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scumonkey
April 27th, 2009, 04:18 PM
Plane stupid: Mayor Bloomberg outraged over military photo-op involving low-flying presidential jet

By Frank Lombardi (http://www.nydailynews.com/authors/Frank%20Lombardi) and Corky Siemaszko (http://www.nydailynews.com/authors/Corky%20Siemaszko)
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS
Updated Monday, April 27th 2009, 2:54 PM


http://assets.nydailynews.com/img/2009/04/28/amd_plane.jpg Oates for News New Yorkers got a scare Monday morning when a low flying airliner buzzed over the city, trailed by an F-16 fighter jet, as part of a military photo-op.






New Yorkers get airliner scare (http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2009/04/27/2009-04-27_new_yorkers_get_scare_as_fighter_jets_escort_lo wflying_airliner__in_harmless_pho.html)



Mayor Bloomberg went ballistic Monday after the U.S. military - without any warning to the public - buzzed New York City with one of the presidential planes trailed by an F-16 fighter jet.
Flying in as low as 1000 feet to 150 feet above New York City and taking photographs along the way, the planes circled the Statue of Liberty and flew over Manhattan, Staten Island, and New Jersey - then vanished.
Before they were gone, hundreds of frightened people had jammed the emergency lines, thousands of terrified people evacuated from buildings in the city and across the river in Jersey, and many New Yorkers had flashbacks to the 9/11 attacks.
"I didn't know what was going on," said Eunice Davis, 41, of Brooklyn, who was evacuated from the New York Mercantile Exchange. "Some planes were circling the building. I was afraid. I was here when the World Trade Center went down."
"We thought we were under attack again," added a shaken Wall Street worker, who declined to give his name.
Angry that an unnamed but "dumb" city official failed to notify him of the Pentagon's plans, Bloomberg said a flyover so close to Ground Zero was insensitive and showed "poor judgement."
He said the first he knew of it was when his BlackBerry began buzzing.
It "defies the imagination," said Bloomberg, who insisted he would have tried to stop the shoot had he known about it.
The NYPD confirmed that it had been told of the Pentagon's "aerial photo mission" last Thursday but ordered to stay quiet about it.
Sen. Chuck Schumer called the whole incident "absolutely outrageous and appalling."
"To think that the FAA would plan such a photo shoot and not warn the public, knowing full well that New Yorkers still have the vivid memory of 9/11 etched in their minds," he said.
"In New York, of all places, to not warn the public that one of the largest jets in the county tailed
by a fighter jet is going to fly low over their communities defies logic and borders on simply being cruel."
Asked about the incident, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said only, "I have no information beyond what I saw" on news reports.
The flyover was staged by the people whose job it is to protect us from terrorist attacks.
The bigger plane was one of the customized Boeing 747s that serve as Air Force One when the President is aboard. President Obama was not on the flight.
"This was a planned, pre-approved military flight over New York to take photos," said FAA spokesman Jim Peters. "It was pre-coordinated with everyone involved, including the city."
The planes flew back to Andrews Air Foce Base in Maryland after scaring New York.

NYatKNIGHT
April 27th, 2009, 04:53 PM
Someone at my office said, "hey look at the jets!" We watched from the windows with our morning coffee. There are plenty of workers in my office who were in or near the towers on 9/11, and though some were understandably unnerved by the sight, nobody said anything about evacuating.

At the same time, people in a nearby building had an entirely different reaction while watching the exact same thing because they did evacuate.

ablarc
April 27th, 2009, 10:19 PM
Is Obama partly to blame?

scumonkey
April 27th, 2009, 11:37 PM
I don't believe so....
White house apologizes for low flying plane:
http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/04/27/low.flying.plane/

Two officials told CNN the White House Military Office was trying to update its file photos of Air Force One. The officials said the president was angry when he learned Monday afternoon about the flight, which sparked fear in the New York-New Jersey area.

lofter1
April 27th, 2009, 11:55 PM
This is beyond stupid ...

Jet Flyover Frightens New Yorkers

NY TIMES
By A. G. SULZBERGER and MATTHEW L. WALD
April 28, 2009

It was supposed to be a photo opportunity, a showcase of Air Force One alongside the sweep of New York City skyline.

But as the low-flying Boeing 747 speeded in the shadows of skyscrapers, trailed by two fighter jets, the sight instead awakened barely dormant fears of a terrorist attack, causing a momentary panic that sent workers pouring out of buildings on both sides of the Hudson River.

