Newly released video shows fake newscast about Indianapolis nuclear strike

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A newly released video used in secret governmental exercises depicts a fake nuclear attack on Indianapolis.

The 1986 video was obtained via a Freedom of Information Act by tech website Gizmodo. The video features a fake news broadcast reporting on a nuclear attack in downtown Indianapolis. 

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The two-minute video features a fake news anchor named Jeff Schwartz reporting on an ongoing nuclear attack for a made-up Channel 9 Eyewitness News. The anchor briefs the audience with new updates before tossing to another fake reporter. 

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Images of downtown Indianapolis are seen during the report before a booming sound is heard and the broadcast cuts to black.

The video is a part of Mighty Derringer, a multi-agency training exercise delineating how the federal government would operate in the case of a nuclear attack, per the Digital National Security Archive. 

A fake anchor by the name of Jeff Schwartz is featured in the simulation broadcast obtained via FOIA request. 

A fake anchor by the name of Jeff Schwartz is featured in the simulation broadcast obtained via FOIA request. 
(NNS via Gizmodo)

The Mighty Derringer project came as a result of the 1974 Nuclear Emergency Search Team (NEST) as it worked to respond to possible nuclear terrorist attacks or threats.

Mighty Derringer documents were released in 2012, outlining the fictional exercise and its results. The National Security Archive called it the “most extensive set of declassified documents on any nuclear counterterrorism exercise, covering every phase of the response, from concept to critiques.”

Aerial shot of downtown Indianapolis in the Mighty Derringer nuclear attack government simulation obtained via a FOIA request. 

Aerial shot of downtown Indianapolis in the Mighty Derringer nuclear attack government simulation obtained via a FOIA request. 

The fictitious attack on Indianapolis was credited to the made-up country of Montrev. Gizmodo reported actual radioactive material was hidden around the state capital to “give the teams something authentic to look for during their exercise.”

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Several potential problems with the project were cited in a report once the Mighty Derringer project concluded, including “bomb detection, interagency coordination, containment of contamination, general ‘confusion.'”

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