It must have seemed like a longer-than-usual Monday for Louis Caldera, director of the White House Military Office.
He was the one who approved of sending a Boeing 747 – the Air Force One backup plane – and an accompanying F-16 fighter flying around southern Manhattan at low altitudes this morning. The purpose of the exercise was to serve as a photo op. But the low-flying planes panicked many New Yorkers, who fled their office buildings out of fear of another 9/11-style terrorist attack.
Late this afternoon, the White House press office sent out this apology from Caldera:
“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.”