President Photo-op’s Backup Plane Freaks Out Manhattan

Looks like a terrifying day in New York City, even by their standards

Updated, 11:59 a.m. | 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. But a lack of awareness about the flyover led to the evacuation of several buildings in Lower Manhattan and Jersey City, 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.

Jim Peters, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said “the photo op was approved and coordinated with everyone.” Notification was made in advance to the mayor’s office, “including its 911 and 311 operation centers,” the New York City Police Department, the New Jersey State Police, the United States Park Police and other agencies, he said.

There was only one problem for the flyby from President Pantywaist’s backup plan

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.

And what happened when President Photo-op allowed his plane to buzz Manhattan?

Unaware of the planned exercise, scores of office workers flooded out of buildings, worried about the prospect of terrorism.

“People came pouring out of the buildings, the American Express Building, all the buildings in the financial district by the water,” said Edward Acker, a photographer who was at the building, 3 World Financial Center. “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.”

Pandemonium and terror. The markets started dropping a bit right about the time the jets passed. Whether that was coincidence, no one knows. But, read the rest of the story. And imagine if this had happened while Bush was in the White House, or had McCain won. Actually, you can’t imagine it, because there is no way that they would have allowed this to occur in the first place.

Just remember, the buck stops with Obama.

Right Pundits: BTW, I guarantee you half of New York will file a class action lawsuit against the government claiming that they suffered severe emotional distress from the incident

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