“I thought there was some kind of an attack,” said Paul Nadler, who sprinted down more than 20 flights of stairs after watching the plane from his office in Jersey City shortly after 10 a.m. “We ran like hell.”

In fact, the blue and white plane with “The United States of America” emblazoned on its side was one of two regularly used by the president. It was soaring above Lower Manhattan, Staten Island and Jersey City so government photographers could take pictures near the Statue of Liberty for publicity purposes.

Aides to President Obama, who was not on board, said he was incensed when he learned of the event Monday afternoon. The White House later issued a formal apology.

Witnesses described the engine roar as the planes swooped by office towers close enough to rattle the windows and prompt evacuations at scores of buildings. Some sobbed as they made their way to the street.

“As soon as someone saw how close it got to the buildings, people literally ran out,” said Carlina Rivera, 25, who works at an educational services company on the 22nd floor of 1 Liberty Plaza, adjacent to the site of the Sept. 11, 2001, attack. “Probably about 80 percent of my office left within two minutes of seeing how close it got to our building.”

Under federal regulations, in urban areas, airplanes must fly at least 1,000 feet above obstructions like buildings and bridges, and jetliner flights over Manhattan are typically at 8,000 feet or more. And planes do not typically approach local airports by flying low over the harbor.

As the fright wore off, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and other local leaders questioned why the Federal Aviation Administration had ordered local officials, including the New York Police Department, not to alert the public in advance.

An F.A.A. memo last week said information about the exercise “should only be shared with persons with a need to know” and “shall not be released to the public or the media.”

The breakdown of communication went deeper. Mr. Bloomberg said he first learned of the exercise when his BlackBerry started buzzing with messages from people asking if he knew what was going on.

“First thing is, I’m annoyed — furious is a better word — that I wasn’t told,” Mr. Bloomberg said.

“Why the Defense Department wanted to do a photo-op right around the site of the World Trade Center catastrophe defies imagination,” he said. “Had I known about it, I would have called them right away and asked them not to. It is the federal government, and they can do in the end what they please, but I would have tried to stop it.”

He said that the Police Department and an official in his administration — he did not say who — had not advised him of the exercise.

White House and City Hall officials later said the notice had gone to the director of the city’s event coordination and management office, which handles permits for events like block parties, street fairs and parades. The director, Marc Mugnos, was formally reprimanded for failing to notify his superiors, said a senior city official, who was given anonymity because this was a personnel matter.

As the uproar reached Washington, dozens of officials at the White House, the Pentagon and the Department of Transportation rushed to find out who had authorized the flyover.

The White House did not issue a statement, or a formal apology, for more than six hours. At first, the White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs, dismissed questions, saying: “You might be surprised to know I don’t know of every movement of Air Force One or what happens to it.”

Later, aides told reporters that President Obama was furious about the flyover when it was brought to his attention. The White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, conveyed the president’s anger in a meeting with the director of the White House Military Office, Louis Caldera, who issued the apology.

“Last week, I approved a mission over New York. I take responsibility for that decision,” Mr. Caldera said. “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.”

Neither the White House nor the F.A.A. explained why the mission was deemed a secret, even though officials conceded the primary purpose was picture taking. Other images of the plane, taken at picturesque sites like Mount Rushmore, are sold as souvenirs and used in promotional materials. Officials at the Department of Transportation and at the Pentagon each denied responsibility for the secrecy.

The lack of warning meant that Notify NYC, a pilot emergency service intended to quickly alert New Yorkers who sign up, did not send out text messages and e-mail messages explaining the flyover until well after the exercise had ended.

Reporting was contributed by Jessica Bagdorf, Sewell Chan, Jennifer 8. Lee, Colin Moynihan, Fernanda Santos and Daniel E. Slotnik, in New York, and Jeff Zeleny in Washington.

Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company

lofter1
April 28th, 2009, 12:06 AM
An apology won't suffice when this amount of ineptitude & insensitivity is displayed ...

White House Apologizes for Air Force Flyover

NY TIMES
CITY ROOM (http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/04/27/air-force-one-backup-rattles-new-york-nerve/?ref=nyregion)
By A. G. SULZBERGER AND MATTHEW L. WALD
April 27, 2009

Updated, 5:52 p.m.

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 mission on Monday, officials said, was set up to create an iconic shot of Air Force One, similar to one that was taken in recent years over the Grand Canyon.

