White House criticizes CNN’s reporting of Coast Guard training exercise

The White House criticized CNN for its report on a Coast Guard training exercise that suggested there was a security situation near the nation’s capital.

President Barack Obama was in the presidential motorcade, on his way back to the White House after a Sept. 11 memorial service at the Pentagon, when CNN reported the Coast Guard fired on a suspicious boat in the Potomac River.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs criticized the cable news network and defended the Coast Guard’s action.

"We're all safer because of training exercises," Gibbs said. "My only caution would be before we report things like this, checking would be good."

Gibbs said the White House did not have advance notice of the exercise, but he said Obama does not "micromanage" training maneuvers of the U.S. military.

On its website, CNN noted “there were reports on police scanners that the Coast Guard fired 10 rounds of ammunition. But a Department of Homeland Security representative later said no shots had been fired.”

The network also quotes a Coast Guard statement that said: "Reports in the media were based on overheard radio calls made over a training frequency.”

Gibbs said he doesn't "tend to question" what military branches do while "keeping the nation's capital safe."

Gibbs also disputed any comparison to an incident earlier this year when the 747 used as Air Force One alarmed New York City residents by flying near lower Manhattan in an effort to get publicity pictures of the plane.

"I don't see any analogy to that," Gibbs said.

Gibbs faulted CNN for jumping the gun and "unnecessarily" alarming citizens.