hueys?

          • You’re an Idiot

            great….. this story (and photos) probably gave NovaPJ a boner.

          • ditto.

          • V Dizzle

            Saw two Huey’s, but not the Blackhawk. They just redid the hangar, but it was done just before the acquisition…and the hangar can’t accommodate the larger Blackhawk… (sigh)

      • You are absoluetly right, i said the official FBI “SWAT like” team is called HRT, the field office guys arent called SWAT either, they are mobile field force units of FBI, they are simply task force teams set up similar to how the Marshals and other agencies set up regional teams. They dont even call themselves SWAT. They are not a SWAT team by their own definition and neither by how Commander Gates and LAPD installed SWAT back in 1966. By how SWAT and SWAT like teams nationwide operate there is still no comparison. This is FBI field offices who wear full tac uniforms and operate with special weapons and tools, not because its their job description but because no one will stand in their way. I thought my first comment told of a difference between HRT and these guys, guess not!

        • Arlington, Northside

          You are wrong, take your PJ fantasy somewhere else.

        • redrider

          Do some research before you embarrass yourself anymore. Google your way to redemption. The info is there….just reach out and get it.

      • DT

        They also have folks in most of the field offices. Not trying to be pj, just sayin. šŸ˜€

    • John Fontain

      “By the way Iā€™m not trying to correct anyone”

      After the first ten sentences of yours, this is a quite comical conclusion. Just sayin.

    • Unless the FBI’s public information officer is mistaken, this was a SWAT team.

      • sorry ARLnow, i didnt mean to spark a debate about the term, i was just saying that different agencies have their own terms. more then likely the PIO called it SWAT as you or anyone would call it SWAT. They became known as SWAT teams all over the world as americans were saying SWAT very loosely. more then likely at the field office they are referred to as a type of SPO or SRT team officially but SWAT is so common and seems to be a sexier term in the media, everyone says SWAT and thats fine. I have even called FBI teams SWAT before, it simplified what I was talking about. I titled an album on flickr as FBI SWAT but in the description made clear that they are really called HRT, not too many people know HRT. You were absolutely right in calling them SWAT, thats how americans and the world have come to know these types of teams. Fine no more termonology wars started by me!

        • V Dizzle

          Another viewpoint – Is there a need for accuracy in jargon in a non-technical forum (meaning non-law enforcement)? If the lay-person uses a term, albeit somewhat incorrectly, but uses it consistently, is it OK to use that term (i.e. SWAT) in order to convey the message? I understand that if this was an FBI newsletter, it would be considered a mistake, but a community blog doesn’t seem to hold that same audience. As an example, people call everything made out of a polymer, “plastic”. This is technically incorrect about 30% of the time and a pet peeve of mine when in a work setting…but it get’s the point across and is used so consistently in the wrong manner that it doesn’t matter…unless you’re writing in an industry publications or textbook.

        • Arlington, Northside

          The PIO called it the FBI SWAT team because that is who they are, as opposed to the HRT who is a totally different organization within the FBI. Come on, just realize that you are wrong and try not to technically confuse yourself.

          • Anon


            The WFO (and every other FBI Field Office) have their own SWAT teams comprised of Special Agents assigned to those offices who undergo additional tactical training germane to a SWAT team’s mission set. (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FBI_SWAT#Enhanced_FBI_SWAT_Teams)

            The Hostage Rescue Team is a completely separate entity within the Bureau. (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hostage_Rescue_Team_%28FBI%29).

          • mehoo

            I personally don’t give a damn what their official name is. Just sayin’.

          • Josh S

            The fascination with heavily armed men veers a bit dangerously toward fetishism to begin with, IMHO. Next we’ll be arguing about what caliber their weapons are.

          • Simple

            The only one in the two pictures I could see looked like an M16/AR15 variant of some flavor. My guess would be an M4, based on the barrel profile.

            Given the magazine size, it doesn’t look like a pistol caliber conversion; so I would guess the caliber to be 5.56×45 NATO.

            To add more joy to the conversation, since it has a notched barrel, they can add an M203 grenade launcher for “full effect” (in that guy from the VW commercial voice).


    • Why would you admit to knowing someone involved in the murder of children at Waco? It’s not like anyone solicited that information. You say it like it’s a good thing.

      • DT


      • MM8

        Good point.
        The FBI HRT is the only organization I know of that responded to a crisis in order to “save the children;” that ended up
        starving the children
        denying the children water
        denying the children sleep
        gassing the children
        and then burning the children alive.

        All Hail our federal saviors!

        • Simple

          I thought the official FBI report stated that they spontaneously combusted? C’mon people, don’t go against the grain!!

  • charlie

    good thing it wasn’t a permit parking zone.
    or if people knew it was BCN the bad developer of Lyon Village…

  • BallstonDude

    Why do their faces need to be blurred?

    FBI agents as well as any other federal employees are public servants.

    • Arlington, Northside

      These guys do undercover work to protect your community and our nation, do you really want to give away all the training that your taxes paid for? Also, bad guys do hold vendettas aganst these guys, do you really want them to see who is at the field office?

