“We have to evacuate,” came an off-camera announcement during a briefing by White House press secretary Josh Earnest, setting a bizarre story into motion, as an apparent security situation forced journalists to evacuate the White House Briefing Room just after 2pmET Tuesday.
Cable news went wall-to-wall with the story. CNN reported a bomb-sniffing dog had been brought into the briefing room. Fox News Channel correspondent Shannon Bream said journalists had been given “no explanation.”
In a move described as highly unusual, hard-wired cameras in the briefing room were shut off, covered or angled away so activity could not be monitored–or carried live–while reporters and crew were outside.
UPDATE, 2:38 p.m. CNN reports a bomb threat was called in to police, targeting the White House Briefing Room. The room has been cleared and journalists are now being allowed back in.
The @WhiteHouse daily briefing will resume shortly after the Brady Briefing Room has been cleared. Hopefully wont be long.
— Josh Earnest (@PressSec) June 9, 2015
UPDATE, 2:54 p.m. Press secretary Josh Earnest has told reporters he does not know who ordered the covering of media cameras in the briefing room during the evacuation. He also says President Obama was in the White House, but was not evacuated due to the threat.