FAA memo: Feds knew Scare Force One would cause panic

posted at 7:45 pm on April 28, 2009 by Allahpundit

Via JWF, I’m almost comforted by the revelation. The possibility that they’d be so stupid as not to know that buzzing lower Manhattan with a jumbo jet might freak people out is too terrible to contemplate.

Now all we have to do is figure out why a “photo op” would be such a terrifically big secret that not even the mayor of New York was in on it. Does that make any sense at all? “We need a new stock shot of Air Force One near the Statue of Liberty. Don’t tell a soul.

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…

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.

The cost of this debacle, by the way? Just shy of $329,000. Think of it as a stimulus: The amount of booze, smokes, and anti-anxiety meds alone that New Yorkers must have consumed in the aftermath of this mass panic attack was probably worth $10-20 mil to the city.

I just got this info sent to me about the photo op / flyover yesterday with Air Force One ….the one that sent people running in NYC…yes, scared them to death! They now say it was a training mission…hhm….they needed training? and the cost? see (by the way, how much flu vaccination can you get for $325,000+? )

Follow the link for a breakdown of the cost. Question for Air Force vets: Is “training mission” military jargon for “photo op”? What were they “training” to do here precisely, besides killing people on the ground from fright?


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2 3 4

practice intercepts (using the 747 as a notional hijacked aircraft)
NPP on April 29, 2009 at 9:13 AM

A reasonable rationale for the flight profile and also why it was classified.

Maybe this is wrong, but didn’t this city vote overwhelmingly for The One? Isn’t that largely based on the overblown GWOT? So, why get all worked up over a plane flight if the GWOT is a figment of the right’s imagination?
dean_acheson on April 29, 2009 at 9:16 AM

With your reasoning, you might be interested in the chart Where US Troops Come From

BDU-33 on April 29, 2009 at 9:48 AM

I have one but only watch Netflix on weekends. After election night I canceled my satellite and I live in a rural area, so no tv.

This is us as well, I think it is a trend. TV is useless for news, most the shows are drek and those few that do sound interesting I can either view online or get from Netflix so why bother with satellite, cable or even rabbit ears.

darcee on April 29, 2009 at 9:51 AM

I posted this at another site:

Lamest example?

How could you not know where is your car? And, if it was stolen you’d call the cops, riiiiggghhhtt? But the cops are already THERE, chasing the car, so you know they are “on it”, right?

If you had 2 AF1′s for “work”, I’d like to know where are they at all times, riiiiigghhtttt?????

ProudPalinFan on April 29, 2009 at 9:52 AM

Anyone else think it odd that the head of the White House Military Office is the former head of Indymac?

That’d be the same Indymac that’s under investigation for fraud. Obama sure knows how to pic ‘em.

hawksruleva on April 29, 2009 at 9:55 AM

This is us as well, I think it is a trend. TV is useless for news, most the shows are drek and those few that do sound interesting I can either view online or get from Netflix so why bother with satellite, cable or even rabbit ears.

darcee on April 29, 2009 at 9:51 AM

Exactly, I don’t miss it one bit. The problem may arise when football season gets here. But you are correct, getting news from the Internet is much faster and we are able to cull out the bias on our own.

Have you checked out fancast online? It’s a great way to check out the latest Simpsons or South Park for free.

carbon_footprint on April 29, 2009 at 9:59 AM

so why bother with…rabbit ears.

darcee on April 29, 2009 at 9:51 AM

Cuz little bunnies need them? Can’t have Ed sneaking up on them in his backyard, now,can we? :-)

There are so many pieces to this “photo op” that make no logical sense at all. And the Administrations explanations get more convoluted as each hour passes.

Yes, the two VC-25′s have routine training missions out of Andrews. Manhattan is not on their regular list of flight zones used for routine training.

There are thousands of private pilots in that part of New York and New Jersey, and they operate under visual flight rules as they fly under 1100 feet…and this “photo op” flight was well under 1100 feet…the videos prove it…and the public was not informed beforehand? Just one private plane, just one out of hundreds in the air in the area that day, and this “photo op” would have turned deadly.

