Aide resigns over Obama's New York flyover

The Pentagon and Air Force are reviewing whether their officials may be partly to blame for a $328,835 photo-op of Air Force One soaring above New York City that has already forced the White House military director to step down.

Former Army Secretary Louis Caldera, the White House aide who authorized the flyover, resigned under fire yesterday as the Obama administration tried to move past the embarrassing incident that sent panicked workers rushing into the streets amid flashbacks of Sept. 11, 2001.



The White House released the findings of an internal review that portrayed Caldera as out of the loop in a cycle of missed messages and questionable judgments as plans for the photo shoot proceeded.



But the investigation is hardly the end of the matter.



Defense Secretary Robert Gates has ordered a review at the Pentagon; the Air Force is conducting its own review as well.



In a May 5 letter to Sen. John McCain, the former Republican presidential nominee, Gates apologized for the incident, saying "we deeply regret the anxiety and alarm that resulted from this mission."



McCain posted the letter on his Web site yesterday.



"I am concerned that this highly public and visible mission did not include an appropriate review and approval by senior Air Force and (Defense Department) officials," Gates wrote.



White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said President Barack Obama has ordered a review of how the White House Military Office is set up, and how it reports to the White House and the Air Force.



That review, to be conducted by deputy chief of staff Jim Messina and Gates, will also offer recommendations to Obama designed to ensure that such an incident will not happen again, Gibbs said.



According to the findings released yesterday, Caldera said he didn't know the plane, known as Air Force One when the president is on board, would fly at 1,000 feet during the April 27 photo promotion. He also failed to read an e-mail message describing the operation and seemed unaware of the potential for public fear, the findings said.



Local officials had been notified in advance. But it was a shock to New Yorkers who looked up to see the Boeing 747 and its fighter jet escort flying near the Statue of Liberty and lower Manhattan's financial district, a terrifying reminder of the 2001 terrorist attacks in which jets brought down the two towers of the World Trade Center.



The Federal Aviation Administration told local officials in advance of the flight, but asked them not to disclose it to the public, the White House report said. There was a prepared statement for the FAA's New York regional office and for the Air Force in Washington to release if anyone called to ask about the flight.



In his resignation letter, released by the White House, Caldera said the controversy had "made it impossible for me to effectively lead the White House Military Office," which is responsible for presidential aircraft.



Caldera's office approved the photo-op, which cost $35,000 in fuel alone for the plane and two jet fighter escorts. The Air Force estimated the photo shoot cost taxpayers $328,835. The purpose of the flight was to update the official photo of the plane, known as Air Force One when the president is aboard.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
health
News
science
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
News
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
people
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
News
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Sport
football
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power