Planned in Advance

A routine training exercise in the Potomac River this morning — “planned in advance” by the Coast Guard — “took on a life of its own.” Just another Friday as usual, right?

The president’s motorcade had just crossed the Potomac, on its way back to the White House after a ceremony at the Pentagon honoring those who died there, when chatter on a marine radio channel used by the Coast Guard and monitored by the media told of shots being fired on the river.

No shots were actually fired in Friday’s training exercise that appears to have been routine in everything except for the date on which it was conducted. But while the confusion lasted only a few minutes, it was enough to scramble F.B.I. agents and halt departures from Reagan National Airport near the river from 10:08 a.m. until 10:30, Diane Spitaliere, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration, told The Associated Press.

Much of the confusion seemed to have been stirred by reports on CNN, based on the radio chatter. Anyone listening to the marine frequency heard simulated instructions to fire 10 rounds at suspicious boats in the river. By the time it became clear that there actually were no shots and no suspicious boats, the confusion had taken on a life of its own, however brief.

Time to watch Idiocracy again.

Comments are closed.