Junior Mayoral Aid Reprimanded For Air Force One Photo-op

The context

As secret missions go, this one was a flop.

On Monday morning, one of the 747s used to ferry around the U.S. president was dispatched to the Statue of Liberty, escorted by a fighter jet. Assignment: Get some fresh glamour shots of the plane.

The Air Force said the flight needed to remain confidential. So while New York police knew about it, as did at least one person in the mayor’s office, regular New Yorkers remained in the dark.

As a result, to onlookers Monday all across downtown Manhattan — where the World Trade Center once stood — the photo shoot looked like a terrorist attack. People watched in horror as a massive aircraft, trailed closely by an F-16 fighter jet, banked and roared low near the city, in a frightening echo of the events of Sept. 11, 2001.

Fearing the worst, thousands of people streamed out of the skyscrapers and into the streets. Some buildings ordered evacuations. “Oh God, it was mayhem in here, just mayhem,” says Rubin Shimon, manager of Styling Haircutters, a barbershop near Ground Zero. Many people took shelter in the shop to call loved ones on their cellphones.

Guess who gets blamed after people were scared out of their minds, and which a commenter at some site I was scrolling threw last night (forget which one) suggested that people send their soiled underpants to the White House with a claim for reimbursement?

(Mayor Bloomberg) chastised his own office for its role in keeping the flyover secret. On Thursday night, city officials say, a junior mayoral aide had been alerted to the flyover by the Federal Aviation Administration, which requested that it be kept secret. Someone in City Hall alerted the New York Police Department, but no public announcement was made.

Marc Mugnos was reprimanded for not apprising the mayor, and a disciplinary letter was placed in his file, a spokesman said. Mr. Mugnos couldn’t be reached for comment.

President Obama is said to be “furious,” but only as much as to send out a flunky to apologize. Similar fly-by photo-ops planned for early May over D.C. have been cancelled.

Michelle Malkin is wondering how much CO2 this photo-op put out, and the Sundries Shack asks if anyone in the Obambi administration has heard of this cool new thing called “Photoshop.” The Other McCain calls the photo-op a Perfect Storm of Idiocy. And it is interesting to note that very few in the Left-o-sphere, other then Alan Colmes, can be bothered to mention the story, at least if we go by Memeorandum. But, then, most of them are probably going “what’s the big deal? A flyover of NYC. Why would anyone freak out? Did something happen on 9/11?”

Perhaps some heads will roll in the White House Military Office for this. Not photoshopped ones, either.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove

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