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April 28th, 2009
11:29 AM ET

Apology not good enough for NY plane scare

By Frances Fragos Townsend
CNN Contributor

Editor's note: Frances Fragos Townsend, a CNN contributor on national security issues, served as President George W. Bush's chief anti-terrorism and homeland security adviser. Townsend has spent more than two decades in the fields of intelligence and criminal justice and has served during the past three administrations. Townsend is currently a consultant to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Aspen Institute Homeland Security Program.

Former Homeland Security Adviser Frances Townsend calls the NYC plane scare 'felony stupidity.'

Former Homeland Security Adviser Frances Townsend calls the NYC plane scare 'felony stupidity.'

Yesterday, a Boeing 747 that functions as Air Force One and two F16 fighter jets buzzed the skyscrapers of lower Manhattan on what was described as a combination photo shoot and training mission. The over flight created panic and confusion among New Yorkers for whom the memory of September 11, 2001 remains seared in their minds. Like many New Yorkers, I lost a friend in the attack on the World Trade Center and was outraged by the insensitivity on display yesterday. Louis Caldera, director of the White House Military Office acknowledged responsibility for the gross lack of judgment in his decision and he apologized. That is not good enough.

President Obama and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel were described to me as rightly shocked and furious when they learned about the over flight. It is my understanding that they are looking into how this outrageous error could have been made. While the White House has said that it shares blame with two midlevel New York officials who were notified in advance, this is a weak and specious defense. After all, if Mr. Caldera had not approved the over flight there would have been no need for a notification. Furthermore, if the White House Military Office needed a training mission and a photo of Air Force One over a national icon there were more appropriate choices...say the Grand Canyon or Mt. Rushmore!

As the Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor to President George W. Bush, I had a great deal of experience and interaction with the White House Military Office and have tremendous respect for the men and women who take seriously the important mission of that office. Most Americans do not realize that it is the White House Military Office working with the U.S. Secret Service that is responsible for the communications and movement of the president and his staff. They play an especially important role in the plans for the continuity of our constitutional form of government in a time of crisis. The Military Office staff practices the crisis plans and communications to ensure that the president is able to maintain his ability to communicate during a crisis with the U.S. military in his role as the commander in chief. Given the importance of these responsibilities, the director of the Military Office must have exemplary judgment, as well as the confidence of the president.

Mr. Caldera apparently has neither. Mr. Caldera’s misjudgment betrays the trust of those he is charged with leading at the White House Military Office, dishonors the president and perhaps most importantly dishonors the memory of those we lost on September 11 and those who still grieve. As a former Federal prosecutor in Manhattan, my colleagues and I used to say some conduct that is not a federal crime is what we called “felony stupidity.” Mr. Caldera is at a minimum guilty of “felony stupidity” and should not remain as the director of the White House Military Office where the president and the nation deserve and require professionalism.


Filed under: Commentary • White House
soundoff (297 Responses)
  1. LeBron

    This just goes to show the insensitivity most of America has toward the plight of New Yorkers. We do our best everyday to host the world at the highest of standards and this is what the federal government gives us. A horrifying reminder of the worst day of my fair city. I say FIRE the man who planned this, watching that plane fly over head returned me and my fellow Gothamites to memories we dare not seek to return to. Fire that man!!! He should be publicly punished by the Obama Administration and replaced immediately!!!

    April 28, 2009 at 12:44 pm |
  2. Jason

    So, why isn't BO getting the blame like any other president would have?

    April 28, 2009 at 12:43 pm |
  3. Debbie VT

    You people are the most insensitive bunch of self-righteous know-it-all's I have ever come across. Get over yourselves! Obviously you have never experienced an event such as 9-11 in such a way as to evoke enough compassion to put yourselves into the shoes of someone who would have been truly frightened. I may be a bleeding heart – but at least I bleed.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:43 pm |
  4. Suzie

    Who was not using their brains anyone with half a brain would have
    guessed this would scare people on the ground? Who's thinking
    back there in Washington? NOBODY? and why wasn't it advertized?

    April 28, 2009 at 12:43 pm |
  5. Another NY Resident

    Sheese. Get over it. A stupid mistake no doubt.
    Why must every media outlet keep flogging this thing to death?
    No longer news.

    Thanks

    April 28, 2009 at 12:43 pm |
  6. El man

    How much does it cost to fly a 747 and 2 F-16's for a picture? Photoshop anyone?