      • Mildred Pierced

        These guys do undercover work to protect your community and our nation

        Protect us from what? Do we really need paramilitary forces on the local level?

        • Arlington, Northside

          These were Federal agents, but yes, sometimes we do need these folks on the local level.

        • mehoo

          Well, yeah, sometimes Arlington is subject to, like, terrorist attack.

          • Arlington, Northside

            Too quickly some forget. I guess a just short of a decade is long enough ago for some.

          • Jean Finet

            So like when was the last time Arlington was subject to a terrorist attack?

            U.S. is becoming a police state, but all the “good Germans” here feel so scare of terrorists that they submit to things our Founding Fathers would have started a revolution over.

          • Slayingthedragon

            i hope your kidding.. 9/11/2001

      • steve

        There are no undercover things here, especially these guys who are wearing uniforms. The only people who need their privacy protected are the snitches they employ.

        • Arlington, Northside

          The SWAT job is just a secondary duty, these guys do work undercover at other times. Not a good idea to have their faces all over te GoreTubes.

          • KalashniKEV

            If we didn’t blur their faces, they would go back to wearing masks a la the old 1980’s “Munich” look. Fashion is big in this industry.

      • CW

        Wait, they were performing undercover work in the middle of Glebe road at midday on a Monday? Did they blur their faces to the thousands of people who could have, within their legal rights, passed by?

      • Josh S

        Uh, if they’re walking around in public without masks on, their faces are hardly secret. I imagine the only reason the pictures here are blurred is because ArlNow approached someone and asked about taking the pictures in the first place. In an effort to be professional, I guess. Which is fine. But these guys, by running around in public in broad daylight, have no expectation of privacy.

        • Actually, I didn’t ask anybody before I started taking photos. After about 30 seconds I was approached by someone who told me to delete the photos. I politely refused, talked to the PIO, and agreed that there was a legitimate reason to protect the identity of the agents.

          • Josh S

            Well, all right. Kudos to you for refusing.

          • Arlington, Northside

            +1, good job in protecting both your rights, and the LEO’s ability to do their dangerous job as safely as possible.

          • mehoo

            Yes, kudos for that. Don’t let them pull that crap.

  • DJ

    I have heard that BCN Design/Build donates their homes to FBI (and police or fire department) prior to demo. I applaud their actions.

    • charlie

      yeah, and for a long time they were allowed to use the “loss” as a tax deduction in that they donated the “whole house” for a civic funtion.

  • Pat Brookover

    As a resident on this block, it sure would have been nice to have gotten a warning.

  • John Fontain

    Hey, i recognize the guy in that first photo. He’s my neighbor #$^%@.

  • novapj- Would you please stop posting about things you don’t know about. This quote is from the FBI Washington Field Office web page: “We have a Specialized Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team that consists of 42 team members with different specialties.”
    Tactical Support and Crisis Response: We have a Specialized Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team that consists of 42 team members with different specialties. Each volunteer member is specifically selected for the SWAT Team from a cadre of experienced special agents who meet the rigorous qualifications and prove their expertise in marksmanship, physical fitness, judgment, problem-solving, communications, and successful completion of other physical and mental challenges. Once selected, each member must complete both the SWAT and Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) basic training courses. Specialized training is available for snipers/observers, mechanical/shotgun breachers, tactical helicopter/rappel masters, tactical trackers, and emergency medical technicians. The SWAT team plans and executes search warrants and arrests and conducts other operational missions with a higher-than-normal risk to innocent persons and suspects. Team members perform weapons and tactical training every month, honing their skills with semiautomatic handguns, shotguns, and assault and sniper rifles. They also rehearse variable problem-solving methods by physically practicing techniques for close quarter combat, felony car stops, and dignitary protection details.

    • its funny how FBI details things that have never been handled by them before. you found a propaganda webpage designed to make the FBI look like they are worth two cents! according to US law and the constitution its illegal to have an FBI in the first place. Like with any federal agency the job at hand is always done better by local law enforcement. Ron Paul 2012! just wait till the federal government is dismantled!

      • Arlington, Northside

        You should just walk away from the key board.

        • Matt

          And go back to playing with your dolls…. I mean “action figures”

      • mehoo

        novapj is on the case!

      • CW

        Maybe you will see how many cents the FBI is worth after they kick in your door…

      • mehoo

        Yes, we’ll wait for the federal government to be dismantled, pj.

  • G Clifford Prout

    I kinda got a chubby.

  • I would love to find a national crisis team who actually responded to a national crisis or a WMD team that has ever encountered WMD’s or a terrorism task force who has ever engaged actual foriegn terrorsits before. Everytime FBI has a field team respond to anything they are the last people there and have no command role or function. look at so many events in america that they responded to yet by the time they got there local police had the scene under control, we see this all the time in standoffs, shootouts and even terror investigations. put your faith in the experience of local police officers, all the federal money printed to fund FBI and DHS agencies might buy guns and cool looking suits but no amount of money buys experience. little farm towns with part time SWAT like teams have more experience and intelligence at the time an event unfolds in their town to handle the job alot better then FBI fields, this has been proved over and over.

