A memo has surfaced showing that the Administration expected some New Yorkers would panic at the low-level fly-over of a 747 and F16 in New York. However, they still barred the public release of the “classified” information. It also turns out that the photo op cost the taxpayers $328,835, though no one seems particularly upset about the costs of such a frivolous project at a time when people are being crushed by a recession. President Obama has said that he is furious and has demanded an investigation.
What is striking about this story is the failure of the media to nail down who pushed for this remarkably stupid operation. We now that the White House military office approved it, but not the origins of the proposal. Moreover, this disastrous operation reflects the continuing tendency of the government to classify everything. No one has explained who made the decision that such an operation had to be some type of state secret. I would think that, if someone was going to take a shot at Air Force One, we would prefer to have them try with an empty plane. More importantly, with this memo, the Administration decided that they simply did not put much care into the impact on New Yorkers.
The memo in question was acknowledged by the Federal Aviation Administration’s James Johnston, who said that the agency was aware of “the possibility of public concern regarding DOD (Department of Defense) aircraft flying at low altitudes”over New York City.
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