Fake Capitol Hill hostage crisis prompts police response

By Chris Heller

September 30, 2011

A Twitter post published by The Onion about an alleged hostage crisis on Capitol Hill didn't win any laughs from Capitol Police on Thursday, but did lead officials to release a sternly worded reaction.

The Onion, known for its satirical fake news reports, first claimed that reports of screams and gunfire were heard in the Capitol, then reported that a "group of armed congressmen" were holding 12 children hostage. Throughout the day, the paper's Twitter account posted updates about the imagined crisis with the hashtag #CongressHostage. (House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, was named the bipartisan group's spokesperson, while President Obama was called in to negotiate.)

Not laughing, however, were Capitol Police. In an e-mail statement to the Washington Post, Sgt. Kimberly Schneider confirmed that "There is no credibility to these stories or the twitter feeds."

"The U.S. Capitol Police are currently investigating the reporting," she added.

The testy response comes on the heels of an actual terrorist plot, which led to a 26-year-old man's arrest on Wednesday for planning to attack the Pentagon and Capitol with exposives attached to remote-controlled model planes.


By Chris Heller

September 30, 2011

http://www.govexec.com/oversight/2011/09/fake-capitol-hill-hostage-crisis-prompts-police-response/35037/