When President Obama learned of the episode on Monday afternoon, aides said, he, too, was furious. Senior administration officials conveyed the president’s anger in a meeting with Mr. Caldera on Monday afternoon.

A senior administration official said that an F.A.A. official notified Mayor Bloomberg’s office last week about the flyover. She said that Marc Mugnos, the director of operations in the office of citywide event coordination and management, was the official notified about the Air Force operation.

The flyover, which began around 10 a.m., resulted in widespread confusion and a flood of calls to emergency hot lines. Perplexed officials at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and other authorities were inundated with calls from anxious ferry passengers, office workers and residents.

The mayor said the Police Department and someone in his administration – he did not say who – received an e-mail from the Federal Aviation Administration late on Thursday, informing them that there would be “a fly-by for a photo-op, as they described it.”

However, Mr. Bloomberg said he was not apprised of the flyover until his BlackBerry started buzzing this morning with messages from people asking if he knew what was going on. He characterized it as a breakdown in communication that “will never happen again.”

“First thing is, I’m annoyed – furious is a better word – that I wasn’t told,” he said at a City Hall news conference held to discuss the swine flu cluster in Queens.

In unusually harsh language, the mayor criticized the Defense Department for conducting the exercise and the Federal Aviation Administration for being secretive about it.

Jim Peters, an F.A.A. spokesman, said “the photo op was approved and coordinated with everyone.” Notification was made in advance to the mayor’s office, “including its 911 and 311 operation centers,” the New York City Police Department, the New Jersey State Police, the United States Park Police and other agencies, he said.

The Police Department confirmed that it had been notified about the event but said it had been barred from alerting the public. “The flight of a VC-25 aircraft and F-16 fighters this morning was authorized by the F.A.A. for the vicinity of the Statue of Liberty with directives to local authorities not to disclose information about it but to direct any inquiries to the F.A.A. Air Traffic Security Coordinator,” the Police Department said in a statement.

The mayor criticized the secrecy around the flyover. The e-mail notification “did have the normal language of saying this is sensitive information, should be distributed on a need-to-know basis, that they did not plan to have any publicity about it, which I think is ridiculous and just poor judgment,” Mr. Bloomberg said.

He added:


Why the Defense Department wanted to do a photo-op right around the site of the World Trade Center catastrophe defies imagination. Poor judgment would be a nice ways to phrase it, but they did. I also think that once they had told us, we should have done a better job. Had I known about it, I would have called them right away and asked them not to. It is the federal government and they can do in the end what they please, but I would have tried to stop it. I don’t know there’s a lot else to say other than they shouldn’t have done it.


Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, said Monday afternoon that he was unaware of the flyover. At his daily press briefing, Mr. Gibbs initially referred questions to the F.A.A. and the Air Force. When told that those government offices were referring questions to the White House, Mr. Gibbs said: “I have no information on this other than what I saw.”

Mr. Gibbs, pressed by reporters, said he had seen news reports of the flyover, but declared: “I was working on other things. You might be surprised to know that I don’t know every movement of Air Force One.” Later, he added that he would look into the matter.

The flyover was scheduled for 10 to 10:30 a.m. The plane is designated by the Defense Department as a VC-25 but is recognizable to the public as a Boeing 747.

Unaware of the planned exercise, scores of office workers flooded out of buildings, worried about the prospect of terrorism.

“People came pouring out of the buildings, the American Express Building, all the buildings in the financial district by the water,” said Edward Acker, a photographer who was at the building, 3 World Financial Center. “And even the construction guys over by 100 North End Avenue area, they all got out of their buildings. Nobody knew about it. Finally some guy showed up with a little megaphone to tell everyone it was a test, but the people were not happy. The people who were here 9/11 were not happy.”

Mr. Acker added: “New York City police were standing right there and they had no knowledge of it. The evacuations were spontaneous. Guys from the floor came out, and one guy I talked to was just shaking.”

Even the markets dipped shortly after 10 a.m., though it was unclear if the alarm over the planes was a factor. Starting at 10:02 a.m., three main market indexes started dropping precipitously. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 40 points in 10 minutes, starting 10:15 a.m., before it rebounded more than 50 points.

In Jersey City, construction workers were evacuated from a condominium tower under construction at 77 Hudson Street.

The workers, who were on the 32nd floor of the construction site, said the plane circled three times past the Goldman Sachs tower, the tallest building in New Jersey. On the second pass, they said, the jet appeared to be only a few dozen feet from the building — close enough to clip the side of the skyscraper. A fighter followed right behind, mirroring its moves.