    April 28, 2009 at 12:42 pm |
  7. Amy

    Everyone said that the Bush admin never got over 9/11 and used it to scare people... well this is what happens when you forget 9/11. And you can't blame this on Bush. All those terrified people! How awful.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:42 pm |
  8. Bob

    Yes, another public relations nightmare for Obama. Our president is green but intelligent and a quick learner–unlike his predecessor. Mr. Caldera should resign or be demoted–he's lost respect and credibility and trust. This decision has wrong written all over it–the cost, the lack of communication, and the anxiety it brought upon so many people in New York City. Photo op for what? I'm still waiting to find out why it had to be done in the first place. It would have been a lot less expensive to hire a video editor and do some relatively easy Hollywood digital work. What about all the other brainless authorities that were notified–right on down the line to the pilots? None of them questioned this–they just followed orders? No one had the courage or common sense to speak up and suggest this might be a bad idea? Staggering. But don't blame the President. He's furious and heads should roll.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:42 pm |
  9. mikew

    It isn't that thousands of people were reminded of 9/11, but rather that thousands of people were understandably led to believe that they were being attacked, and that they had to take quick action to protect themselves. My daughter's kindergarten teacher lost her husband, and the father of one of my daughter's playmates was killed. New Yorkers are "getting over it" but they also don't want to be victims if, God forbid, it should happen again.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:42 pm |
  10. DerekB

    Not to mention the cost of it. It cost several grand just to power up a 747, add to that the joyride with a couple of F-16's and then create a panic in Manhattan and Jersey because no one knew what the hell was going on!!

    That plane hasn't change to the point of needing to spend I would guess 100k plus for that operation.

    Nice work.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:42 pm |
  11. Mike

    They told everybody that needed to know and still it is seen as an issue. Should the public have been told, yes they should have, but it's not like they just grabbed a plane and flew it around without anyone knowing it was coming. Let it go. Why are we always looking to take someones job away or throw stones and place blame on everything?

    April 28, 2009 at 12:42 pm |
  12. bernard olszowy

    Mr. Caldera's job certainly requires at a minimum, good planning,which must include unforeseen circumstances that a lesser person would miss.This instance goes way beyond a lesser person and falls into the "what was he thinking",or was he thinking,or did he delegate to a person of even lesser abilities.
    What ever the answer there is no second chance in this type of job,the person who needs a second chance to make this sort of decision should have been eliminated in the process of selecting a person to fit the position.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:42 pm |
  13. JC

    I think the government is lying about the purpose of the fly-by. This was not a mere "photo op" – the mission clearly had some other purpose. Anything those planes were doing could just as easily have been done in a different location. Obviously the planners knew in advance this would cause a disruption (no one is that stupid), but they chose NYC for a partcular reason despite knowing it would cause an alarm.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:41 pm |
  14. Sperry

    The White House informed the City of New York about the planned flyover. The city officials in New York CHOSE to not inform anyone else, including the Mayor.

    Don't blame the White House because of New York's lousy intergovernmental communications.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:41 pm |
  15. Pat

    Unfortunately, most of these comments talk about two clowns who ran or is running our government. This tells me that there is no party that can run this government the way it should be run.

    As far as the fly by, being from upstate NY, that was the most insensitive, idiotic, pointless manuever anyone could have made. The people that lived through 9/11 should be terrified of any low flying planes near the city of Manhattan. Why the hell are they looking for publicity photos at this time for? I think they ought to get their heads out of their butts and start working on securing our borders from terrorist and illegal aliens. That will make them popular, not some stupid photo of "Air Force One" flying over the Statue of Liberty! Maybe focus on the economy or our soldiers fighting for our freedom.

    What we need is a leader for this country, not an infomercial star! Cut the crap and get busy working to make this country better, powerful, independent again, like we used to be.

    Ok, I'm off my soap box for now!

    April 28, 2009 at 12:41 pm |
  16. aj.lockwood

    It's easy to be smug and self-righteous about this incident and demand someone's head. It's even easier to say stupid things likea green politician picking an unqualified buddy and that the unanamed "they" will probably blame Bush. Caldera certainly has more qualifications that most of you who make such charges: This guy had been secretary of the Army, an assemblyman, a college president, and a captain in the Army. It's not like he is the discredited former head commissioner of a horsebreeders association. It was a stupid mistake. No one died. A stern speaking to is what is called for. Not a career execution no matter how good that would feel to so many.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:41 pm |
  17. Rob

    And its easy to say "relax" when you live in Franktown Alabama with a population of 216 people.

    NYC is a target for terrorism.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:41 pm |
  18. Deborah C

    Let's pretend that the current occupants of the White House were insensitive enough to fly a 747 right over ground zero and let's look at the bigger picture here. I find it offensive that this country is suffering financially and the white house has decided to frivolously spend money on this. Obama is the grandest Barnum & Bailey ringmaster ever to inhabit his position. The only work that Obama has done that I am aware of is work on his image. I knew we did not need another unqualified president. Didn't we learn our lesson electing the last one? How is replacing one inexperienced president with another one, going to help us get on our feet? History has shown that most communist governments fail in the long run, so why did we elect a prez whose favorite professors taught Marxism?

