Photo Op Panic: 911 Calls Reveal Terror during NYC Air Force One Flyover

At a Tuesday photo op with FBI Director Robert Mueller, President Obama said, "It was a mistake, as was stated. It was something we found out about along with all of you. And it will not happen again." The President did not answer a follow-up question on whether or not Caldera is the right man for the job.

Later, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that President Obama ordered that Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina conduct an internal review, which will take a couple of weeks to complete.

"The President will look at that review and take any appropriate steps after that," Gibbs said.

Click here to watch Bloomberg and Gibbs speak about the flyover.

During a press briefing Tuesday, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said the photo op over New York was a "mistake" and a "mishandled, misguided mission." He said Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was unaware of "this flying photo-op, but once he found out, suffice it to say, he was surprised and not very pleased."

Morrell did say that others in the building did know about the photo shoot in advance and the preference would have been for one of them to "raise their hand and say this is not a good idea…Unfortunately, that did not happen."

Morrell said the White House Military Office was behind this photo-op and punted questions to the White House about the rationale behind it. The flight, he said, "was first and foremost a training mission and that they decided to take advantage of it by conducting these photos simultaneously." He had no information on the cost of the mission.

Officials Say System Broke Down

Although the shoot was authorized, the normal system of public notification broke down, multiple officials said.

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 wanted "to calm down."

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

A New York City employee was disciplined for failing to pass on the FAA fly over information when it arrived on the employee's desk at City Hall.

According to city officials the employee was "reprimanded" and a "letter was placed in his file."

No information was immediately available on what if any discipline was meted out at the NYPD, where a second FAA notice was received last Thursday.

Eyewitness Accounts

Witnesses told that they were "shocked" and "running scared" when the planes flew overhead.

Elena Zaccario, who works at an office building near Battery Park, said she was too startled to grab her camera until the planes' third fly-by.

"Needless to say, everyone was concerned and upset about not being notified like in previous 'military fly-overs,"" she said. "Other offices on other floors fled the building in panic. Not acceptable!"

Back Up Presidential Plane

According to officials, the flight -- authorized by the FAA -- came in as low as 1000 feet to 150 feet above the city as it made a large circle over Manhattan, Staten Island, and New Jersey. The plane used was the back-up presidential plane.

Self-evacuations of buildings in lower Manhattan and New Jersey, including the New York Mercantile Exchange, took place during the fly over.

According to multiple agencies, they were notified of the flyover last week, however the general public was not notified.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...