Managing personal security is an important part of a Foreign Service Officer’s training. Weapons of mass destruction, sexual assault, cyberattacks, hostage situations, and especially bomb threats are just some of the terrible threats they face. Although awareness and training for diplomatic personnel has improved over the years, the menace has not necessarily decreased.
Serving abroad comes with a high risk, especially for people representing the United States.
Political Officer Ernest Siracusa was in Buenos Aires, Argentina when the Argentine Navy and Air Force bombed Plaza de Mayo square, targeting a large crowd expressing support for President Juan Perón. It is to this day the largest aerial bombing on the Argentine mainland. Siracusa was so close he could see the bombing from his window.
So what should personnel do if faced with a bomb threat? The established protocol for dealing with a suspicious object is not to touch it. Personnel are instead advised to evacuate the area and notify authorities. But what should they do if authorities show up late? What if there are no experts in the area? In this “Moment” in U.S. diplomatic history, read about diplomats dealing with bomb threats in different (and sometimes rather unconventional) ways.