    April 28, 2009 at 12:41 pm |
  19. Barbara

    Hello??? Has no one in government ever heard of PHOTOSHOP??
    Get your Statue of Liberty and your plane photos and hand them over to an Photoshop expert like ME who can make a composite that is BETTER than any live photo op you can shoot!! Also using Photoshop doesn't scare the s__t out of anyone thinking it's 9/11 all over again!

    April 28, 2009 at 12:41 pm |
  20. Harry

    I'd like to know why a photo op mission for Air Force 1 over NY is classified. The photo op itself was not "felony stupidity" but the decision to classify instead of publicize it most certainly was. If something as benign as a flyby is classified what other events totally unrelated to national security are classified? When it comes to the control of information that should be public our national government acts more like China and the Middle East than the government envisioned by those who founded this country.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:40 pm |
  21. Linda

    We need to get rid of every politician we have presently in our federal government and start over, as evidently they are working for themselves and not the American public. What a bunch of idiots. With all the thousands of pictures that have been taken so far, why was this necessary? Also with all the travelling that BO has done since taking office, has anyone figured out what flying Airforce One and its backup adds up to? How come we all have to pinch pennies to make ends meet and then have to watch this huge waste of our taxdollars. It is time that we take back this country and elect politicians with some brains and back bones and who will put the American Public first.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:40 pm |
  22. JW

    Someone should tell them about Adobe Photoshop and similar programs. They don't need to do a $10k flyover when they can use a freaking photo editing program and get the same effect. Frankly, if I see this lovely picture all it's going to make me think of is my hard earned tax dollars funded this crap I don't approve of now while the rest of the country is buckled down. I can't believe not even one person, any of the pilots, anyone, didn't go, hmmm – think we should really do this?

    April 28, 2009 at 12:40 pm |
  23. Matt

    Oh Ma Gah... this rivals GOP stupidity.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:40 pm |
  24. Dan Schultz

    Sorry if I missed this in the article but...

    If an apology isn't good enough, what is? What more can be done? People were scared, it was incredibly poor judgement, but did anyone die? Did we lose infrastructure? Was ANYTHING done that will be remembered a week from now? Personally, this seems like exactly the sort of situation where an apology IS enough.

    All I'm saying is that if you are going to say that a genuine apology isn't enough, make clear what WOULD be enough.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:39 pm |
  25. Mark

    Wow!..is everybody who post response to this article just idiots? Low flying 747 plane accommodated by F16 over Manhattan?!?!?! This is outrageous and your telling New Yorkers to get over it? 9/11 was a historic tragedy. Are we going to become complacent and say oh that was 9 years ago (I couldn't tell if that post by Frank was serious or a joke) New Yorkers who lived through that day have been traumatized and this "photo op" was definitely insensitive and moronic.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:38 pm |
  26. Dovi

    Congratulations to Prez Obama so far! Impressive!!! However, some agencies, like the FAA, do not get it! This agency has always neglected the well-being of the communities affected by its operations, focusing instead on what works best for aircrafts and their owners whether they are individuals, corporations or government. Case in point: the decision to allow the presidential jet to fly over New York shows that this agency is clueless about the impact low-altitude fly- overs have on the general population. It probably does not even care. All that matters for the FAA is that a plane must get up in the air and come down without anyone bothering it! If it bothers others, so be it! As long as the aggrieved community does not know whom to blame or complain to, the FAA is happy. This myopia is infuriating to many communities across the country and it is especially unnerving to New Yorkers for reasons that only the FAA seems to ignore.

    FAA appears to stand for: Fools & Aircrafts Administration. Please drag this bumbling agency into the 21st century!

    April 28, 2009 at 12:38 pm |
  27. shawn

    This isn't a political issue and I doubt George Soros had anything to do with it any more than Mickey Mouse did. The person responsible is Mr. Caldera and he needs to be fired. Aimlessly rambling and foaming at the mouth about George Soros misses the point. This guy did somethign really stupid and he needs to be canned. Likely others need to go with him. As far as I can tell stupidity is obviously not a partisan commodity any more than intelligence is and this is not a "partisan" issue. Its a stupid issue born from one guy. I have faith Obama will do what needs to be done to rectify it. Far more faith in fact than I had in "Good job Brownie", Bushy Boy.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:38 pm |
  28. NYer

    I'm sure this is Bush's fault somehow. It must be!!!!

    April 28, 2009 at 12:38 pm |
  29. Mike Peterson

    What the heck do we need new pictures of air force one for anyway? Can't we make em up on a pc if we want them that badly? Duh!!!!!!!!

