Speed Reads

nukes over naptown

Watch the government's fake 1986 news broadcast of a nuclear attack on Indianapolis

"The FBI and police have cordoned off the area and they've restricted the airspace above it," the reporter says from her news chopper on that fateful day in 1986. "We're headed in that direction now. But we can only ..." A white flash engulfs the screen and the feed cuts to static as a nuclear explosion rips through downtown Indianapolis.

This never happened, of course. The fake news broadcast documenting this fake nuclear terrorist attack was created as part of a federal interagency training exercise known as Mighty Derringer.

"Until now," Gizmodo reports, "no one outside of the government has seen this video," but thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request from Gizmodo, it was published for the first time on Wednesday.  

According to Gizmodo, Mighty Derringer was conducted in December of 1986 and involved the Pentagon, CIA, FBI, Department of Energy, and Nuclear Emergency Search Team (NEST). Actual radioactive material was hidden around Indianapolis as federal agents raced against the clock to stop a simulated attack by terrorist leader "Gooch" from the fictional country of Montrev.

The two-minute video shows "Channel 9 Eyewitness News" anchor "Jeff Schwartz" reporting on "day four" of a standoff with nuclear-armed terrorists in Indianapolis. The city's downtown area, Schwartz reports, has been largely evacuated, and the number of terrorists and nuclear devices remains unknown.

"We have just learned ... that a federal response team has been sent in to neutralize the threat," he adds before cutting to reporter "Anne Miller."

Miller is heard in voiceover discussing traffic conditions as a news chopper camera transmits overhead views of downtown Indianapolis.

After the explosion, the feed cuts back to Schwartz, who blames the interruption on a technical problem and cautions viewers against "over-concern." A loud boom is heard. "Oh my God," Schwartz whispers. Static.