Florida man sees fake newscast, security exercise, calls police

(7/31/09 – Kansascity.com) A nationwide government anti-terrorism exercise this week inadvertently alarmed a Florida man who happened to catch a mock television broadcast that was part of the drill.

The Homeland Security Department coordinated the five-day exercise, which simulated “real life” scenarios, and included an internal broadcast of fake news with top officials discussing the “threat” and the “actions” the government was taking.

A man in West Palm Beach somehow managed to view part of the broadcast, became alarmed and called authorities, according to an official, who was not authorized to discuss details of the glitch and requested anonymity.

The Homeland Security Department said when it learned a member of the public had accessed the signal, “the decision was made to stop utilizing the signal for the remainder of the exercise.”

The content of the mock news reports was alarming, but also contained a prominent graphic saying it was part of a government exercise. “The citizen contacted the phone number provided on the screen and was told not to worry, that what he was seeing was a training exercise,” the DHS statement said.

Officials said they are reviewing the incident to make sure it doesn’t happen again.


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