White House officials “brilliantly” authorized a low-level fly-by of Manhattan of the backup Air Force One and a couple of fighter jets. In secret. The result: just what you’d expect. Panic.
An Air Force One lookalike, the backup plane for the one regularly used by the president, flew low over parts of New York and New Jersey on Monday morning, accompanied by two F-16 fighters, so Air Force photographers could take pictures high above the New York harbor.
But the exercise – conducted without any notification to the public – caused momentary panic in some quarters and led to the evacuation of several buildings in Lower Manhattan and Jersey City. By the afternoon, the situation had turned into a political fuse box, with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg saying that he was “furious” that he had not been told in advance about the flyover.
At 4:39 p.m. Monday, the White House issued an apology for the flyover. Louis E. Caldera, director of the White House Military Office, who served in the Clinton administration as secretary of the Army, said in a statement:
“Last week, I approved a mission over New York. I take responsibility for that decision. While federal authorities took the proper steps to notify state and local authorities in New York and New Jersey, it’s clear that the mission created confusion and disruption. I apologize and take responsibility for any distress that flight caused.”
The White House at first denied knowing what was going on. Which is actually probably true. They appear to be pretty well compartmentalized over there from what I am seeing. Still, whoever thought a New York City fly-by would be a great photo op is obviously still living in a September 10th, 2001 world.
How long do you suppose it will be until Louis E. Caldera “decides” to “resign to spend more time with his family?” The best thing Obama could have done in this situation would have been to fire Caldera on the spot, not leak to the press that Obama is “furious” with Caldera.
And no, I rather doubt Obama himself knew about this in advance. But there have been a lot of, frankly, boneheaded decisions coming out of the “Best and Brightest” Obama chose to surround himself with.
UPDATE: Oh this makes it even better: The White House was just updating a file photo. This administration leak to the AP just makes everything all better, doesn’t it?
Anyone got a clue bat handy?