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Alabama hostage rescue: why some secrets will remain in the bunker

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"This all rings of a unique covert operation,” says Randall Rogan, a crisis communications expert at Wake Forest University who has been following the story closely, adding the multiagency involvement is “atypical, quite honestly, for … what, after all, is not a significant terrorist event."

"There may be some general overview and general description of what happened, but there won't be full, complete disclosure,” he says. “And that's understandable. There are people out there who pay attention and who would make note of it, who are cognizant of what transpired and how it transpired, and who may take steps to prevent that sort of tactic from being utilized in the future."

The ordeal began last Tuesday when Dykes, a Vietnam-era Navy veteran who had once beaten a dog to death with a metal pipe and threatened children who walked onto his property with death, stormed onto a school bus in Midland City and demanded two children. The bus driver, Charles Poland, Jr., stood in his way as the children began escaping out the back door. Dykes, police say, then killed Mr. Poland and grabbed Ethan, with whom he then escaped to a home-dug 8-by-6-foot bunker in a rural area nearby.

The FBI has not yet said how Dykes died, or how Ethan escaped injury in an extraction that began, the FBI says, when Dykes showed symptoms of being irrational and when a covert FBI camera inserted into the bunker showed him pacing with a gun. Neighbors reported hearing several loud bangs and bursts of gunfire.

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