The construction site as were other buildings in downtown Jersey City, including offices in the Exchange Place financial complex.

Carlina Rivera, 25, who works at an educational services company on the 22nd floor of 1 Liberty Plaza, said her co-workers were spooked in part because their offices are so close to the site of the 9/11 attack. “As soon as someone saw how close it got to the buildings, people literally ran out,” she said. “Probably about 80 percent of my office left within two minutes of seeing how close it got to our building.”

Ms. Rivera, who was a high school student in the East Village when the 9/11 attack occurred, added, “I did feel a little bit foolish for staying in the office while everyone left.”

Ms. Rivera said eventually there was a message made over the public announcement system that the plane was an advertisement for a movie — which she said that did not coincide with what they were reading online about the plane taking pictures of the Statue of Liberty. “It was a little confusing. What was the truth?” she said.

Ms. Rivera continued: “Of course, everyone had to take out their cellphones and say, ‘You can come back, it’s O.K.’ Eventually they returned with some sort of comfort food. We feel like we should have at least been warned.”

At 1 Liberty Plaza, according to another person who works in Lower Manhattan, a loudspeaker announcement said at 10:55 a.m., “Planes were observed flying low over Lower Manhattan, but were part of an approved federal action.”

Johnny Villafane, 42, of the Upper West Side, said, “The plane did a 360. There was a vibration. The glass in the skyscrapers was shivering.” He added, “It sounded like the building were cracking, everything started shaking. I thought the plane was coming down.”

Sidney Bordley, a floor director in an office building at 1 Battery Park Place, said, “People were running out of the office, claiming they saw a commercial flight being pursued by F-16’s.” He added, “There was some confusion and a little excitement.”

A group of financial services workers, who were gathered outside the same building but declined to give their names, described their reactions. “I saw the landing gear and I was out of here,” one said. Another said: “There were people in my elevator, sweating and shaking. There were women
crying. It was not an experience to be taken lightly.”

Andrew Burke, 49, a T-shirt vendor from Crown Heights, Brooklyn, said: “People panicked and ran into the streets thinking the worst.” He added, “It’s a real shame they couldn’t tell the city what they were going to do.”

Notify NYC, a pilot electronic service intended to quickly provide emergency alerts to New Yorkers who sign up for them, did not prove particularly effective.

Text messages and e-mail messages explaining the flyover were sent out at 10:38 a.m., after the exercise was already scheduled to end. “The community was startled, and would have preferred advance warning,” said Catherine McVay Hughes, vice chairwoman of Community Board 1 in Lower Manhattan.

Steve Coleman, a spokesman for the Port Authority, which runs the region’s three major airports, said the low-flying planes prompted confusion. “This has nothing to do with any of our airports,” he added.

The Staten Island Advance reported that the Federal Aviation Administration had authorized the flights and that the flights were “pre-planned.”

President Obama was not aboard the plane, nor was he in the New York area. He gave a speech at 9 a.m. at the National Academy of Sciences in downtown Washington.

It was not the first time that flyovers had left anxiety in Lower Manhattan.

In February 2002, two Air Force F-16 fighters flew low over Manhattan as they made their way back to Atlantic City after a regular patrol. Officials later acknowledged that “the timing and location” of the flyover were “poorly coordinated.”

And in May 2003, a Continental Airlines flight carrying American troops returning from Iraq received permission to fly low around the city, a decision that also rattled nerves.

Jessica Bagdorf, Sewell Chan, Jennifer 8. Lee, Colin Moynihan, Fernanda Santos, Daniel E. Slotnik and Jeff Zeleny contributed reporting.

Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company

scumonkey
April 28th, 2009, 12:20 AM
Louis E. Caldera should be fired!

lofter1
April 28th, 2009, 12:53 AM
Bet he'll be packing his bags soon. Along with Marc Mugnos.

Ninjahedge
April 28th, 2009, 09:12 AM
[qupte]“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.”
[/quote]

What a load.

Yes you notified this peon on teh NYPD about the event, and then told him not to tell anyone!

And what about the FAA? They have no autonomy for issues that may cause flight safety?

Why the hell did they keep this a secret? Were they afraid the russians might attack it or something? Absolute beaurocratic idiocy.

nycla3
April 28th, 2009, 09:27 AM
Nice use of government resources, too. Wonder how much the operation cost? I would have done if for half using Photoshop...

