Air Force Dumb - NBC New York

Air Force Dumb

Meet the airheads behind yesterday's flight fright

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    The fly-over was staged, but the fear it inspired, quite real.

    Talk about flighty. Two numbskulls, one from New York and another from D.C., were behind the air-brained photo-op that needlessly panicked thousands of New York and Jersey residents yesterday morning.

    An obscure City Hall deputy took the blame on the New York end. Marc Mugnos, a $60,000-a-year director of operations for Mayor Bloomberg's Office of Citywide Event Coordination and Management, failed to tell the big boss that a jumbo jet and an F-16 were going to buzz the air above Ground Zero, the Daily News reported.

    Mugnos was reprimanded and unavailable for comment. 

    The D.C. dunce who hatched the plan is Louis Caldera, the director of the White House Military Office. He apologized, sort of, but never explained why the Obama administration needed these photos of an Air Force One backup plane so badly that they'd be willing to cause 9/11 flashbacks for thousands of unwitting residents and workers.

    Video Shows Panic When Plane Buzzes NYC

    [NY] Video Shows Panic When Plane Buzzes NYC
    This amateur video is the only footage that captures the sheer panic on the streets as a presidential plane buzzed past the Statue of Liberty Monday, sending residents and workers scrambling.
    (Published Monday, April 27, 2009)

    “Last week, I approved a mission over New York. I take responsibility for that decision," said Caldera. "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.”

    A point of clarification: the mission did not create confusion and disruption. Caldera's decision to inform local authorities but instruct them to not inform the public created the confusion.

    If there's a silver lining to all this idocy, it's that the fine people of Washington, D.C., have been put on notice that a similar photo-op is planned for their skies next week.

    Sources told the News that White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel tracked down Caldera to "relay the president's displeasure." 

    The photo-op debacle raises an interesting question: Who would be the worst person to be chewed out by:  Michael Bloomberg or Rahm Emanuel?

    "I'm annoyed -- furious is a better word -- that I wasn't told," a clearly perturbed mayor said yesterday. "If I had known about it, I would have called them right away and asked them not to."

    Emanuel's combative take-no-prisoners style is so well-known that he's known as "Rahm-bo." But Mayor Bloomberg isn't afraid to publicly humiliate a disabled reporter for being slow to action.

    We'd hate to be Marc Mugnos this morning.