Louis Caldera, the director of the White House military office who sent Air Force One and the fighter jet on an "aerial photo mission," got slammed by an angry President Obama.("Souvenir pictures" -- for big-shot Democratic Party contributors, I'm sure.)
"I approved a mission over New York," Caldera said in a hastily prepared statement. "I apologize and take responsibility for any distress that flight caused." . . .
Sources said the chief reason for the panic-inducing flight was to create souvenir pictures of Air Force One flying over the Statue of Liberty to be given out - like a presidential tie clip - to family, friends or supporters. . . .
Caldera did not state a reason for the "mission" in his apology, but he insisted that "federal authorities took the proper steps to notify state and local authorities in New York and New Jersey." . . .It seems to have been conceded that the stunt was conceived for political P.R. purposes. Happy Hundred Days, morons.
[NYC Mayor Michael] Bloomberg said he found out that his city was being buzzed by planes when his BlackBerry began buzzing with complaints.
"I'm annoyed - furious is a better word - that I wasn't told," the mayor said. "If I had known about it, I would have called them right away and asked them not to." . . .
[T]housands of terrified people evacuated from buildings in the city and across the river in New Jersey.
"I was crying and praying to God to forgive me my sins because I thought I was going to get killed," said Kathleen Filandro, who fled from 1New York Plaza when she spotted the planes.
"It's like someone coming up to you, sticking a gun to your head for 15 seconds, walking away and hearing 20 minutes later it was an undercover cop posing for a photo," said Wall Street worker Bill Privett.
"I am still shaking," he said.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs appeared taken aback as reporters peppered him with questions about the incident.
"I have no information beyond what I saw" on news reports, Gibbs said at his afternoon press conference.
A short time later, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel tracked down Caldera and "relayed the President's displeasure," sources said.
"The President was furious," a White House insider said.
UPDATE: Michelle Malkin:
Seems to me that a little thing called "Photoshop" could have saved a ton of fuel, not to mention spared a few nerves.If the Bush administration had done this to Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Shep Smith would have denounced it as torture.
UPDATE II: Linked at RCP Best of the Blogs. Please check out my reaction to the UAW/"Geithner Motors" swindle.
UPDATE III: "Hey maybe the Prez will want to do a photo op with a rental truck in OKC next?" Ouch. Also, I'm not the only one who sees the "torture" analogy.