Apr 28 2009
In a follow up to my earlier post on that insane PR stunt of flying ‘Scare Force One’ over New York City it turns out someone in the White House knew damn well that this stunt was going to cause a lot of panic and fear:
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.Â
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.
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.Â
President Obama appears to be rightfully outraged, and has apologized for the incident. Good for him. I refuse to set a toe into the conservative fever swamps who think this was sanctioned by Obama. Not without hard evidence to support any such claims.
My guess is some ego-tripping White House newbie decided to flex his power and push through this idiotic stunt. And the memo referenced above seems to indicate that there were concerns raised, which is why this little tin bureaucratic dictator felt that a memo was required to squash the opposition – including the threat of reprisals. It is a classic right of passage with DC power transitions. You get knuckleheads coming who thin working for the White House gives special powers Â to them, including the right to indulge in their dumbest whims.
There needs to be a very public and transparent investigation into this stunt. Because there are some really serious questions, as posed by two of our readers on the previous post. First, reader Owl asks some good questions:
Questions: Who was on board?
Did Rumbo (President Obama) know?
Then reader TomAnonÂ makesÂ another interesting observation:
Something is clearly not right here. They could photoshop Air Force One into any background necessary and saved all kinds of money doing so. I bet this was done to help some Hollywood types produce a major film or documentary. The tape will be used in the future to show how Obama saved the world or something like that.
Both of these really drive to the heart of the question: what was this all about? Why spend the money and scare the daylights out our largest city? None of this was necessary given computer graphics capabilities. So where are all the memos on this stunt, what was its purpose (photo-op is not a sufficient answer), what was this supposed to provide? Why waste money like this? When you compare the price of Photoshop to the cost of flying these planes and the salaries of everyone involved this was a mind numbing waste of taxpayer dollars.
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.Â
And there are crimes on the books about wasting taxpayer money.