There are many others, most all presented earlier.

The fact remains that either Obama knew about it all along and is passing the buck. Or, Obama did not know about it at all, and is trying to put on the best face possible. And badly.

For a President who claimed in his campaign, transition, and after the inauguration that he was all over it when it came to the White House, had hundreds of advisers, official and unofficial, seems that either he has no executive and management skills or…oh, never mind, just answered my own question.

coldwarrior on April 29, 2009 at 10:01 AM

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…

If the secret got out? There are about 8 million people in New York, and some of them are bound to notice a low-flying 747 and two fighter planes!

Instead of scaring them with memories of 9/11, wouldn’t it have been easier to just TELL the people of New York “Don’t worry, this is just a training mission–this jet has NOT been hijacked, you are safe in your buildings?”

Regarding the cost of this “mission/photo-op/idiocy”, the $329K only covers the cost to the GOVERNMENT. What about the costs to businesses in New York City, if “many buildings were evacuated” in Lower Manhattan? All the lost work time and productivity in the middle of a recession? If tens of thousands of people evacuated office buildings, and their salary + benefits are in the $30 to $100 / hour range, New York businesses could have lost MILLIONS for this stunt. Plus the fact that, once they get back into their buildings, people would be chatting about it for an hour or so by the water-cooler…

Does the White House plan to reimburse these businesses for their lost work time? Maybe with a little leftover TARP money, if Tiny Tim can find it?

Steve Z on April 29, 2009 at 10:03 AM

Oh, c’mon. Robert Gibbs is much more painful.

hawksruleva on April 29, 2009 at 9:48 AM

This is Robert Gibbs….I knew he reminded me of someone./

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrXhxmQJSS0

milwife88 on April 29, 2009 at 10:04 AM

Someone needs to bill or sue the federal government for this fiasco.

ORconservative on April 29, 2009 at 10:08 AM

There are thousands of private pilots in that part of New York and New Jersey, and they operate under visual flight rules as they fly under 1100 feet…and this “photo op” flight was well under 1100 feet…the videos prove it…and the public was not informed beforehand? Just one private plane, just one out of hundreds in the air in the area that day, and this “photo op” would have turned deadly.

Good point about the private pilots! If there had been a private pilot in that area, a little Piper or Cessna couldn’t outrun a 747, and could have easily ended up in the Hudson, or crashed into a building in New York or New Jersey.

But if the idea was to take photos, couldn’t the White House have simply hired a private pilot and a camera-man to take photos out of a small plane? It would have been a LOT cheaper, and people aren’t afraid of small planes over NYC, since there are so many of them flying out of Teterboro NJ.

Steve Z on April 29, 2009 at 10:13 AM

Obama is a terrorist.

bridgetown on April 29, 2009 at 10:18 AM

We need a bi-partsian truth commission to investigate this blatant act of torture by the Obama administration. Its quite clear from the videos that those New Yorkers were in fear for their lives and thought they were going to die. Further, the FAA memos prove that the government knew they were going to make people fear for their lives. This act clearly meets the definiton of torture using the same standard used to prove that waterboarding is torture. What did Obama know and when did he know it?

BohicaTwentyTwo on April 29, 2009 at 10:35 AM

This matches the test runs that terrorists use to detect our defenses and identify how far those defenses extend. If someone or some group needed to know how NYC would react to low altitude overflights, this is the answer.

Every government official who has spoken on this incident is a liar. The logistics involved simply do not permit an inadvertent error to be made.

Sad that this could be what takes down this imbecile thug yet the MSM will hold the rug edge up while the dirt is swept under it.

It looks like our government is preparing for war against its own citizens.

platypus on April 29, 2009 at 10:43 AM

With your reasoning, you might be interested in the chart Where US Troops Come From

BDU-33 on April 29, 2009 at 9:48 AM

You always have to be careful with those kinds of stats. I didn’t see the full details on this one, but “comes from” could just be where they claim their permanent residence. Many soldiers drop residence in states that don’t have income tax, i.e. TX, which skews the numbers.

gregbert on April 29, 2009 at 10:50 AM

Since we, the taxpayers, paid $329,000 for this photo op, I certainly look forward to seeing the complete photo spread. It will make a great re-election campaign theme!

