Opposition parties, who were targeted in the piece, furiously rallied Sunday, accusing Saakashvili of being behind it. The Russian foreign ministry also charged that Georgian authorities were involved, calling the report "irresponsible and immoral."
On the first recording that emerged Monday evening, the purported voice of news director Eka Tsamalashvili repeatedly protests the decision to not put a graphic disclaimer on the screen.
"There is a statute which plainly says that it is prohibited to incite unfounded panic," she says. "It would be better if we write that this is some kind of mock-up."
"Yesterday, Misha talked to me," the alleged voice of Arveladze responds, saying that he was told an on-screen warning would sap the impact of the piece.
The recording that surfaced Tuesday features defensive language purportedly from Saakashvili, telling minister of culture Nika Rurua, "Those idiots did not warn [viewers]."
Saakashvili wrote on his Web site that the program was "harmful." However, he said Sunday that what was "more unpleasant is the fact that the report was maximally close to what could happen or what the enemy of Georgia has in mind."
Western diplomats have roundly criticized the faux report. The U.S. ambassador to Georgia called it "profoundly alarming."