White House Panic Attack

Never mind that the White House has spent trillions of dollars it doesn’t have to jump start the economy, but now a carefully choreographed flight of Air Force One has New Yorkers in a panic.

The White House Military Office notified federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in the New York region last week that they wanted to update photos of the presidential aircraft. The information, given on a “need-to-know basis,” wasn’t shared with New Yorkers, who saw the plane accompanied by an F-16 flying low over the Hudson River. The aircraft could be seen turning tightly over the Statue of Liberty for what was later described as a “photo op.”

While it’s true the events of 9/11 are a few years removed, but for New Yorkers especially, low flying aircraft over the Hudson River are a haunting reminder of that dreadful day. Thousands of workers apparently fled their high-rise office buildings at the unexpected sight of the signature blue and white 747 aircraft near Miss Liberty.

Apparently, the photo op is routine over New York Harbor and the Grand Canyon, both national landmarks. And the flyover had been approved and coordinated with everyone that mattered in such instances.

A confidential FAA security memo went out last week noted there might be “the possibility of public concern regarding Department of Defense aircraft flying at low levels.”

President Obama was furious when he found out about the gaffe, according to unnamed sources.

The bottom line is, the photo op flight was insensitive and a cause of poor judgment on the part of the administration. Nerves are still raw in New York and surrounding communities, as well they should be. Any aircraft, especially one with a trailing F-16 Fighting Falcon, is cause for civilians to peer skyward, refreshing their memories of 9/11 and two aircraft droning down the Hudson River with only terrorism in mind.

This act was not only poor planning, but poor judgment on the part of the administration.

About the Author

Ralph C. Jensen is editor-in-chief of Security Today magazine.

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