A week ago, White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that the USS Carl Vinson carrier strike group was being diverted from its scheduled operations in Australia to head directly for the Korean peninsula amid ever-increasing tension surrounding Kim Jong Un’s nuclear weapons program.

Reports substantiating his claim came in from the Pentagon, and media outlets all over the world reported on this dramatic development that could potentially be a precursor to a pre-emptive military action intended to remove Kim Jong Un’s nuclear capabilities.  Sources within Japan’s self-defense force reported their own destroyers would be joining the Carl Vinson battle group, demonstrating a shared posture of preparation and deterrence in the face of North Korea’s unceasingly aggressive remarks.  Even Donald Trump himself told Fox Business News that he was sending “an armada” of powerful warships to the region.

And it appears it was all just a song and dance.

The Carl Vinson and accompanying ships are indeed en route to the Korean peninsula, but they’re not expected to arrive until next week.

The White House declined to comment as to how such a mix up could have taken place, claiming that Spicer and the rest of Trump’s staff were only acting on information provided by the Pentagon.  The Pentagon responded to requests with a muddled story about confusion and errors – providing the media that was used to propagate this story with nothing more than the political equivalent of shrugged shoulders.

The misinformation, or honest error the White House and Pentagon both neglected to correct, might not have come to light had it not been for a photograph surfacing on Monday of the 97,000 ton USS Carl Vinson sailing through the Sunda Strait that divides the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra, four days after Spicer said it was on its way to North Korea.

Of course, the announcement that the USS Carl Vinson and accompanying ships were headed for North Korea also came during a tense series of discussions between the United States and China, who has been the focus of Trump’s latest strategy to manage North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.

North Korea, unsurprisingly, responded to the news by volleying a series of threats of pre-emptive nuclear strikes and calling the deployment “nothing but a reckless action of aggression to aggravate the tensions in the region.”