Alonzo-ny
April 28th, 2009, 09:40 AM
Why the hell would they need to actually fly in front of the skyline? Photoshop would have worked just fine.

Jasonik
April 28th, 2009, 01:29 PM
In unusually harsh language, the mayor criticized the Defense Department for conducting the exercise and the Federal Aviation Administration for being secretive about it.

Jim Peters, an F.A.A. spokesman, said “the photo op was approved and coordinated with everyone.” Notification was made in advance to the mayor’s office, “including its 911 and 311 operation centers,” the New York City Police Department, the New Jersey State Police, the United States Park Police and other agencies, he said.

The Police Department confirmed that it had been notified about the event but said it had been barred from alerting the public. “The flight of a VC-25 aircraft and F-16 fighters this morning was authorized by the F.A.A. for the vicinity of the Statue of Liberty with directives to local authorities not to disclose information about it but to direct any inquiries to the F.A.A. Air Traffic Security Coordinator,” the Police Department said in a statement.

The mayor criticized the secrecy around the flyover. The e-mail notification “did have the normal language of saying this is sensitive information, should be distributed on a need-to-know basis, that they did not plan to have any publicity about it, which I think is ridiculous and just poor judgment,” Mr. Bloomberg said.

Since when is NYPD under direct orders from the Pentagram rather than local command?

Federal usurpation of local municipal control is the real story here.

The moral is that the federal government owns and controls all the airspace in the country and will, on its terms do with it, what it wants, when it wants -- even over major population centers -- local municipalities be damned.

Ninjahedge
April 28th, 2009, 02:31 PM
/me waits for the class action "Trauma" lawsuit.....

Jasonik
April 28th, 2009, 11:34 PM
FAA Memo: Feds Knew NYC Flyover Would Cause Panic
Threatened Federal Sanctions Against NYPD, Secret Service, FBI & Mayor's Office If Secret Ever Got Out
Furious Obama Apologizes: "It Will Never Happen Again"

Apr 28, 2009 9:48 pm US/Eastern (http://wcbstv.com/topstories/air.force.one.2.996457.html)

A furious President Barack Obama ordered an internal review of Monday's low-flying photo op over the Statue of Liberty.

CBS 2 HD has discovered the feds will have plenty to question.

Federal officials knew that sending two fighter jets and Air Force One to buzz ground zero and Lady Liberty might set off nightmarish fears of a 9/11 replay, but they still ordered the photo-op kept secret from the public.

In a memo obtained by CBS 2 HD the Federal Aviation Administration's James Johnston said the agency was aware of "the possibility of public concern regarding DOD (Department of Defense) aircraft flying at low altitudes" in an around New York City. But they demanded total secrecy from the NYPD, the Secret Service, the FBI and even the mayor's office and threatened federal sanctions if the secret got out.

"To say that it should not be made public knowing that it might scare people it's just confounding," Sen. Charles Schumer said. "It's what gives Washington and government a bad name. It's sheer stupidity."

The flyover -- apparently ordered by the White House Office of Military Affairs so it would have souvenir photos of Air Force One with the Statue of Liberty in the background -- had President Obama seeing red. He ordered a probe and apologized.

"It was a mistake. It will never happen again," President Obama said.

The NYPD was so upset about the demand for secrecy that Police Commissioner Ray Kelly vowed never to follow such a directive again and he accused the feds of inciting fears of a 9/11 replay.

"Did it show any insensitivity to the psychic wounds New York City has after 9/11? Absolutely. No questions about it. It was quite insensitive."

The cost of the frivolous flight was about $60,000 an hour and that was just for Air Force One. That doesn't include the cost of the two F-16s that came along.

The mayoral aide who neglected to tell Mayor Michael Bloomberg about it was reprimanded.

*****


The flight by the VC-25, a modified Boeing Co. 747, and two F-16 fighter jets cost $328,835, Air Force spokeswoman Vicki Stein said.

Three-Hour Mission

That includes $300,658 for the larger plane, which flew a three-hour mission, and about $28,178 for the F-16 jets, which flew 1.8 hours each, Stein said in an e-mailed statement.

The total includes fuel used in flight, fuel used to power ground equipment used to prepare the aircraft, and ground maintenance, Stein said.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said yesterday’s flyover was “two training missions that became in the end a picture mission” and only Air Force personnel were aboard.

April 28 (Bloomberg) (http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aHJlkHaApn4o&refer=home)

JCMAN320
April 29th, 2009, 01:39 AM
Look at how close it got to the Goldman Sachs Building!!!!

