Federal officials knew that sending two fighter jets and Air Force One to buzz ground zero and Lady Liberty might 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 CBS 2 HD the Federal Aviation Administration’s James Johnston said the agency was aware of “the possibility of public concern regarding DOD (Department of Defense) 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.
And how much did Monday’s stunt cost?
Yes, three hundred twenty eight thousand eight hundred thirty five dollars.
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, Stein said in an e-mailed statement.
The total includes fuel used in flight, fuel used to power ground equipment used to prepare the aircraft, and ground maintenance, Stein said.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said yesterday’s flyover was “two training missions that became in the end a picture mission” and only Air Force personnel were aboard.
Well, at least you can’t say it was a cheap stunt.
AJ Strata’s commenter Ugly in LA believes that any mission by AF1 and its backup would need the highest clearance. Do any of my readers have any information on whether that is the case?