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White House official resigns over NYC flyover incident (AP story)

The Associated Press reports that a White House internal investigation has released the findings of an internal investigation into the recent incident involving a low-flying Air Force One over New York City; and that, in consequence of the 'embarassing incident,' Louis Caldera of the White House Military Office has submitted his resignation, effectively accepting the blame:

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(Excerpts)

WASHINGTON – The White House official who authorized a $328,835 photo-op of Air Force One soaring above New York City resigned under fire Friday as the administration tried to move past the embarrassing incident that sent panicked workers rushing into the streets amid flashbacks of Sept. 11.

As former Army Secretary Louis Caldera took the fall for the flyover, the White House released the findings of an internal investigation that portrayed him as out of the loop in a cycle of missed messages and questionable judgments as plans for the photo shoot proceeded.

Caldera said he didn't know Air Force One would fly at 1,000 feet during the April 27 photo promotion, according to the investigation findings. He also failed to read an e-mail message describing the operation and seemed unaware of the potential for public fear, the findings said.

Local officials had been notified in advance. But it was a shock to New Yorkers who looked up to see the Boeing 747 and its fighter jet escort flying near the Statue of Liberty and lower Manhattan's financial district, a terrifying reminder of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in which jets brought down the two towers of the World Trade Center.

The Federal Aviation Administration told local officials in advance of the flight, but asked them not to disclose it to the public, the White House report said. There was a prepared statement for the FAA's New York regional office and for the Air Force in Washington to release if anyone called to ask about the flight....

White House officials said the purpose of the flight was to update the official photo of the plane, known as Air Force One when the president is aboard. In releasing its report and the resignation letter, the White House also released a photo of the blue-and-white plane high above the Statue of Liberty, with New Jersey in the background.

The White House report, which did not address officials' conduct outside the White House, portrayed Caldera as deaf to concerns....

Later in the meeting, a White House official presented Caldera a letter accepting responsibility. He made some edits and took responsibility because he thought it was the "standup thing to do"....

Full article may be read here:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090508/ap_on_go_pr_wh/us_obama_low_flying_plane

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Not that I'm optimistic about learning anything definite to the contrary, but I sure have found the government's account of this incident hard to swallow from the outset, and continue to with this latest report. If the principal objection to the scheme was how low the plane flied over New York City, and if Caldera says he didn't know how low it was going to fly, then shouldn't the person taking the fall be someone who DID know how low it was going to fly? If details of a plan which turned out to be so controversial were in an e-mail which Caldera said he hadn't read, then shouldn't the person/people taking the fall be those who HAD read it? Or perhaps even the person who composed it?

Oh well, it looks like the 'incompetence,' 'negligence,' 'in over their heads' meme worked so well for the previous administration in dodging accountability and evading the truth, that the political class is in no hurry to put it to rest. (Though we have been spared hearing Obama tell Caldera, 'Louis, you're doin' a heck of a job!')

The article also reports that, 'Local officials had been informed notified in advance.' Well, that's certainly not what Mayor Bloomberg was telling the press in the aftermath of the incident.

And what's with the alleged purpose of the event anyway? Since when has it been considered so important for U.S. administrations to have publicity photos of Air Force One flying over New York City landmarks?

Thanks for this.

See also:

Gates incensed about $ 300,000 NYC flyover
Obama aide responsible for NYC flyover gets the boot

BTW: The reaction from Gates is way overdue. I find that abnormal.

Mr. Caldera plans to spend more time...

scaring the shit out of his family.

Compare and Contrast

sure does contrast to the promotions that were doled out after the events of 9-11 to those officers and commanders who in charge of critical defenses on that day.

but then again, this guy who resigned was just small fry in a large pond.