-----------------------------------------------------------------

Close call? Panic in Downtown Jersey City as presidential jet buzzes high-rises

by The Jersey Journal
Monday April 27, 2009, 4:14 PM

http://blog.nj.com/hudsoncountynow_impact/2009/04/large_jet02.jpg
Photo by Chris Bernardo
Presidential jet appears to fly extremely close to the top of the Goldman Sachs building in Downtown Jersey City.

"Here's a great shot by Jersey City resident Chris Bernardo of the presidential jet that appeared to buzz the Goldman Sachs building and other high-rises in Jersey City."

scumonkey
May 8th, 2009, 06:35 PM
White House Releases Air Force One-Over-NYC Photo

By Jen Chung (http://gothamist.com/profile/jen) in News (http://gothamist.com/news) on May 8, 2009 4:59 PM
http://gothamist.com/attachments/jen/2009_05_lowfly.jpg
Photograph of Air Force One flying over the Statue of Liberty from the White House

The White House spent up to $357,000 for the Presidential Airlift Group (http://gothamist.com/2009/04/27/department_of_defenses_plan_to_scar.php)—which includes the 747 that is Air Force One when the President is on board and a military fighter jet escort—to fly over lower Manhattan and take pictures—and this is the photograph they release? It's really mediocre—we guess they didn't want to spend the money/time to Photoshop it up. And why not at least give us a shot of the darn plane in front of the lower Manhattan skyline? Or is that too good for us?
The White House released the above photograph and a report about the seriously ill-advised plan to have the planes fly over lower Manhattan on April 27—freaking out New Yorkers who remember 9/11 (http://gothamist.com/2009/04/27/buildings_evacuated_as_air_force_on.php). Plus, the White House aide who ordered the photo op, Louis Caldera, resigned from his position as director of the White House Military Office.
Here's a link to the report (PDF (http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/politics/20090508_AF1_Report.pdf)): Apparently the Deputy Director George Mulligan sent an email to Caldera on April 24:
Sir: per our conversation about [the airlift group's commandeer, Colonel] Scott Turner's plans to fly over the Statue of Liberty - it's scheduled for this Monday, April 27th. All has been coordinated. AF PA plan/statement is below and will be released only if asked. Will probably receive some local press, but WH shouldn't catch any questions about it. Provided in case you want to pass to Jim Messina or Robert Gibbs for awareness. This is an AF operation, in close coordination with FAA. Happy to discuss with you as necessary.Of course, deputy chief of staff Jim Messina and press secretary Robert Gibbs weren't told.
Caldera, when asked when they weren't informed, said:
He noted that the Deputy Director had not told him (and he did not understand) that Air Force One would be flying over lower Manhattan at a very low altitude. He then stated that people frequently recommend that he notify Mr. Messina about certain events. Sometimes they are right; sometimes they are wrong. Finally, the Director stated that he was not asked to approve the flight. If he had been asked to make a decision, he would have received a formal package requesting his approval and he would have expected earlier and more extensive discussions with Colonel Turner and the Deputy Director.Mulligan said he didn't tell Messina or Gibbs because he "believed-based on his discussions with Colonel Turner and the various emails he received-that experienced professionals had planned the mission, and they had taken necessary steps to ensure the public was notified. Second, he believed that the Director would pass the information up the chain of command. This was standard office procedure, and he believed the Director preferred it that way." The Daily News reports staffers were unhappy (http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/2009/05/08/2009-05-08_white_house_aide_loses_job_over_manhattan_flyov er_fiasco.html): "The FAA warned the Military Office that the media needed to be advised of the flight. There were red flags" and "This (incident) was just plain stupid." Or plane stupid (http://gothamist.com/2009/04/28/the_day_after_military_planes_flew.php)! Also, why not give the public a photo of the plane in front of some NYC buildings at least?
Also, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, a man who has better things to do than to worry about plane photo ops, wrote a letter to Senator John McCain about the mission, "I am concerned that this highly public and visible mission did not include an appropriate public affairs plan nor adequate review and approval by senior Air Force and DoD (Defense Department) officials... The mission was coordinated with FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) liaisons, Systems Operations Security team members, and traffic managers; New York air traffic control representatives; and Newark and LaGuardia tower supervisors...On April 24, 2009 the FAA notified multiple agencies ofthe impending flight, including the US Park Police, NYC Mayor's Office, NYC Office of Emergency Management, NYC Police Department Operations, New Jersey State Police Regional Coordination Center, and several New Jersey area emergency operations centers." You can read the whole thing here (PDF (http://mccain.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Files.View&FileStore_id=de187b18-8aff-435b-9838-0d9722191297)).

