April 28th, 2009
11:00 AM ET
14 years ago

Obama calls 747 flyover 'a mistake'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/28/getty.art.air.force.two.jpg caption="The huge aircraft, which functions as Air Force One when the president is aboard, was taking part in a classified, government-sanctioned photo shoot."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama Tuesday said Monday's low flyover of a Boeing 747 above the New York City skyline, which frightened workers and residents into evacuating buildings, had been a "mistake."

"It was a mistake," he told reporters. "It was something we found out about along with all of you. And it will not happen again."

The huge aircraft, which functions as Air Force One when the president is aboard, was taking part in a classified, government-sanctioned photo shoot, the Federal Aviation Administration told CNN.

"Last week, I approved a mission over New York. I take responsibility for that decision," said Louis Caldera, director of the White House Military Office. "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."

Witnesses reported seeing the plane circle over the Upper New York Bay near the Statue of Liberty before flying up the Hudson River. It was accompanied by two F-16s.

Two officials told CNN the White House Military Office was trying to update its file photos of Air Force One. The officials said the president was angry when he learned Monday afternoon about the flight, which sparked fear in the New York-New Jersey area.

'The president was furious about it," one of the officials told CNN.

The incident outraged many New Yorkers, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

"First thing is, I'm annoyed - furious is a better word - that I wasn't told," he said, calling the aviation administration's decision to withhold details about the flight "ridiculous" and "poor judgment."

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. Cindy,CA

    This was more than stupid, it was downright cruel. To think the officials would not know that it was shoving 911 down the throats of the New Yorkers was beyond stupid. With everything going on in the country right now someone should have had the decency to stop this totally unnecessary photo shoot.

    It makes me sick to hear people on other blogs tell the New Yorkers to get over it and not to react. Put yourselves in their shoes before making belittling comments please. If we lose compassion for other people we have truly lost....

    April 28, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    YOu should had know better

    April 28, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  3. Independent_me


    April 28, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  4. David Pina

    Obama, The american people do not want your mistakes!
    Get It?

    April 28, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  5. Common Sense

    Yep: not a great decision but how refreshing to see " Last week, I approved a mission over New York. I take responsibility for that decision," said Louis Caldera, director of the White House Military Office."
    rather than the "mistakes were made" mantra of the previous administration.

    April 28, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  6. Baze

    They couldn't have picked a worse place for this stunt.

    April 28, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  7. Tristan

    The FEAR that Bush instilled in us has stayed. If the hatred also remains then Bush wins, we are a sad people.

    April 28, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  8. ObamaShrugged

    I'm sure BHO knew nothing about it! His motto seems to be: "Better to ask forgiveness than permission".

    Let's not torture terrorists, only the minds of frightened Americans with presidential photo-ops.

    April 28, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  9. Steve

    You need to get the right picture for this story. The airplane shown in the picture is not one of those used as "Air Force One". This is easy to see, since it is not a 747.

    April 28, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  10. Simpliticus

    I am of the thinking that the New York City flyover was NOT an event that was used as a simple photo opportunity but has much deeper interests. In view of the recent release of the so-called torture memos, I am convinced that this flyover, however conceived, is really a brilliant manner to reintroduce the country to a deeper investigation of 9/11. The process appears to be an innocent lapse of conscience and it releases Obama from the event and places it within the scope of a White House consul! We may also have a deep investigation of 9/11 which the Bush administration did not allow. Isn't the person who is to blame from this allowance of the flyover from NYC? Wouldn't he have been sensitive of the flyover itself? Bring on this investigation!

    April 28, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  11. Steve in Las Vegas,NV

    Why not just inform every one, not just the select few. The person responsible for this should have his head handed to him! Really stupidI

    April 28, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    So let's review-NYC officials were informed ahead of the flight, but didn't pass it on. The flight did NOT violate and federal, state or municipal laws. So why is this news?

    April 28, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  13. Doug, New Jersey

    National Socialists test their people like this all the time. Make no mistake about it, this was a calculated test from Rahm and Barak that was not in the least bit about some stupid photo op.

    Obama is quick to tell all our enemies how evil America is and to shake their hand as they wish our countrymen harm, he is equally as quick to terrorize Americans and to see just how much the media has them brainwashed and ignorant as he takes away their rights, freedoms and thier hard earned wealth.

    And now lib responds with but bush.......(insert moveon programmed lib lie here)

    April 28, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  14. J.P.

    Yes, but let's work together now so we can find a way to blame this on George Bush.

    April 28, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  15. Ren from Baltimore

    If Mr. Caldera is actually the one who approved this ideocy, then I agree with the many who call for his stepping down. Do not wait to be _told_ to step down, please.

    Mr. Caldera, you had a mixed tenure as Sec of the Army. It was under your watch that Rumsfeld and company ran roughshod over the glorious General Shinseki. In fact, these civilians drummed our Army Chief of Staff out of the Army itself, and humiliated him further by deciding not to attend his retirement. All because Shinseki called for more troops than bargain-basement Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz-Cheny, that miility trust of the Republicans, just knew would be needed to take Iraq.

    Mr. Caldera, you had the chance to be out front in presenting Shinseki's views to the Administration, but for some reason you decided to leave instead. If you left for good, moral reasons, please consider that same mindframe now. Leave for good, moral, common-sensical reasons.

    April 28, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  16. tom

    Dems are still pushing the narative that Dick Cheney was behind this. Talk about paranoia!

    April 28, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  17. Larry

    Get over it New York ...

    The Bush administration is the only one that ever authorized planes to be flown into buildings in their effort to start a war

    Obamas in charge now ...

    April 28, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  18. Buford Stansel

    Wanna bet, Obama, it won't happen again?

    April 28, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  19. G NO P

    It's amazing these same bed wetters weren't freaking out over the plane that landed in the Hudson. Cowards

    April 28, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  20. Eman

    Are all you sleeping sheep out there waking up yet? The FAA planned this (Chuck Schumer quote)? Do you think we're that stupid? Your puppet President and his administration are showing there acute incompetence on a daily basis now. Oh yeah, CNN we know your in the pocket of the Obamanation, couldn't you at least provide the correct pic of the offending aircraft? Everyone pls wake up and become proud Americans again and if you don't want to be a proud Americans' pls see your way to any border of your choice!

    April 28, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
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