    April 28, 2009 at 12:38 pm |
  30. JimFrost

    The 9/11 Commission, like so many other commissions before it, strongly recommended increased interagency communication. The agencies involved, like so many involved after each report, strongly ignore the recommendation. Just a ridiculous situation.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:37 pm |
  31. notSteve

    All the insensitive comments about hoe New Yorkers should "Get Over It" are typical of Americans. If it does not effect us directly we do not care. Hey all of you who fought in World War II, "Get over it." If a drunk driver killed your mother "Get Over It!" If anything horrible ever happened to you, "Get Over It" please... for other people's sake. You are obviously bothering all the left wing losers on this site. They don't want to hear you blame an unqualified president for an absurd decision some unqualified person in his administration made...It's New Yorker's faults for not getting over it! Wow, why don't all of you people come to NYC and say what you type to people's faces...we will see who is tougher.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:37 pm |
  32. Gary Luxenberg

    Mr Caldera needs to be fired immediately. Anything short of that is an insult to all Americans especially the victims of 9-11!

    April 28, 2009 at 12:37 pm |
  33. bryan L

    What I don't understand is why didn't they just sit down and use Photoshop to create these photos....the way everyone else in the media world does.

    Can you imagine the amount of taxpayer money wasted to get fighter jets and jetliner aloft for this? This is like Howard Hughes staging his film "The Aviator" with real biplanes and cameras on the wings. Buncha nuts...

    April 28, 2009 at 12:37 pm |
  34. Moses

    You've got to be kidding me! With all my sympathy to New Yorkers I cannot believe that most people did not recognize the Plane, It's colors or it's escort aircraft. Just another reason for some to claim some kind of mental distress and then consider a law suit! Why don't we go and send out a report to the world letting them know when and where this aircraft is going next. It was obvious that New York was picked for a good reason to have this aircraft photographed over that beautiful skyline. Maybe next time when the air force has the photos printed up it'll read "Air Force One over beautiful Butte, Montana. Give me a break. Pull your heads out and think about why this magnificent aircraft was over New York to begin with.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:37 pm |
  35. TOM LAPORTA

    To ian:

    Guess you're not from NY. I am and lost several friends on 9/11. I was witness to it.
    The problem with people like you is to forget about what has happened. Thats the problem forget about what has happened put down our guard, and let it happen again.

    As we say here in NY "NEVER FORGET"

    April 28, 2009 at 12:36 pm |
  36. Rob

    After 8 years of having "stay alert and say something if you see it" pounded into our minds in NYC, it's kind of strange hearing people say "get over it, its just a low flying plane".

    So next time lets all just ignore the low flying 747 circling over Manhattan and go on with our daily lives..until it slams into a building...full of people who should have evacuated.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:35 pm |
  37. Steve

    I'm a political agnostic who is neither pro nor anti-Obama, but this flyby was just stupid.

    A) Sending a jet into lower Manhattan post-9/11 is just asking to panic people and further disrupt the local economy through building evacuations (perfectly reasonable response post-9/11)

    B) Talk about a waste of taxpayer money during a time of budget pressure!! Hello? White house?? Ever hear of Photoshop??? Why no, it must be a better idea to fly a 747 with fighter escort up from Maryland! I see enough of those military aircraft shows on TV to know that the cost of flying a fighter jet is $3000 or $5000 an hour or something like that, much less the cost of flying a 747 around!! I guess the Obama administration is going to argue that expenditure is part of the stimulus package?

    C) And isn't this administration all about reducing pollution? How much CO2 and other pollutants went into the atmosphere so the administration could have a new Air Force 1 glamour shot? What was wrong with the old glamour shot? Very "green" Mr. President!!

    What idiot thought this was a good idea, in keeping with the so-called values of this administration?

    April 28, 2009 at 12:34 pm |
  38. Pamela Riordasn

    Imagine how the citizens of Iraq feel everyday. Can you imagine how they felt with the bombing day after day! This can give you us frame of reference.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:34 pm |
  39. Suber

    To the people who say "it was a mistake; he apologized - get over it." Fortunately, this time we are able to move on from this moronic stunt. What about the next time? This is all about judgement - or the lack of it. I wonder if you can say "it was a mistake; he apologized - get over it" if because of poor judgement you have to bury your husband, wife, children, parents because of "just a mistake". This comes down to something very simple people - judgement.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:33 pm |
  40. DerekB

    What is Caldera's background other than being a minority to fill this position. The fellow who cuts my grass would have had better judgement than this. This is inexcusable and God forbid he has to approve something really significant that comes across his desk. God help us!

    April 28, 2009 at 12:33 pm |
  41. Bob

    Just another example of how the current administration shows a complete lack of caring for the American People. Can you spell Impeachment!

    April 28, 2009 at 12:33 pm |
  42. Mike

    You know, New York, it is time for you to recognize that you are NOT the center of the USA, nor for that matter, the world!! Where I live, Air Force planes fly over my city 4 to 8 times a day. No one here makes a big deal about it. And that Bush toady who calls herself a representative of homeland security needs to get a new life.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:33 pm |
  43. Andrew

    I'm surprised "pointofview" or any of these other "Obama Haters" haven't blamed the swine flu outbreak on Obama yet.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:33 pm |
  44. Kevin

    Frank: You are my hero.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:33 pm |
  45. jeanee

    Who cares? What's the big deal?