Merry
May 8th, 2009, 11:31 PM
May 9, 2009

Official Quits Over Jet Flight That Alarmed New Yorkers

By JEFF ZELENY (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/z/jeff_zeleny/index.html?inline=nyt-per)

WASHINGTON — The photo shoot of Air Force One (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/p/presidents_and_presidency_us/air_force_one/index.html?inline=nyt-classifier) soaring above the Statue of Liberty cost taxpayers $328,835. Now the incident, which incited panic among scores of people in New York City, has cost the director of the White House Military Office his job.

The director, Louis Caldera, who was appointed by President Obama (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/o/barack_obama/index.html?inline=nyt-per) to the White House post and had been a secretary of the Army (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/a/us_army/index.html?inline=nyt-org) in the Clinton administration, resigned on Friday for his role in approving the April 27 flyover. In a brief letter to Mr. Obama (http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/politics/20090508_AF1_Resignation.pdf), Mr. Caldera said that the matter “has become a distraction for the important work you are doing as president.”

The White House released the resignation letter and a seven-page review (http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/politics/20090508_AF1_Report.pdf) of how the flyover was planned by several government agencies without anyone raising caution flags that the flight could spark fears of another terrorist attack in Lower Manhattan. A photograph of the plane, flying low above New York Harbor, also was released on Friday by the White House.

The president, who did not know about the flight before it took place and was described by aides as infuriated by it, directed his deputy chief of staff, Jim Messina, and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/g/robert_m_gates/index.html?inline=nyt-per) “to make recommendations to him to ensure that such an incident never occurs again,” said Robert Gibbs (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/g/robert_gibbs/index.html?inline=nyt-per), the White House press secretary.

The photo shoot of the Boeing 747 was intended to update the official picture of Air Force One, which is what the plane is called when the president is aboard. The last photograph was taken against the backdrop of Mount Rushmore, but in March military officials began planning for a new shot with the Statue of Liberty in the background.

The Air Force (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/a/us_air_force/index.html?inline=nyt-org) estimated the flight cost taxpayers $328,835, including $35,000 in fuel for the plane and the two fighter-jet escorts.

The internal White House review, conducted for the president by the White House counsel’s office, found that a series of bureaucratic missteps kept the public in the dark about the flight. Senior advisers to the president, including Mr. Gibbs and Mr. Messina, also said they were not notified.

“Will probably receive some local press, but W. H. shouldn’t catch any questions about it,” said an internal e-mail message that Mr. Caldera received from his deputy three days before the flight took place.

The White House report states that while some officials decided on “public outreach efforts” to notify people in advance about the flight, the commander of the Presidential Airlift Group, Col. Scott Turner of the Air Force, decided that the memo warning New York-area officials of the flyover would be marked “official use only,” and that it would tell government agencies not to disclose the event. Information would be provided, the report said, “only if asked.”

Through bureaucratic fumbling, the discrepancy over whether the public should or should not be alerted went unnoticed until after the flight.
In the review, officials wrote that Mr. Caldera said he “had no idea that the plan called for the aircraft to fly at 1,000 feet.” They added, “He feels terrible that the flight caused harm.”

The review concluded that “structural and organizational ambiguities” among officials in the White House and the Air Force led to the series of miscommunications that resulted in the most embarrassing act of the new Obama administration.

“The breakdown was the lack of public notification,” the report states, adding that Mr. Caldera believed others had been notified about the flight. He also conceded that he did not know the final details about the flyover mission, in part, because he had not checked his e-mail. He said he had gone home early for a few days because he was suffering from muscle spasms in his back when he returned from a presidential trip to Mexico last month.

Mr. Obama appointed Mr. Caldera to lead the White House Military Office in December, citing his 30-year career as a soldier, lawyer, legislator and law professor. It was a rare political appointment for a position that is usually held by a ranking officer in the military.

“His pedigree is second to none,” Mr. Obama said on Dec. 2. “I know he’ll bring to the White House the same dedication and integrity that have earned him the highest praise in every post.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/09/nyregion/09plane.html?ref=nyregion

BrooklynRider
May 11th, 2009, 02:29 AM
What a waste. Any person semi-literate in Photoshop could have created the same exact photo at no cost.

Merry
May 12th, 2009, 05:41 AM
What a waste.