By the way, shouldn’t somebody be prosecuted for the mental torture of New Yorkers?

Star20 on April 29, 2009 at 11:01 AM

This reckless endangerment of the public without anyone being held accountable, puts into question whether yelling, “Fire!!” in a crowded theatre is now being considered…..acceptable behavior.

captivated_dem on April 29, 2009 at 11:40 AM

WHO, exactly, was on the plane?

ExTex on April 29, 2009 at 11:58 AM

WHOWHAT, exactly, was on the plane?

ExTex on April 29, 2009 at 11:58 AM
(edited)

Hot Air?

Mcguyver on April 29, 2009 at 12:25 PM

WHO, exactly, was on the plane?

ExTex on April 29, 2009 at 11:58 AM

ZACTLY!!!!!!!!

Mega dittos to just WHO the heck was on that plane!

And does anyone remember the elderly, Black woman in Florida that attended one of The One’s little traveling dog and pony shows about 2 months or so ago? She was asking him for help, and he promised her he would help. Fox did a story on her saying she was about to get kicked to the curb because the home she had been given to live in temporarily, might have been sold. Just imagine IF this woman had been given the $329,000! It would have enabled her to get off the streets, out of poverty and off any government programs. But instead, the $329K was injected into thin air! What a waste from one who demanded his Cabinet find ways to not waste money JUST 10 DAYS AGO!

freeus on April 29, 2009 at 12:33 PM

If nobody’s pointed it out already, technically speaking the jet is neither a 747 or Air Force One, but a USAF VC-25a (which is based, obviously, on the 747 commercial airframe). A VC-25a (or any other fixed-wing aircraft, for that matter) only gains the call sign “Air Force One” when the President is embarked. Or, these days, the guy we have standing in for one.

Blacklake on April 29, 2009 at 12:35 PM

Obviously, TOTUS was on the plane….

Mcguyver on April 29, 2009 at 12:37 PM

Obama is a terrorist.

bridgetown on April 29, 2009 at 10:18 AM

That’d be a man caused disaster now-a-days.

Alden Pyle on April 29, 2009 at 12:49 PM

Incidentally, considering roughly 70% of New York City voters checked for Obama, I have absolutely no problem whatsoever with this development. If for just a few seconds the majority of those people got to feel the kind of abject terror their own voting habits have come to make me feel virtually all the time, at least a small bit of ironic justice has been served.

Blacklake on April 29, 2009 at 12:49 PM

The amount of wasted dollars mentioned in the article, does not include the loss of productivity of hundreds/thousands of New Yorkers who left their high rise buildings in a panic. Also, I would guess they didn’t get much done for the rest of the day! Suspect that cost is higher than the plane’s operating cost.

Christian Conservative on April 29, 2009 at 12:55 PM

Where was the photograph being taken from?

SouthernRoots on April 29, 2009 at 12:57 PM

Haven’t these bozos heard of Photoshop?

Why actually fly a real airplane to get a photo of the Statue of Liberty in the background when you have computer generated special effects?

lonesomecharlie on April 29, 2009 at 1:10 PM

SouthernRoots on April 29, 2009 at 12:57 PM

From a spy satellite over the Atlantic.

lonesomecharlie on April 29, 2009 at 1:10 PM

Photoshop? Obama was just keepin’ it real.

coldwarrior on April 29, 2009 at 1:13 PM

As a distraction…

Palin used 70K in RNC campaign funds to buy clothes!!!

SHOUT IT FROM THE MOUNTAINTOPS MSM.

James on April 29, 2009 at 2:25 PM

“Its quite clear from the videos that those New Yorkers were in fear for their lives and thought they were going to die”
BohicaTwentyTwo

True.

Obama’s first reaction to this was to blame the military, the Air Force.

Perhaps Obama thinks not only has the military lost it’s “moral compass,” they’ve lost their REAL compass as well!

