Wednesday, May 18, 2005File:Bush Embassy photo.jpg
On May 10 while visiting Georgia’s capital Tbilisi a live hand grenade landed within 100 feet of United States President George W. Bush.
The grenade was wrapped in a dark plaid cloth handkerchief. According to Brian Paarmann, the FBI’s legal attache at the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, it was “tossed in the general direction of the main stage” about 1:30 p.m., right after Bush began speaking, and landed less than 100 feet from the podium. The grenade reportedly bounced off a child’s cap and then was removed by a Georgian security officer.
The White House initially stated that the president was in no real danger, however the event has lead to a review of security measures at presidential events.
An FBI official at the U.S. embassy in Georgia confirms that an explosive device was thrown, but due to a malfunction it failed to detonate. “This hand grenade appears to be a live device that simply failed to function due to a light strike on the blasting cap induced by a slow deployment of the spoon activation device,” the FBI stated.
The FBI is still investigating the incident. According to their report the device failed to explode because of a malfunction. “The activation device deployed too slowly to hit the blasting cap hard enough,” agent Bryan Paarmann said. A 20,000 laris (US$10,978) reward is offered for information leading to the arrest of the person responsible.
The grenade was a knock-off of a Soviet-designed RGD-5, which has a lethal range of about 100 feet. “We consider this act to be a threat against the health and welfare of both the president of the United States and the president of Georgia as well as the multitude of Georgian people that had turned out at this event,” Paarmann said. It had initially been believed to be a non-explosive model used for military training.