Coast Guard Exercise Triggers 9/11 Potomac Scare

Ill-timed drill coincides with Pentagon ceremony
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 11, 2009 9:51 AM CDT
Coast Guard boats are seen on the Potomac River Friday.   (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)
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(Newser) – In a case of not-so-great timing, the Coast Guard conducted a training exercise on how to handle a rogue boat this morning in the Potomac River—with 9/11 commemorations taking place at the Pentagon and the president's motorcade crossing a nearby bridge, the Washington Post reports. The exercise caused a media buzz when CNN picked up the chatter on a scanner and reported that the Coast Guard had confronted a boat entering restricted waterways and fired shots.

The Pentagon says no shots were fired, though participants did indeed talk as if bullets were flying during transmissions picked up on the scanner. CNN's accounts and other TV reports sent FBI agents rushing to the scene because the local office hadn't been notified in advance, reports the AP. Nearby Reagan National Airport temporarily grounded flights.