    Obama didn't even know about it....so get off his case !

    Sure – it wasn't the best area to do that- but people "OVER-REACTED !

    If Bush pulled that stunt – he would have faced the same critisim...and at least Obama is sober.....unlike his predecessor..

    PS How do you think Bush knew about 9/11 BEFORE it even happened?

    Geee- let me think.......

    April 28, 2009 at 12:33 pm |
  46. Jonathan McDowell

    What an overreaction... yes, I can see that some NYers would be a bit perturbed to see the low flying plane, so the lack of public notification was a goof, but really, people all over the world have suffered traumas and move past them – seems a pretty minor incident; agree with the poster who said NYers need to get a spine.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:32 pm |
  47. Simon

    Grow up people. If this upsets you, you are being childish. So much racism and mindless hatred directed to someone who is actually helping the country for once. There doesn't seem to be any way to reason with you. Feel free to keep spewing your moronic faux outrage, but I'm almost at my limit for putting up with you people.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:31 pm |
  48. chas

    Caldera was Hillary's crony. Barack appointed him for her. Thank god she didn't become president or we would have more of her idiotic people appointed to other positions.

    Caldera should been fired.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:31 pm |
  49. Matt

    The outrage over this harmless incident is ridiculous. I live in Manhattan, so I know from low-flying planes. But come on, people - the photo op was a perfectly legitimate purpose for a plane to be flying over Manhattan, and not all planes visible from the island are terrorists. The people who are acting outraged by this are really just a bunch of angry cowards and if a couple of planes is enough to get these people riled up, then I dare say that our economy is either improving rapidly or was never all that bad to begin with.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:31 pm |
  50. BrandonM

    Frankly people need to suck it up. manhattan is not protected Airspace and whether you are traumatized by 9/11 or not, you live in a big city full of all modes of transportation. You want to be a undisturbed little bunny, go live in the country.

    We dont need the government to be hyper sensitivity to your fears, we need you to turn down your "fear" dial and react when something has happened. If you saw a plane flying low, you couldnt have done anything about it even if it WAS a terror attack, so why be so angry.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:31 pm |
  51. dave

    Those responsible could have photoshopped the plane next to the statue of liberty and saved the taxpayer a whole lot of money and spared people the concern.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:30 pm |
  52. Toby

    An example of how reporters attempt to make something from nothing.

    No one was hurt. It's over. Get over it. Move on.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:30 pm |
  53. sara

    If you are going to blame anyone for this incident, you need to blame the states of New York and New Jersey. They knew that it was going to occur and they did not get the word out to their states.

    However,

    Seriously, It is OVER!!! Quit whining!!!

    April 28, 2009 at 12:30 pm |
  54. Ed

    An event like this from the US government is unacceptable given the sensitivity of the issue. They could have used a different site or even better hire a photoshop professional who could create the picture they wanted.

    Also, from the economy perspective, how can they waste american tax dollars to fuel planes for these type of activites.

    Apology is not enough. Someone's job in the goverment should pay for this horrific mistake. It should be set as an example for many other stupidities the us gov. can make.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:30 pm |
  55. Brooklyn

    The best part was that the Whitehouse thought that NYers were not good enough to know what was going on. Why tell the public? They are not worthy.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:29 pm |
  56. me

    aside from lack of communication and respect to those affected by 911, is anyone concerned at all about the cost that went into this? Our economic troubles are far from over yet our government is spending god knows how much money for a photo op that could have easily been photo shopped? Somehow I'm not surprised...

    April 28, 2009 at 12:29 pm |
  57. Kai Williams

    NYC gets buzzed by low-flying planes EVERY MINUTE OF EVERY DAY. The City has TWO airports in it and one just across the river. Why such a fuss over this event?

    More reich-wing nonsense.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:29 pm |
  58. kathybarthway

    Pretty rich coming from the Bush White House that used color-coded "Terror Alerts" for its own political manipulation of the public.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:29 pm |
  59. Andrew

    Uh ohhh! One of the "Obama haters" (the approximately 1/4 of the US population) is twisting in the wind again. Someone makes a stupid mistake, and "pointofview" quickly points it at Obama. So typical! Go cry about it to Hannity!

    April 28, 2009 at 12:29 pm |
  60. Larry J

    Stupid, yes, and if I were in charge I'd probably fire Caldera for what I agree is "felony stupidity". The stupidity comes from a bureaucrat who should have known better, and ought to be appropriately disciplined by his boss (and some screw ups are big enough that the only appropriate discipline is discharge - this might rise to that level, I'm not sure).

    But c'mon, blaming the president for it?

    The argument would be more credible if Ms. Townsend weren't a W throwback apparently looking to create a niche for herself as an "expert".

    The difference here seems to be that under President Obama, word of the incident comes out - under the dark lords of the prior administration, it would have been denied, then covered up.