    • Steve

      Who do you think gives these local teams their training/funding/equipment? The Feds. They would not be able to have all of the cool toys and techniques learned without support from a federally funded law enforcement agency that afford to hire the best and brightest to teach these tactics.

      • the states do and county taxes and extortion scams known as police speed traps!! Ron Paul 2012!! End the Fed, End the IRS, End the FBI, End the DHS and Dept of Energy and Dept of Education!! Arrest Obama for charges of War crimes!!

    • Steve

      Forgot one other thing – FBI SWAT teams respond to their own warrants all the time. Drug cases, violent crimes, etc., any federal crime where a threat of violence is possible, FBI SWAT teams respond.

  • Southeast Jerome

    worst arguments ever above. Either way – these guys have specialized skils that we should feel lucky to have. lets hope they never need to be used

  • The scene in Rosslyn today at 5:30… Gateway Park, Counted 11 ACPD cruisers, 2 K9’s also on scene!

    • Simple

      Where did they find parking for all those cars?!?!

  • MIchael H.

    Kind of reminds of the Transformers movie shoot in D.C. last year. That was “only” an action movie but they actually blew some stuff up. Well, it was mostly sparklers and smoke-type effects and a police car getting upended by a hydraulic pump. But it was still cool to watch. Not something you see everyday on Pennsylvania Ave.

    • Arlington, Northside

      Don’t forget the DC Cop who interupted the scene with his own action addition! šŸ™‚

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  • DCSwede

    Was Fairfax detective Deval Bullock there? Did anyone ELSE get killed?

  • Burlyman78

    Thanks for clarifying, NOVAPJ. Accuracy is important.

  • DT

    While I appreciate the story from Arlnow, it doesn’t come close to the entertainment reading some go from Mr. Expert to a Paultard back to Mr. Expert.

  • MM8

    Most here are missing an important point; these are NOT soldiers, these are policemen.

    Let’s be for real for a minute; police are nothing more than armed report takers. Police work is NOT dangerous. In fact, according to the US Department of Labor, policeman is not even in the top 10 dangerous jobs in America. Truck Driver, Commercial Fisherman, Lineman, Farmer, Construction Worker, Logger, Airline Pilot, Machinery Repairmen, and Garbage Collector are all more dangerous than police work. Policeman is #14, and the majority of on the job police fatalities are due to automobile accidents which the officers caused during non-emergency driving.

    We do NOT need the guys who write the reports and make the chalk outlines to be armed up like this. They will not stop terrorists now, any more than they stopped the 911 terrorists, Major Hassan, or Timothy McVeigh (HRT was alive and well when those terrorist attacks happened).

    What they will do is turn these heavily armed report takers lose on ordinary Americans. Like clockwork, every single time THAT IS WHAT GOVERNMENT DOES…

    • Arlington, Northside

      So, you want the military to be patroling U.S. Streets instead? I understand the libertarian spirit, but you need to understand when that theory hits the reality of today, and most of our nation’s leaders (dispite the charactures put out by opponents on each side) work hard to keep the two in balance.

    • Steve

      So who is going to get the crazy guy with a gun/bomb out of the house? You?

    • Simple

      First off, I think you’re understating the dangers to police officers. Police are people, #1, so you’re going to get a mixed bag, but overall they provide a very valuable service to the community.

      Second, the police aren’t running around in full entry gear during their daily grind. There are some situations which require tools above and beyond the normal patrol gear; those could include executing search warrants, barricaded gunman, etc. For those situations, they have tools and training to perform those functions in the safest manner possible, for all parties.

      I think people can have two dramatically different views of police officers, based on their typical interactions with them. If you interact with them on the law-breaking side, then your view of them will likely be one of disdain or contempt. If you are on the law-abiding side, and your interactions are typically one of the police providing assistance to you, then you will have a positive view of them.

      I know one thing, even though I’m armed and trained to use my weapons; I would much rather the police handle a situation, than for me to handle it myself. Imagine if you had to use lethal force to defend yourself (LAWFULLY), would you really want to make that decision? While I am confident in my ability to make that call, I would much rather avoid it at all costs and have the police be responsible for that decision.

  • Shane

    It’s great you stood up for your rights by refusing to delete your photos, but remove the blurs! These guys are in public and have no expectation of privacy. If they don’t want their faces photographed while carrying machines on public streets then go train at Blackwater or an FBI training facility that the public does not have access too.

    Standard a**hole cop violating your constitutional rights by ordering you to delete your photos.

    • Arlington, Northside

      These guys put themselves in dangerous situations to enforce our laws and to keep ordinary law abiding citizens safe and able to enjoy nice lifestyles. There is no reason why a public website should help terrorist and organized crime consortiums create dossiers on these guys.

  • CapitolKing

    I know some of the founding members of the FBI’s HRT, and you honestly couldn’t ask for a better group of individuals. All anybody ever brings up is Waco and Ruby Ridge, yet you haven’t the slightest inkling of all the successful missions they’ve pulled off while protecting this nation of ours (Especially against terrorists since 9/11).


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