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Photo-Op Fiasco

By Brian | April 28, 2009 | Share on Facebook

OK, quick quiz: This picture was taken in lower Manhattan within blocks of the World Trade Center site. Question: on what day was it taken? Wrong, guess again. It was yesterday, April 27, 2009.

In what was clearly the dumbest move of the Obama administration thus far, a gentleman named Louis Caldera, the director of the White House military office, decided to fly one of the modified 747′s that serves as Air Force One when the President is on board, over and around the Statue of Liberty, in order to take pictures of it, which would later be given out to family, friends or supporters. The pictures were taken by someone in an F-16 fighter jet, which was trailing the 747.

According to the New York Daily News, the planes flew as low as 1,000-1,500 feet above the city, circling the Statue of Liberty and then flying over Manhattan, Staten Island, and New Jersey. As a point of reference, the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers were roughly 1,360 feet tall.

At first, Mr. Caldera and officials for the FAA claimed the flight “was approved and coordinated with everyone” via a confidential security memo that went out last week to the NYPD, the mayor’s office, the NJ State Police and other agencies. The Star Ledger (a local NJ paper) reports that the memo said, “[we acknowledge] the possibility of public concern regarding Department of Defense aircraft flying at low levels, [but] the information in this document is considered FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY and should only be shared by persons with a need to know.” They all changed their tune when the mayor of New York and the President of the United States both used the word “furious” to describe how they felt about this little stunt, and promptly apologized for the fear and panic they caused.

The reaction in New York? Well, workers in many of the surrounding buildings evacuated. Some of them ran down long staircases, just as they had on September 11, 2001. Several thought the F-16 was in pursuit of the 747, rather than escorting it, and were convinced it was going to shoot it down over lower Manhattan. One Wall Street worker said, “It’s like someone coming up to you, sticking a gun to your head for 15 seconds, walking away and hearing 20 minutes later it was an undercover cop posing for a photo.”

This woman took cell-phone video. Listen to the fear in her voice:

I believe she said, “Oh my God! That’s not normal. It’s a hijacking, I know it. It’s going around.”

Hearing about this, I can’t help thinking back to Bill Clinton’s infamous Air Force One haircut, which kept two runways at LAX closed for an extra hour back in 1993. This one wasn’t directly Obama’s fault, but it reminds me that new Presidents and their administrations are learning on the job, and don’t always comprehend the consequences of their actions.

At least Clinton’s faux pas didn’t scare the crap out of a few thousand people, though…

Topics: New York, New York | 4 Comments »

4 Responses to “Photo-Op Fiasco”

  1. Topics about New-york » Blog Archive » Photo-Op Fiasco says at April 28th, 2009 at 11:58 am :
    [...] FamilyGreenberg.Com put an intriguing blog post on Photo-Op FiascoHere’s a quick excerptOK, quick quiz: This picture was taken in lower Manhattan within blocks of the World Trade Center site. Question: on what day was it taken? Wrong, guess again. It was yesterday, April 27, 2009. In what was clearly the dumbest move of the Obama administration thus far, a gentleman named Louis Caldera, the director of the White House military office, decided to fly one of the modified 747’s that serves as Air Force One when the President is on board, over and around the Statue of Lib [...]

  2. Ilya says at April 28th, 2009 at 1:16 pm :
    My, I imagine the panic…

  3. FamilyGreenberg.Com - More Photo Fun… says at May 3rd, 2009 at 7:04 pm :
    [...] Photo-Op Fiasco [...]

  4. FamilyGreenberg.Com - Photo-Op Fiasco: Update says at May 9th, 2009 at 1:41 pm :
    [...] of all, here is the picture that F-16 photographer took of the Air Force One 767 flying over the Statue of Liberty. At least they got a good picture out of it. I’m told if you blow it up real big and look [...]

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