Yes :mad:.

That money would have done wonders for what I was referring to when I said this here (http://www.wirednewyork.com/forum/showpost.php?p=283376&postcount=193):


I just wish he would (could?) facilitate significant assistance for struggling grass roots US citizens in a more practical and immediate way.

Merry
August 1st, 2009, 05:17 AM
Doc dump details AF1's NYC mishap

By Josh Gerstein

August 1, 2009

Air Force brass and White House officials were so infatuated by the idea of flying Air Force One around the Statue of Liberty for a photo shoot that they lost sight of the chaos such a mission could cause on the ground, according to documents (http://www.dod.mil/pubs/foi/newyorkcityflyover/) the Air Force released Friday evening.

(CLICK HERE (http://www.politico.com/slideshow/slideshow.html?xml=xml/404#id=404&num=1) to view highlights from the Air Force release)

While the head of the White House Military Office, Louis Caldera, was essentially sacked in May, the e-mail exchanges make clear that the ill-fated April 27 mission was really the brainchild of the lead pilot of Air Force One, Col. Scott Turner.

The documents show (http://www.politico.com/slideshow/slideshow.html?xml=xml/404#id=404&num=1) that the Air Force carefully tracked the explosion of negative press that ensued after panicked New Yorkers feared the low-flying, circling planes were part of a 9/11-like attack.

The e-mails also show various components of the bureaucracy trying to steer clear of the fallout.

Of those who knew about the planned flight, only an Air Force reserve Major General, Brian Keenan, seems to have foresight into the response the photo op inspired.

"NYC populace can be sensitive to airplanes that appear lower than normal or on tracks not normall seen over the NYC area. Influenced by 9/11," the Newark-based Continental pilot wrote two days before the starcrossed AF1 sortie.

Many segments of the documents were redacted to protect "deliberative process." For whatever reason, the white-out seems particularly prevalent surrounding a number of exchanges relating to an inquiry about the flight from Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)

Here's a look at some of the juiciest pages (http://www.politico.com/slideshow/slideshow.html?xml=xml/404#id=404&num=1) among the more than 1000 released Friday. Several of the excerpts below can be seen in the slideshow at the left of the page.

p. 37 On April 24, White House military office aide George Mulligan says he wishes he could come along.

p. 38 Turner promises free 8 x 10 glossies courtesy of Boeing.

p. 154 "Show folks we were not involved," one military aide writes after the incident.

p. 155 "Strongly suggest we steer clear of this flail," one National Guard official says, fearing it will look "like we own this."

p. 166 "To say this is being beaten like a dead horse is an understatement," a combat information specialist writes of the media response to the flight.

p. 167 A round-up of media attention notes: "3 tweets per minute." (http://www.politico.com/slideshow/slideshow.html?xml=xml/404#id=404&num=1)

p. 175 An e-mail says two airborne AF1 photo shoots were planned, the one in NY and one in DC.

p. 196 An Air Force major says the pass-the-buck stance is making everyone involved look like the Three Stooges. (http://www.politico.com/slideshow/slideshow.html?xml=xml/404#id=404&num=1)

p. 419 Maj Gen Brian Meenan, AF reserve, tried to warn about fallout, but is told coordination with local officials is complete.

p. 456 Turner signs on to describing the mission as "continuation training," (http://www.politico.com/slideshow/slideshow.html?xml=xml/404#id=404&num=1) not just a photo op.

p. 467 Turner urges spokespeople to "stick with the 'canned' response."

p. 496 Turner defends the mission. "The Vc-25 has not done a photo shoot (http://www.politico.com/slideshow/slideshow.html?xml=xml/404#id=404&num=1) of this sort since right after aircraft delivery (1990)."

p. 508 Turner runs the flight by Air Mobility Command General Arthur Lichte, who replies: "Will love to see the results of the photo shoot of my home town. Be sure to smile." Turner says the purpose of the flight is to update photos in the "hospitality package" given to guests on Air Force One and that the update is his idea.

p. 512 After the flight, Turner emails Lichte: "As was expected, all of the media has jumped on this as a negative thing."

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0809/25682.html

Bob
August 1st, 2009, 11:32 AM
The location of AF1 is almost always a closely guarded piece of knowledge. You don't know where AF1 is going, and oft times, neither does the military. The President goes where he chooses to go, and sometimes that will be on very short notice. The FAA will not divulge that information. The White House and military could have done better on this, yes. This is old news.