The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


National Security

Military Flight Over N.Y. Canceled

By Dan Eggen
Whew, that was close.

Two weeks after an Air Force jetliner terrified New Yorkers with a low-level flight over Manhattan, the Federal Aviation Administration halted plans this morning for another unscheduled military flight down the Hudson River, officials said.

The U.S. Naval Air Station at Brunswick, Maine, alerted FAA officials at about 7:30 a.m. that it wanted to fly a P-3 Orion reconnaissance plane along the Hudson as part of a training mission to start at 10:30 a.m. But senior FAA officials soon nixed the idea after deciding the Navy had not provided sufficient advance notice of its plans, according to FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown.

Brown said FAA protocol calls for at least 48 hours notice for such flights in order to ensure that local officials are prepared. "We wanted to make sure that everything was done properly," she said.

The near-miss flight comes on the heels of an incident April 27 in which a Boeing 747 that is used as Air Force One flew over the Hudson accompanied by fighter jets as part of a publicity photo shoot. The flyover, which occurred at about 1,000 feet in proximity to the World Trade Center site, caused a panic among onlookers who believed that another 9/11-style terrorist attack was taking place.

The official responsible for the fiasco, Louis Caldera, resigned as head of the White House Military Office on Friday following an internal review that found lax procedures for the use of presidential aircraft.

Unlike two weeks ago, federal officials notified the office of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg about today's initial Navy request. Bloomberg told reporters that the city did not request a cancellation but said it would prefer more than a couple of hours' notice.

Brown and other U.S. officials note that the reconnaissance plane would have been flying 2,000 feet higher than the Air Force One flight, meaning that it likely would not have stood out from other commercial flights that crisscross the area, and also is a propeller aircraft. But Brown said the FAA felt it was best to cancel the flight out of an abundance of caution given the recent flyover scare.

"It's not our preferred way of doing business," Brown said, referring to the short notice given by the Navy unit.

Posted at 5:55 PM ET on May 11, 2009  | Category:  National Security
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According to those practiced in the dark art of unconventional warfare, a key element of mass "psy ops" (psychological operations) is DESENISITIZATION.

Lull the public into complacency and inaction by making the bizarre, the
irrational, commonplace.

By so doing, the masses (and well-intentioned by naive politicians) are conditioned to accept acts, or perhaps decrees, that otherwise might ring alarm bells from skeptical inquirers -- raising questions about not just methods, but motives.

The backup Air Force One flyover defied logic -- unless there was a dark ulterior motive to go through with a top-secret alleged aerial "photo op" flight that FAA officials warned would cause public alarm.

Now come this P-3 Orion revelation. Even accounting for oxymoronic aspects of military intelligence, one must ask:

Is a dynamic too disturbing to contemplate at work here?

Put it all together:

• The continuing hard-right drumbeat about Obama's birth certificate, endless repetition of the allegation that his presidency is illegitimate;

• Dick Cheney's relentless verbal sabotage of the Obama presidency on national security grounds;

• The notion that Obama himself was behind the backup AF1 flyover when all accounts indicate he and his aides were blindsided.

Is the American public being groomed to meekly accept a suddenly pervasive military presence in their daily lives -- in the skies and possibly, in the streets?

Is Dick Cheney's incendiary, subversive rhetoric a key element of this desensitization protocol, a purposeful effort to diminish the public's acceptance of the legitimacy of the Obama presidency?

Are we in the midst of an incipient, slow-drip coup d'etat?

And is the mainstream media so desensitized as to reject out of hand the possibility that this could be the lead-up to a clever, covertly executed putsch?

If the mainstream media is too timid to even ask the question, is that not a clear sign that the desensitization of the American public already is a "Mission Accomplished"?

Posted by: scrivener50 | May 12, 2009 4:21 AM

Why is our military stuck in pre-9/11 thinking? The last administration made great use the world being in a post-9/11 mode to justify a trumped up war, shredding the Constitution and torture.

It is starting to look as though there are military officers scattered throughout the military command structure who want to take every opportunity to create controversy for the Obama administration and not just ant type of controversy. They seem to want to remind America to be afraid by buzzing NY with planes. To make it look like Obama's approach is a mistake: remind America about Bush's failure- planes flying into the Twin Towers- done by terrorists, remind America of that terrible day in hopes it will make the American fearful and question Obama's approach to terrorism.

Whether it is poor planning (2 hour notice), arrogance or a darker political motive the officer in charge of this BS maneuver should be stripped of command, a few stripes and pay!

Posted by: jmcauli1 | May 12, 2009 12:50 AM

EGNB?? people you just cease to amaze me.

okay.. let's just FORGET how the military is acting, but maybe we can focus on WHY.

two weeks ago, it was for obama's vanity. af1 flying in front of some green lady given to us by copper. yea.. that even turns me on.

but today... a p3 recon plane NEEDS to fly down the hudson?



are there chinese landmines under the surface of that river? does canada have a secret nuke sub they have parked 100 feet off the bank?

please answer WHY. if they want to practice manuevers... move em to one of those pacific islands the u.s. has never relinquished back to the japanese.

Posted by: presGWBfanclub | May 11, 2009 11:38 PM

Why on earth should NYC be a no-fly zone for military planes? Because of one person's poor judgment? Keep in mind, Air Force One looks nothing like a military plane from the ground, or from the tall buildings that everyone was looking out from. It looks like a passenger airliner, which is what hit the WTC towers.

The part that bothered NYers was that they saw what appeared to be a passenger airliner being pursued by military fighter planes. End of story. A P-3 flying over the Hudson at 3000 ft is a non-event when seen from the ground. Stop making molehills into mountains, people.

Posted by: EGNB | May 11, 2009 10:46 PM

What is it that the military doesn't understand about planning flights over NYC? Did they learn nothing about Caldera's resignation? They need to fire anyone who even HINTS at making these fly overs and then maybe they'll get it. Gates needs to keep these people in line.

Posted by: blarsen1 | May 11, 2009 8:57 PM

Some mid-level Naval officer has abysmal judgment for making such a request so soon after the Air Force One fiasco.

I'm actually surprised that Secretary of Defense Gates hasn't yet put a 50-mile "no-fly" zone around NYC for military aircraft. And I'll be even more surprised if he fails to do so after this bit of Navy buffoonery.

Posted by: DupontJay | May 11, 2009 8:40 PM

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