    It was stupid. The man at the top, who didn't know it was going to happen, apologized. How about if the fearmongers curb their righteous indignation, at least for a bit?

    Let's take our reality pills and go back to dealing with real issues, rather than continuing to look for ways to try and get even over losing the election.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:28 pm |
  61. fred

    "New Yorkers need to get a spine. What? Are you going to panic every time you see a low-flying plane?"

    Are you serious? You have some nerve to come out with a comment like that...Shame on you...

    April 28, 2009 at 12:28 pm |
  62. dlk

    First, An incredibly stupid move and even more stupid judgement by Louis Caldera. He should be fired for this ridiculous decision. Secondly, let's not take this out of context.......By the way,

    "pointofview" Prez "W" did plenty of stupid things when he was at the helm and allot of those stupid decisions were in his second term.
    This president has been in office for just over 100 days. Get a grip!

    April 28, 2009 at 12:27 pm |
  63. John

    To Chris P.

    NY and NJ were notified, but were told by DoD that they were not allowed to tell the public and that they must keep it confidential. So they did not "fail to get the word out" they were barred by law from getting the word out.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:27 pm |
  64. Steve

    Once again, BO gets away with truly idiotic things.

    Seriously, if this was Bush, the country would be calling for an impeachment. But becuase it's BO, everyone says "oh dear, that's a little insensitive to New Yorkers" and because he says it will "never happen again", every joins hands again and starts singing Kum-Ba-Ya.

    This is absolutely asinine that there is a double standard when it comes to the things BO does and the things BO says. Is it because he's the first black President? Is it because the country is in the mood to forgive him because he is not Bush?

    He's still the leader of our country, and when someone in his staff does stupid stuff like this, HE should be held accountable for it, along with his staff person. When they do idiotic things like this, it's not like we are the only ones in the world that see it. I can imagine the brits over in England getting a good chuckle out of this for the irony. I can also imagine Al Qaeda getting a good idea from this. "Paint your plane up like Air Force One and have another go"

    America needs to stop coddling BO and start holding him accountable for the mistakes he is making.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:26 pm |
  65. Michael Geiser

    Agology **is** good enough

    Yes, this was stupid. To elevate this to an affront to the nation and NYC is even more stupid.

    I am more than alittle tired of the term "liberal media coverup" or people (like pointofview and everyone at Fox News) taking everything Obama or Bush does/did and try to spin it like it is the end of the world or political scapegoats.

    Sure, the fly over should have been better publized. Was this a "felony"? C'mon...you're full of doodoo. BTW: The 75% of people that approve (or do not disapprove) of the president will recognize the overhyped adjectives and lower their opinion of the reporter. As for the 25% that already disapprove – you're preaching to the chior.

    With better PR, this would have been a great "the terrorists can't win" moment. We need "leesons learned" on this, not a scapegoat

    April 28, 2009 at 12:26 pm |
  66. S. Cannon

    This is horribly insensitive to say the least and greatly moronic. Tax cheats, the Speaker who can't seem to remember important matters, the head of the DHS hurling insults at American veterans who honorably serve the country they love, and now this??!! What in the world is this administration smoking? I can't even conceive of thinking about doing this in New York City much less ACTUALLY doing it! I really appreciated White House press secretary Mr. Gibbs effectively infoming of us the reasoning. Uh, uum, uh, I didn't know, I was working on other things, ask the military. Are you kidding me??!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 28, 2009 at 12:26 pm |
  67. jag

    We need better talking heads. This Frances Townsend is to enamored of herself. She's basically told us all that she's got more of a right to an opinion and "outrage" because "she lost a friend" in the attack on 9/11, That we should believe her because she was an advisor for Bush, and that she was a former federal prosecutor, so we get her "smart joke". Doesn't really add a lot to the discussion.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:26 pm |
  68. Rob

    What is happening to the office of the President. Once highly respected by most citizens of the U.S., is now in totally disarray with no solid direction, and worse yet, no one in charge. This is another display of no experience, and total wreckless abandonmant. How on God's green earth can this happen without the President knowing about it. I can not imagine, the fear that was sent into the minds of the New Yorker's that experienced this. God Bless them, and may God help our administration.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:25 pm |
  69. Bob Hanks

    This is unforgivable. I will never trust Obama's judgment again. He is regularly informed of these types of events and he has now lost my support. The governments of New Jersey and New York? What a joke if you think they would get the word out...

    April 28, 2009 at 12:24 pm |
  70. Dave OH

    Geesh!! NY get over it. Anything that happens in NY, (good or bad) always ends having 9/11 put in with it. How much longer do you intend to milk this simpathy?

    April 28, 2009 at 12:24 pm |
  71. TOM LAPORTA

    Not only was this yet another bonehead move, but hasn't Mr. Obama said that Gov't has to stop spending. How much did this flyover PHOTO-OP cost the tax payers?

