The Air Farce One Report — A Classic Case Of Misdirection
A White House military aide who authorized an Air Force flyover of New York that caused panic among some people in the city resigned on Friday.
Louis Caldera said in a resignation letter to Obama that the controversy over the mission — a photo shoot of a jumbo jet used as Air Force One with the Statue of Liberty in the background — made it impossible for him to lead the White House Military Office (WHMO).
White House officials said the flight was designed to update the official photo of the plane, known as Air Force One when the president is aboard.
The flight over lower Manhattan for a photo shoot scared some New Yorkers who remembered the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001 involving hijacked airliners that destroyed the World Trade Center. Many people panicked and evacuated office buildings when the planes flew over — as low as 150 feet.
Caldera had approved the mission. His resignation came on the same day Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in a letter to Senator John McCain that the photo shoot cost U.S. taxpayers as much as $357,000.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs (Gibbels) said Obama had accepted the resignation. Obama had been described as furious when the incident occurred on April 27 and demanded a review.
Isn’t that tidy — Louis Caldera is responsible — but responsible for what?
Louis Caldera is responsible for “approving” the flight. No need to look any further. Caldera is responsible — off with his head — move on!
However, none of this answers the key question — WHO REQUESTED THE FLIGHT?
Start with Caldera’s boss. Who does Caldera work for — and who does that guy work for — and who does that guy work for. Somewhere up that food chain is the genius whose brainstorm is responsible for this clusterflop — that person is the “Requestor” or “Initiator” — that’s the guy that is really responsible.
When the flight was a “Go,” the WHMO Deputy Director sent an email to the Director, saying the flight would receive some “local press,” but the White House shouldn’t catch any questions about it. The email also suggested notifying Jim Messina and Robert Gibbels.
The flight then flew into history.
The White House (read Rhambo) investigated the flight and The White House Counsel’s Office (Gregory Craig) produced a report, “Internal Review Concerning April 27, 2009 Air Force One Flight.” (It’s interesting this report uses the “Air Force One” designation, as the aircraft is only referred to in this way when POTUS is on board. Is Craig suggesting that Obama was on the flight?)
The report (I could access only the first 3 pages of the .pdf file for some reason) says that the Deputy Director of the WHMO “suggested that when the plan was finalized, the Director MAY want to inform White House Deputy Chief of Staff, Jim Messina (not the singer). The Deputy Director believed that Mr. Messina would want notice because the plan involved the use of the Presidential aircraft and because it was unusual.“
Note, the focus of this report is on the WHMO, the initial flight planning and the subsequent processes and reviews that resulted in the flight. Nowhere in the “official” report is there any mention of the person or persons who initiated the request for the flight mission that was ultimately “approved” by Caldera.
A Reuters news article said the report of the review, mentioned above, said ultimately Caldera did not notify relevant White House officials about the flyover in advance.
“When asked why he failed to do so, he did not offer a coherent explanation. He stated that it was not a conscious decision — he did not intend not to notify them,” it said. “Instead, he suggested that it may have been an oversight.”
An oversight? I just find that statement to be unbelievable.
Caldera had previously apologized for the April 27 incident, saying, “Last week, I approved a mission over New York. I take responsibility for that decision (approving the flight). While federal authorities took the proper steps to notify state and local authorities in New York and New Jersey, it’s clear that the mission created confusion and disruption. I apologize and take responsibility for any distress that flight caused.”
And like a good little Obot, Caldera fell on his sword.
The White House Military Office (2,300 managers and staff) knew about the flight, and so did the Department of Defense, and Andrews Air Force Base, and the Air Mobility Command, and the Presidential Airlift Group, and the 89th Airlift Wing, and the Federal Aviation Administration and air traffic control representatives in the New York are, and “federal, state and local authorities.”
It seems everyone in the government knew about the “secret flight” except Obama and his senior White House advisers. Sgt. Schultz (“I know nothing“) would be proud.
Of course Obama was furious when the incident occurred. It hit the fan the day before his 100th day’s celebration and victory speech, dramatically affecting the news.
But he knew nothing about it — nor did any other “responsible” person in and around the White House — just Caldera, even though the report contains several mentions of Jim Messina, whose boss is Rhambo — and Rhambo’s boss is Obama — that’s two degrees of separation.
So, in conclusion, we don’t know who requested the mission, but we know the chain of command — Obama, Rhambo, Messina and Caldera.
I find it hard to believe that Caldera, a political appointee, kept this “unusual plan” to himself — don’t you?