White House accepts blame for panic caused by Air Force One

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    Shortly after Press Secretary Robert Gibbs' press briefing this afternoon, his press office released a statement from the director of the White House Military Office taking blame for the decision to use one of the president's planes in a photo op over Lower Manhattan today. The low-flying plane created a panic among New Yorkers.
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You can bet as soon as White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs left the podium on Monday, he was on the phone with the White House Military Office (WHMO) demanding answers.

It was apparent that he didn't have any when asked by the White House press corps why one of President Obama's airplanes was involved in an incident earlier today that panicked thousands of New Yorkers.

Background

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In case you haven't heard about it, a Boeing 747 escorted by F-16 fighter jets swooped down on Lower Manhattan this morning causing New Yorkers to spill out on the street thinking their city was under attack again.

Instead, the plane was just being used in a photo op. And no one from New York questioned the FAA's direction to keep news of the event from filtering out to the public.

You can read more about this here.

Gibbs

Regardless, Gibbs got his answer. It was their fault. As in the military office of the White House.

And quickly after the press briefing ended, the White House press office issued a statement from the director of WHMO, Louis Caldera, letting everyone know it was his fault.

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

Responsibility

The first step in getting past a controversy is to take responsibility. So while Caldera admits he rubber stamped the initial authorization for the mission, it still leaves other questions. Like, why didn't anyone in New York speak up?

Where was the NYPD? What about the Port Authority? Why didn't anyone tell Mayor Bloomberg?

The controversy's not over yet.

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