DSchoen on April 29, 2009 at 2:42 PM

Whose idea was this bit of stupidity? And, who was enjoying the flyover from inside the plane, Obama’s family and friends? Can’t the White House press corps ask some real questions for a change?

SC.Charlie on April 29, 2009 at 3:46 PM

This is Robert Gibbs….I knew he reminded me of someone./

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrXhxmQJSS0

milwife88 on April 29, 2009 at 10:04 AM

Bagdad Bob Gibbs.

petunia on April 29, 2009 at 4:08 PM

Obama’s blaming the Air Force. Everybody else is pointing the fingers at the FAA. Someone mentioned earlier that the flight path the planes took were not normal flight paths for military jets. SOMEONE superceded the flight directives. Any guesses as to whom that someone or someone’s might be? And if you guessed the comanding general of the Air Force, even the general knows better! Gibbs can tap dance all he wants to. The White House decided that this was a good idea. What a bunch of morons!

Driefromseattle on April 29, 2009 at 4:13 PM

Where was the photograph being taken from?

SouthernRoots on April 29, 2009 at 12:57 PM

I want to see the photos… Not just one photoshopped photo… all of them. Prove someone was even taking pictures. I want the names of who was on board… Why how what where did all this originate! Who authorized this? I want information that is just not coming.

I think the whole story smacks of lies! None of it makes any sense at all. None of it!

And yet we are to just ignore such a strange strange tale… and celebrate the first 100 days of the end of liberty.

petunia on April 29, 2009 at 4:13 PM

Since we, the taxpayers, paid $329,000 for this photo op, I certainly look forward to seeing the complete photo spread. It will make a great re-election campaign theme!
By the way, shouldn’t somebody be prosecuted for the mental torture of New Yorkers?
Star20

Yep
For the 2010 GOP

DSchoen on April 29, 2009 at 4:28 PM

For those asking why they would want to keep this photo-op secret, I had a thought that is only moderately implausible. If they told New Yorkers not to worry about low-flying airplanes on a particular day, and announced it well enough in advance, maybe they were afraid that terrorists could have used that information. If terrorists are waiting for a good day to hijack more planes and crash them into an unsuspecting public, perhaps they would have seen this event as an opportunity.

Now this doesn’t necessarily convince me, I’m just trying to come up with a reason, and this is the only one I can think of.

JS on April 29, 2009 at 4:33 PM

JS on April 29, 2009 at 4:33 PM

On the other hand…

And I’ve been gaming this for the past 24…

Trying to explain to myself the secrecy, the lack of anyone in the White House with specific information, the confusion after the event took place, Obama’s alleged being furious, and the complete lack of detail following the event…things that make you go Hmmmm?

What if this flight over Manhattan was a ferret flight?

What if they had specific chatter to indicate AQ or other group was going to set up in Manhattan and start pinging on commercial air traffic in or out of the major three airports? I mean, information that was solid…except for the last few elements…size, location, time…that sort of operational detail?

Rather than allow one or two commercial aircraft to plummet into the Hudson with all souls on board, let’s give them a large, recognizable, slow moving target instead…one that had onboard counter-missile systems, and had an F-16 escort to wing in and hit any attackers as they prepared to get a shot off or had actually fired, giving the F-16′s a clear vector back to the firing position?

Ok…speculation….pure speculation…just being a cow…ruminating here…nothing more.

But, the implications of that…and the need for the utmost secrecy…yet informing local law enforcement and the FAA…law enforcement to react on the ground should the horrible take place…and the FAA to subtly steer commercial and private aircraft out of the zone?

So…how ’bout them Mets, this year?

coldwarrior on April 29, 2009 at 5:04 PM

Now this doesn’t necessarily convince me, I’m just trying to come up with a reason, and this is the only one I can think of.

