The New York Daily News reports:
Mayor Bloomberg went ballistic Monday after the U.S. military – without any warning to the public – buzzed New York City with one of the presidential planes trailed by an F-16 fighter jet.
Flying in as low as 1000 feet to 150 feet above New York City and taking photographs along the way, the planes circled the Statue of Liberty and flew over Manhattan, Staten Island, and New Jersey – then vanished.
Before they were gone, hundreds of frightened people had jammed the emergency lines, thousands of terrified people evacuated from buildings in the city and across the river in Jersey, and many New Yorkers had flashbacks to the 9/11 attacks. . .
Angry that an unnamed but “dumb” city official failed to notify him of the Pentagon’s plans, Bloomberg said a flyover so close to Ground Zero was insensitive and showed “poor judgement.” He said the first he knew of it was when his BlackBerry began buzzing.
It “defies the imagination,” said Bloomberg, who insisted he would have tried to stop the shoot had he known about it.
The NYPD confirmed that it had been told of the Pentagon’s “aerial photo mission” last Thursday but ordered to stay quiet about it.
UPDATE: The Wall Street Journal has more:
The [FAA] email specifies that the information “only be shared with persons with a need to know” and “shall not be released to the public.” It also says that, “Due to the possibility of public concern regarding [Department of Defense] aircraft flying at low levels, coordination with Federal, State and Local law enforcement agencies…has been accomplished.”
The email’s author, James J. Johnston, of FAA air traffic, declined to comment.
An Obama administration official said the mission was “classified” by the military and that the FAA, which controls much of the airspace over Manhattan, did what the military asked.
(Via Campaign Spot.)