    April 28, 2009 at 12:24 pm |
  72. Steve Mills

    To the author: I disagree, an apology IS good enough. This is, so far, an isolated incident. Now, a body of poor decisions demands, at least, the question of a change in leadership; but otherwise, let he who is without sin, etc. As for better choices for photo ops, is the Statue of Liberty no longer an American icon? Still a poor decision, but it is not an inappropriate choice. Just a bad way of handling the situation, I agree.

    To pointofview: Do yourself a favor, unplug Fox News, stop listening to Rush Limbaugh, and relax. We have not endured an avalanche of "cluster freaks" that the media is ignoring. You cons have been out of power for what, two months? You act like you have been living under a jackboot your whole lives. Obama has handled, so far, the problems he has either brought on himself or that have arose with more candor than many of his predecessors might have. The problem, as I see it, is that the conservative pundits have an agenda; the same agenda they blasted liberal pundits for having! If you really want "fair & balanced" reporting, do yourself a favor, and avoid the muckraking and fear-mongering of the neo-con set.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:24 pm |
  73. Dee

    What's next? The White House Military Office staging a video shoot of weapons training on the grounds of Columbine High School? To this day New Yorkers' hearts skip a beat whenever they see a low flying plane in the sky. The person who gave this project a green light should removed from their post.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:24 pm |
  74. lori D. Hudson Ohio

    "the sky is falling....the sky is falling"......

    You people fall for all these republican tricks ! Everyone was warned ahead of time and nothing happened ! So what..a plane flew overhead- whoopie do?

    Get over it people....the repubs are "at it again" ...instilling fear and getting everyone all upset over nothing....

    This is nothing but propaganda to get the stupid repubs back in office next term. All these tricks won't work on Democarats- we're too intelligent...all the people running were brain washed republicans.

    Americans are sooo stupid.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:23 pm |
  75. Baseline

    I have a very difficult time caring beyond the point of immediate empathy for those suffering from PTSD, post-9/11. What I mean is, while it stinks to be reminded of a traumatic experience, it happens all the time, all over the world. Americans act like coddled children when faced with hardship. "perseverance" used to be America's mantra; now it's "litigation and therapy." Anyone wishing to prolong the discussion, seek retribution, or call for heads as "punishment" is simply looking for a podium to extend their 15 minutes of fame... that includes Francis Townsend or any other self-identified "experts" that infest the mainstream media with their boring, out-dated, and dogmatic opinions. Your discourse is a disservice.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:23 pm |
  76. paul

    Apology "not good enough"?

    OK, so what then? Should everyone who saw the plane get 5 bucks?

    April 28, 2009 at 12:22 pm |
  77. dallas57

    Could not agree more with pointofview. This was absolute stupidity. Has anyone asked how much this fiasco has cost the American public? Who cares if "it's in the budget." The government needs to be a little more prudent with our dollars in the current economic situation. Did they not think?

    Why do we need photo ops of Air Force One – so our world enemies know what to look for in the sky?

    April 28, 2009 at 12:22 pm |
  78. Frank

    Barack is great! I love him. I voted for him. Don't blame him. He's only human. He likes to put people that he knows and trusts. Who cares if they don't have any experience. New Yorkers, get over it! It's been almost 9 years ago that 9/11 happened. Geez, talking about living in the past!

    Break down that wall, you racist! Let's spread the wealth. I am tired of being poor and welfare pays so little.

    It's not Obama's fault that he is inexperienced, never held a real job, never managed anything except his political career. STOP PICKING ON MY FAVORITE PRESIDENT!!! GO Obama in 2012!!!

    April 28, 2009 at 12:22 pm |
  79. Deb

    Let's just pile the blame on Obama for this one – along with everything else. Get real – this decision was made by the Department of Defense – and they advised only a small number of people – obviously the wrong people.

    I certainly hope the President and his "unqualified buddies" who help him run the WH are managing more important matters.

    We should all be praying that President Obama's next "terriby managed mishap" is not along the lines of WMD's in Iraq.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:22 pm |
  80. Barney

    The WH is going green after all........ behind the ears.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:21 pm |
  81. Brian L

    Gross incompetence. Caldera cannot be allowed to resign; he must be fired.

    To those who want to dump on Pres. Obama over this: Get over yourselves. Caldera screwed up and he should (metaphorically) swing for it, but this has nothing to do with the POTUS.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:21 pm |
  82. Mike

    Why is the government wasting our money taking pictures of Air Force One? Oh yeah, I bet it was in the Stimulus Bill. I don't think that's what the people of NY and NJ had in mind when they voted for the "Stimulus".

