Wire: Feds Knew NYC Flyover Would Cause Panic
Off the Wire:
WASHINGTON, April 28, 2009 -- Newswires reported late Tuesday that federal officials knew that sending two fighter jets and Air Force One to buzz ground zero and the Statue of Liberty may set off nightmarish fears of a 9/11 replay, but they still ordered the photo-op kept secret from the public.
In a memo obtained by New York City's WCBS-TV, the Federal Aviation Administration's James Johnston said the agency was aware of "the possibility of public concern regarding DoD aircraft flying at low altitudes" in an around New York City. But they demanded total secrecy from the NYPD, the Secret Service, the FBI and even the mayor's office and threatened federal sanctions if the secret got out.
It is unclear who ordered the FAA, a regulatory agency controlled directly by President Barack Obama's administration, to demand secrecy about the photo-op flight.
The flyover was apparently ordered by the White House Office of Military Affairs so it would have souvenir photos of Air Force One with the Statue of Liberty in the background.
WCBS-TV reported that the cost of the photo-op flight was about $60,000 an hour and that was just for the Air Force One 747. The figure doesn't include the cost of the two F-16s that accompanied the President's jet.
Bloomberg.com reported that the U.S. Air Force said the flight by the VC-25, a modified Boeing Co. 747, and two F-16 fighter jets cost taxpayers $328,835.
That includes $300,658 for the larger plane, which flew a three-hour mission, and about $28,178 for the F-16 jets, which flew 1.8 hours each, Air Force spokeswoman Vicki Stein said in a statement e-mailed to Bloomberg.com.
The total includes fuel used in flight, fuel used to power ground equipment used to prepare the aircraft, and ground maintenance, Stein said.
This is a developing story.
(Report from commercial news sources.)
FAA Memo: Feds Knew NYC Flyover Would Cause Panic
New York Flight Cost Put at $328,835
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