White House official apologizes for low-flying Air Force One lookalike By Raw Story Published: April 27, 2009

“After the incident, New York City released an advisory that the flyover was ‘part of an approved federal activity,’” Reuters reports.

"However, a city official revealed that the NYPD had been advised not to warn the public."

White House official apologizes for low-flying Air Force One lookalike

By Raw Story

Published: April 27, 2009
Updated 10 hours ago

Military jet in NYCUPDATES AT BOTTOM: Bloomberg ‘furious;’ White House official who approved ‘photo shoot’ apologizes

A number of buildings in the New York City area were evacuated Monday morning after a trio of low-flying planes flew near the Statue of Liberty.

“An Air Force One lookalike, the backup plane for the one regularly used by the president, flew low over Manhattan on Monday morning, accompanied by two F-16 fighters, so Air Force photographers could take pictures,” the New York Times reports. “But a lack of awareness about the flyover led to the evacuation of several buildings in Lower Manhattan and Jersey City, N.J., and perplexed officials at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and other authorities were inundated with calls from anxious ferry passengers, office workers and residents in the area.”

“It is pre-planned, pre-coordinated with everyone involved,” FAA spokesman Jim Peters said. “It’s a military flight over New York to take photos.”

Peters added, “We’ve gotten reports several buildings in Jersey City were evacuated.”

One eyewitness told the New York Times, “People came pouring out of the buildings, the American Express Building, all the buildings in the Financial District by the water. And even the construction guys over by 100 North End Avenue area, they all got out of their buildings. Nobody knew about it. Finally some guy showed up with a little megaphone to tell everyone it was a test, but the people were not happy. The people who were here 9/11 were not happy. New York City police were standing right there and they had no knowledge of it. The evacuations were spontaneous. Guys from the floor came out, and one guy I talked to was just shaking.”

One NYC television station received a number of phone calls from New York City residents “furious that local authorities hadn’t notified anyone about the fly-over.”

“According to many callers who flooded CBS 2 with their concerns, at about 10 a.m. the aircraft were seen flying at low altitudes over the Statue of Liberty and parts of lower Manhattan,” WCBS reports.

One sample follows: “We saw a low-flying 747 buzz the Southwest edge of Manhattan, at Battery Park City, with a fighter jet appearing to chase it on its left wing. At about Rector Street or so, it took a hard left and looked to be headed straight for Jersey City. It flew over J.C., turned south, and continued to climb over Newark. It left our sight, only to return on the same path a second time about five minutes later. It was confusing and panicked the office. We dialed 9-1-1 and considered whether to evacuate. We were told by 9-1-1 that it was ‘authorized’ to be there. We later learned, from your website, that it was part of a DOD ‘photo op.’ NotifyNYC advises it was ‘part of an approved federal activity.’ To conduct a ‘photo op,’ unwarned in advance to Lower Manhattan residents and workers, in that manner was completely irresponsible.”

Newsday notes, “About 1,000 workers gathered along the Hudson River esplanade until a security officer with a bullhorn told them it was a planned exercise.”

“After the incident, New York City released an advisory that the flyover was ‘part of an approved federal activity,’” Reuters reports.

However, a city official revealed that the NYPD had been advised not to warn the public.

The Times reports, “Later on Monday morning, the Police Department acknowledged that it had been notified about the event but said it had been barred from alerting the public. ‘The flight of a VC-25 aircraft and F-16 fighters this morning was authorized by the F.A.A. for the vicinity of the Statue of Liberty with directives to local authorities not to disclose information about it but to direct any inquiries to the F.A.A. Air Traffic Security Coordinator,’ the Police Department said in a statement.”

A New York Post article claims, “The mayor’s office was told the jets would only buzz the Statue of Liberty once, and not fly over downtown three times, a source said.”

“Had we known, we would have pushed back,” the source said, according to the NYC tabloid.

The Wall Street Journal reports,

A spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration said the maneuver wasn’t an emergency and was coordinated in advance with state and local officials. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates bridges, tunnels and airports in the area, said initially the agency had no knowledge of the low-flying plane, according to a spokesman. But several Port Authority executives, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to an ongoing investigation, said that the agency received a memo from the FAA, but not until sometime Monday morning.

“Information in this document shall not be released to the public or media,” the memo instructed. “Public affairs posture for this effort is passive.”

The memo specifically directed local agencies not to tell the public about the photo shoot, according to a government official. The memo detailed the nature of the event and the flight details, saying there would be a transport and fighter aircraft flying over New York Harbor.

Bloomberg ‘furious;’ White House spokesman asked if NYC residents are owed an apology

“New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is ‘furious’ over a Department of Defense low-altitude flyover of NYC in the area around Ground Zero this morning, calling it ‘ill-conceived’ and a ‘waste of taxpayers’ money,’” ABC News reports.

More from ABC News:

Bloomberg said he was so furious he wasn’t told about the photo op, that before he talked further to his own staff and agencies about the lack of notice to him, he wants “to calm down.”

“Poor judgment would have been a nice way to put it,” Bloomberg said of the government flyover.

“It scared a couple of million people,” one airport official said.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs didn’t have much to offer reporters this afternoon on what happened.

Chuck Todd, chief White House correspondent for NBC News, asked, “Do you guys feel you owe folks in New York City an apology for this incident having to do with the airplane that looks like Air Force One with two fighter jets? There seemed to be a lot of panic.”

“I would point you to FAA or Air Force,” Gibbs responded.

Todd shot back, “They pointed me to you guys.”

Gibbs said he would make some inquiries. “I have seen some news reports but I don’t know. I have no information on this other than what I saw on a website.”

“That’s why it’s odd that you guys don’t have a response,” Todd replied. “It’s the president’s aircraft or what looks like the president’s aircraft.”

Gibbs said, “I was working on other things. You might be surprised to know I don’t know of every move Air Force One or what happens to it. I will certainly talk to the military office.”

In a news conference Monday afternoon, New York’s Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer criticized the FAA, “There would be no danger from warning the public. Every danger from not warning the public.”

“It is absolutely outrageous and appalling to think that the FAA would plan such a photo shoot and not warn the public, knowing full well New Yorkers still have the vivid memory of 9/11 sketched in their minds,” Schumer added.

Early Monday evening, the director of the White House Military Office offered an apology.

“Last week, I approved a mission over New York. I take responsibility for that decision,” said Louis Caldera, according to CNN. “While federal authorities took the proper steps to notify state and local authorities in New York and New Jersey, it’s clear that the mission created confusion and disruption.”

The flight, reported Associated Press Monday night, was staged to update the Air Force One file photo with the Statue of Liberty in the background.

(Photo credited to Staten Island Advance/Irving Silverstein)

This video is from MyFoxNY.com, broadcast Apr. 27, 2009.

A Photo Op? Or Psy-Op?

The CONSTITUTION is NOT going to "collapse" into pulverized dust no matter how much thermate/explosives or planes they throw at it

Recent NYC Flyover Was Not A Photo Shoot

When the student is ready the teacher will come.

Hello Truthseekers & Truthtellers,This flyover in NYC for a photo shoot is all BS. They can use Photo Shop to get the pictures they want. Obama recently came out with the torture memos and pissed off some higher ups from the last administration and probably some top military and CIA officials. I believe this was done to warn Obama and to embarrass him because of his release of the torture memos. It also takes the media to another place so they get off the torture memos. They don't make these kind of stupid mistakes. There are some battles going on inside this government.Take Care Matt