Air Force One Flyover: Time Amused by White House Lack of Transparency
Hee! Hee! Hee!
Isn't it just a laugh riot! We keep asking the White House for information about the Air Force One flyover incident by Lower Manhattan and they keep responding with evasions.
Ha! Ha! Ha!
And then they keep referring us to the Air Force which keeps bouncing the questions back to the White House which, in turn, refers us back to the Air Force again!
Isn't this just too funny!
That pretty much sums up the attitude of Time Magazine towards the Air Force One flyover affair as you can see in this article by Mark Thompson and Michael Scherer:
Sometimes, even the most straightforward question can create evasion and denial in Washington's corridors of power — a question like "Why does Air Force One need publicity photos?" It's a legitimate question, following the official explanation that Monday's flight over lower Manhattan by one of the President's fleet of 747s (shadowed by two fighter planes), which evoked ghosts of 9/11 and spread panic, was simply an ill-conceived photo opportunity.
And now the laughs begin...at least for Time:
A call to the Air Force on Wednesday seeking an answer to that simple question was referred to the White House Military Office, just across the Potomac River. The White House office — which had approved the flying photo opportunity but ordered that the public be kept in the dark about the flight plan — said the Air Force was handling the issue. As is typical in such snafus, the White House Military Office's answer wasn't completely wrong, as a second call to the Air Force revealed.
"That's a question for the White House, and I understand that they may be bouncing you back here," Air Force Lieut. Colonel Tadd Sholtis explained. Following Tuesday's release by the Air Force of the cost of the flight — $328,835 — the beleaguered White House Military Office was bouncing all questions on the topic back to the flyboys. But the Air Force, which knows how to employ stealth technology and evasive maneuvers when warranted, wasn't going to allow the media to lock on. "The purpose of the flight, why did it happen, all those kinds of things," Sholtis said, "need to be addressed to the White House Military Office."
On another call to the White House Military Office, headed by Clinton-era Army Secretary Louis Caldera, the reporter explained how the Air Force was answering only questions about the cost of the flight and not anything else. Cornered, the WHMO official punted: "You'll have to call the White House press office." But White House press secretary Robert Gibbs couldn't shed any light on the matter either. "They've had [such photos] for at least two decades," Gibbs told TIME on Wednesday. "Our point was that we don't need a new one."
It isn't until the final paragraph that Time drops its previous amusement and replaces it with reverential awe for The One who, as we all supposedly know, couldn't possibly have had anything at all to do with authorizing the Air Force One flyover because he isn't a bit interested in the "aura of power":
Unfortunately, "dedication and integrity" don't necessarily include common sense and intelligence. It appears to be taking official Washington some time to grasp that Obama isn't interested in the aura of power supposedly conferred by new presidential helicopters (he's killed a proposed $13 billion upgrade of the fleet of 28 Marine Ones) or glossy souvenir photos of Air Force One flying over New York City. Trimming the trappings of power gives his Administration the credibility to seek sacrifices from other parts of the government, and from taxpayers too. But it appears that some folks — like Caldera, who as of this moment still heads the White House Military Office — still haven't gotten the message.
At this point one doesn't know whether to burst out laughing at Time's absurd reverence for Obama or reach for an Air Force One nausea bag. From the tone of the article it seems highly doubtful that Time has even filed an FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request to find out such things as who was on the flight and whether Louis Caldera somehow accomplished the seemingly impossible task of hermetically sealing off the rest of the White House from knowing a thing about the state of Air Force One (one of the two planes used as Air Force One) especially since the President can't fly without that knowledge readily available.
So while Time Magazine chuckles over the White House evasions on this matter while remaining smugly satisfied that Louis Caldera was the one and the ONLY one who authorized or even knew about that Air Force One flyover, it once again is left to the Blogosphere to actualy do any real investigation of this matter. Time Magazine, meet Michelle Malkin who is actually performing the task you should but won't be doing:
My syndicated column commemorates Barack Obama’s 100 days with the Scare Force One story as a take-off point. Imagine if this fiasco had happened under George Bush’s watch. It would have made the Left’s incessant carping over the “fake plastic turkey,” Mission Accomplished banner, and My Pet Goat incidents look like nothing.
We now know thanks to WCBS in NY that the feds knew the “mission” would cause panic and that they went ahead with the secret plans, anyway. There are still a lot more unanswered questions about what happened in the skies above New York City. I have filed two FOIA requests with the Office of the Secretary of Defense and Joint Staff FOIA Requester Service Center seeking more info, including the flight manifests; communications that would shed light on the origin of the “mission,” and copies of any and all photos taken on the taxpayer-subsidized journey. Let’s have some of that vaunted transparency Barack Obama is always talking about.
However, in the meantime, Time, let us all laugh together happily about the White House not providing answers that we really (or at least you) don't want to hear.