    April 28, 2009 at 12:20 pm |
  83. Gobi

    I agree it was pretty thoughtless to fly the plane so low. I do care for those whose lives were changed forever by 9/11 but the fact is there are going to be low flying planes and the victims and loved ones will be anxious but that's part of the damage done on that fateful day.
    9/11 is a great tragedy that will live on in those whose lives were damaged that day.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:19 pm |
  84. Geez

    Whoa! Pointofview, you're off point and off base. While also not relevant to the article, I will point out that most of your comments can be applied, with historical proof, to the last Bush administration. Try that perspective on the first sentence in the second paragraph. Good job, Brownie! Sheesh.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:19 pm |
  85. FD

    Who cares??? With all the stuff going on in the world – the Repukes come out like a tail wagging the dog. Makes us really impressed with their command of the issues and all of the solutions they have to offer. Get over it FORMER whatever-you-thought-you-were! Move on. And get off of my CNN screen!

    April 28, 2009 at 12:18 pm |
  86. Alex

    Pointofview seems to think only "BO" is susceptible to "cluster freaks". Where was he/she over the past 8 years?

    April 28, 2009 at 12:18 pm |
  87. Noah Green

    Hey "pointofview", re your statement concerning "a terribly green politician who picks unqualified buddies to help him run the WH," I have six words:

    "You're doing a heckuva job, Brownie."

    Case closed.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:18 pm |
  88. Chris Pawloski

    To add to above: upon reviewing her biography, another question arises, what on earth qualified Frances Fragos Townsend to be the Assistant Commandant of the Coast Guard for Intelligence? Answer: Nothing substantive. If anything should be investigated, it is the process that got her that post.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:18 pm |
  89. Ian

    "Apology not good enough for NY plane scare"

    Get over it . It happened. Quit being so dramatic. No one has a single bump or bruise from the event.

    The video actually gave me a good laugh, watchin ga bunch of you annoying New Yorkers run like that . He he ,

    Ian

    April 28, 2009 at 12:17 pm |
  90. chip woods

    In this time of fiscal challenge for Americans and for our Nation, Why are we wasting fuel pilots and time to take a patriotic photo of Air Force one.... surely there are ample photos already ... any child in a computer can superimpose one picture over another. why didnt they use a stock photo and superimpose it on whatever they wanted... great wall of china , antarctica, the kremlin...etc

    it would have taked approx 30 mins and $20.... I believe its a 500.0 bill when we fly air force one....

    does anyone do the math on these things?

    April 28, 2009 at 12:17 pm |
  91. Merv

    If this happened last year, Scooter Libby would've been blamed.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:17 pm |
  92. Mary Ann

    People who say it was simply a mistake could not have felt the impact of 9/11. They are certainly not new yorkers. Heads should roll for this terrible mistake.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:16 pm |
  93. Rich

    To: pointofview

    Could you please compare "a terribly green politician who picks unqualified buddies to help him run the WH" to "W" who picked unqualified loyalists to run the entire government?

    April 28, 2009 at 12:15 pm |
  94. SteveT

    Get over it! Sure it was unfortunate, but now, its over and it was a stupid mistake. The President will deal with the decision makers! As for the commentators "Apology not good enough" statement, please, what does she expect, monetary compensation? Apology is good enough...PERIOD

    April 28, 2009 at 12:15 pm |
  95. Jo

    This would really be a non-story if the media left it alone. Nothing happened, it was a photo-op. While I agree that it was insensitive to New Yorkers, bottom line is nothing happened and it has been explained and apologies offered. People need to move on and stop trying to make a mountain out of a mole hill.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:15 pm |
  96. Chris Pawloski

    Question: What exactly qualified this individual to be a 'homeland security advisor'? The CNN biographical information is sparse and doesn't support her 'expertise'.

    Bottom line: both the NY and NJ state governments were informed about this and failed to get the word out. Their incompetence resulted in the panic seen on You Tube. Further discussion is unecessary.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:13 pm |
  97. JakeD

    Over 1 million "self-evacuated" in NYC and New Jersey. I'm shocked there were no serious injuries from that.

    April 28, 2009 at 12:13 pm |
  98. Steve

    New Yorkers need to get a spine. What? Are you going to panic every time you see a low-flying plane?

    April 28, 2009 at 12:13 pm |
  99. LISA LINDSEY

    In this day and age I can not believe anyone could be that stupid and irresponsible to pull a stunt like that over NYC. Haven't these people suffered enough? If Washington wants to update their photos of Air Force One then do it over DC. Better yet...take photos out west. Area 51 sounds about right!

    April 28, 2009 at 12:13 pm |
  100. pointofview

    if this had been anyone other than BO, Soros would have already chartered buses to the white house for some sort of protest. But being this is BO someone else is at fault and BO will kick someone's butt about this. Well, until the next terribly managed mishap occurs forcing the almighty BO to put out another PR nightmare.

    This all comes down to a terribly green politician who picks unqualified buddies to help him run the WH. How many cluster freaks have we indured over the last 100 day and the media simply neglects. Unless they can find a "memo" somewhere that GWB authorized this flyover. I am sure this can be dug up somewhere.

    April 28, 2009 at 11:39 am |
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