JS on April 29, 2009 at 4:33 PM

It doesn’t make sense. No need for the mental gymnastics. Sometimes a lie is really just a lie. Now the reason for the lie is the real story.

petunia on April 29, 2009 at 5:05 PM

platypus on April 29, 2009 at 10:43 AM………….We’re in agreement here. When I see the absolute absence of integrity and disingenuousness displayed constantly and daily by the left and especially it’s leadership, as a sane and thinking individual I believe that they are capable of horrendous evil. Jesus laid out the axiom that whoever is faithful or unfaithful in small things will also display the same behavior in larger situations. Hence everyday law abiding Germans became concentration camp guards when they were able to get away with it. They were always bad, but were worried about the law. Many here and even worldwide will soon possibly be blind sided when these evil people gain and exercise real power. In short I TRULY believe that people like Pelosi, Reed, Obummer and many of their backers would imprison and even murder the opposition if they could cleanly get away with it. Many who find these statements outrageous or paranoid; well I sincerely hope you’re right, but you aren’t.

cjk on April 29, 2009 at 5:05 PM

If Obama wants some photo ops for AF-1, he needs to hire these 2 guys.

This is an old, 2002, short movie, 3 min. done on a “normal” PC Pentium II 450 mhz processor, 512 MB of ram, 4 gig storage and Pentium III 500 mhz processor

BTW this film is funny as hell, even with the Helen Thomas cameo or something like that.

405 the movie!

http://www.405themovie.com/view.asp

Probably the single most amazing aspect of 405 is that this film was not created by an army of special effects artists. It was not a project that took years to complete. And it did not cost a million dollars to create.
In fact, 405 was created by just two people, in only three months, with the only expense being their time and personal home computers.

DSchoen on April 29, 2009 at 5:10 PM

If they told New Yorkers not to worry about low-flying airplanes on a particular day, and announced it well enough in advance, maybe they were afraid that terrorists could have used that information. If terrorists are waiting for a good day to hijack more planes and crash them into an unsuspecting public, perhaps they would have seen this event as an opportunity.

Nope, your discounting human nature.

Had they given warning that AF-1 was going to do a photo op flight, low level and all, the Manhattan workers would have been outside at the time doing the Eweeess and Ahhhhass, giving a BIG thumbs Up to AF-1

No one would be seriously questioning the cost, or the need.

In fact I would bet that most of the workers would have gone back into their building with big old smiles on their faces feeling patriotic as hell.

If I’m right, and you know I am, how frigging stupid is Team Obama?

DSchoen on April 29, 2009 at 5:25 PM

What’s next?

Hey I know!

Lets test flight one of our ICBM’s! without a war heads of course, and lets not let ANYONE know IT’S ONLY A TEST!

What could go wrong!

DSchoen on April 29, 2009 at 5:39 PM

Way beyond ignorance, way beyond selfishness, way beyond cluelessness, way beyond an inability to calculate consequences.

To Obama and his syncophants, the idea that over 300 million lives are at stake here is a mere abstraction. The only lives that are real to them are their own.

ElRonaldo on April 29, 2009 at 6:31 PM

Let’s not forget . . . this one is a real biggie from a public relations point of view. There is no plausible explanation in sight for this mess.

Right in the midst of their frenzied “run-up” to the 100th day celebration of Obama the Great, suddenly a series of idiots somehow converged — they bound themselves together in a perfect storm of group-think, spawning bad publicity . . . downright stupidity on the part of the DoD, the FAA the White House Military Office, the Mayor of New York, the Governor of New Jersey, the New York Police Department, the New Jersey State Police.

Everyone came up small on this one!

Not one of them thought to say, “Hey . . . wait a minute. Why are we doing this again?

So the veritable crap in the punch bowl was discovered only after they all dipped in! Yum, yum, boys! How’s that funny taste in your mouth? A little “earthy?”

Heh!

Now the politicians can — and immediately did — lie.

Unquestionably both Bloomberg and Corzine at a minimum knew about it. I personally have little doubt that Obama knew. But they also know they cannot EVER admit it. I also have no doubt that Rahm Emanuel knew about it as well — and his Deputy, Jim Messina, probably did as well.

Messina is now in charge of the “internal investigation,” which means he’s in charge of making sure it never, ever gets past him!

None shall pass!!

