As part of the drill, reports of the active shooter were posted on the bases's Facebook page with the notation "exercise":
When real reporters called the base, public affairs officials thought they were role players and part of the simulation and gave them information about a fake crisis.
Multiple news outlets ... reported that an active shooter was on the loose in Fort Meade, Maryland, and had left a trail of bodies.
When public affairs officials answered their phones during the training, they began the conversations by saying "exercise, exercise, exercise," to indicate they were in the middle of a simulation, Jones explained. While that's standard procedure, public affairs officials did not verify that the people on the phone knew what "exercise" meant or whether the reporters on the calls were real.
"What should have happened is noting a real world reporter was calling about the exercise, and [we should] better identify a notional reporter," Jones said.