So, why was Obama furious? Because Bloomberg said it first, and it kinda sounded good? Because “barking mad” sounded just a little bit too strong? Because he realized he’s surrounded by dopes?

No. I think it’s because he knows is suddenly vulnerable to ridicule. I don’t think there is any ultra-secret reason. It was probably something like getting good shots or video for his future campaign, or for a glossy mailer . . . whatever. But the point is that they can never own up to the truth of it, and the lies all sound stupid.

Trochilus on April 29, 2009 at 8:31 PM

Why is it we inform the North Koreans of our military moves but not New Yorkers about Scare Force One’s moves. Hmm.

Mojave Mark on April 29, 2009 at 8:32 PM

This is the perfect example of a Pre-9/11 mindset. It simply never occurred to them.

Pole-Cat on April 29, 2009 at 10:41 PM

FAA memo: Feds knew Scare Force One would cause panic

Earth to OBungler…You’re fool!

byteshredder on April 30, 2009 at 12:07 AM

WHO, exactly, was on the plane?

ExTex on April 29, 2009 at 11:58 AM

I don’t know, but I bet Kathleen Parker does.

unwashed minion on April 30, 2009 at 5:16 AM

FAA memo: Feds knew Scare Force One would cause panic

*Facepalm* heard around the world.

unwashed minion on April 30, 2009 at 5:19 AM

WHO, exactly, was on the plane?

ExTex on April 29, 2009 at 11:58 AM

Gotten this question myself multiple times along with why the media won’t ask more questions. My answer –

No one in the press is asking because the question has not appeared on their “Administration Approved Questions” list. Maybe if someone paraphrased it, maybe someone from the NYT, as in -

“Mr. President, does the site of the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island against the NY skyline bring on feelings of sadness and regret that you have not been able to move more quickly to offer amnesty to the millions of suffering undocumented immigrants trying to achieve the American dream – the dream you are reawakening in all of us after 8 years of despondency and abject failure under a totalitarian Bush regime, this dream of hope and change?”

Maybe if someone asked that question, he might say -

“You know, when I flew over NY the other day in Air Force One, um, which I did, uh because I can, er, because I won and the plane is mine. Well, you see, I thought of all the immigrants who, uh, came to America in search of a better life for themselves and their children, um, not unlike my father, who came here in search of an education that would enable him to return to our fatherland, um I mean, his fatherland, to make a better life for his wife and children. Uh, wait a minute, um, that’s not right. I’m his child, umm, let’s just move this forward a minute, uh, yeah, that’s where I was…”

I think you get what I’m saying. This was more than a photo op. They won’t ask the question because not even the teleprompter can think of a good reason to give why he/anyone would be flying over NYC, except to entertain donors. You know, the Lincoln bedroom is so 1990’s – and every big Dem donor has already slept in it.

gopmom on April 30, 2009 at 9:37 AM

You all seem to have forgotten that this event was inherited from Boooosh.

shick on April 30, 2009 at 10:11 AM

Thinks there’s a chance they’ll actually use those expensive photos now?

Caption to photo: “Remember that day when you worried about a possible second attack? Wasn’t this awsome photo worth it?”

shick on April 30, 2009 at 10:15 AM

Was waiting for Gibbs to say the flight and photo op came off perfect as planned….the panic in the streets of Manhattan?

The jooooooze…

Next question.

coldwarrior on April 30, 2009 at 10:27 AM

Think, where is the leadership? The DOD is able to tell everyone to keep this mission low key, even the Mayor of N.Y.,
but not their boss, the President.

Then when the newsbreaks the Mayor denies ever knowing anything about the incident.

What kind of pressure can the DOD exercise over N.Y., the FBI and others that were informed???

Stuff like this does not occur in a vacuum so President Obama was aware of what was going on, he just needed plausible denyability, and the Mayor telling the public what was going on at the minute the first sign of panic was appropriate for a leader.

MSGTAS on April 30, 2009 at 10:38 AM

It was a “man-made disaster”.

TrickyDick on April 30, 2009 at 1:34 PM

Comment pages: 1 2 3 4