Administration Releases NYC Flyover Photo; Caldera Resigns

(White House)
In a move that comes late on a Friday afternoon – the traditional time to release news that one wants buried – the White House has released a photograph of the controversial Air Force One flyover that spurred panic in downtown New York City and anger from administration and city officials.

The photo, taken from a nearby F-16 fighter, is above.

The White House also announced that the Director of the White House Military Office, Louis Caldera, has resigned as a result of the controversy. Caldera took the blame for authorizing the $328,835 photo-op.

"I have concluded that the controversy surrounding the Presidential Airlift Group's aerial photo shoot over New York City has made it impossible for me to effectively lead the White House Military Office," Caldera said in a resignation letter. "Moreover, it has become a distraction to the important work you are doing as President."

President Obama accepted Caldera's resignation.

The White House also released a report from the White House Counsel's Office detailing the decision-making that led to the incident. The report notes that Caldera did not notify Messina or Gibbs about the flyover. Asked why, Caldera suggested it was likely an oversight, according to the report.

The review notes that three days before the flight, the deputy director of the military office, George Mulligan, wrote an e-mail to Caldera informing him that the flyover "will probably receive some local press, but WH shouldn't catch any questions about it."

Read the full report here>.

The report's authors conclude that "structural and organizational ambiguities exist within WHMO that at times affect the organization's ability to operate effectively." They go on to recommend an examination of the organizational structure of the office.

The White House is acting on the recommendation; according to a statement from White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, Mr. Obama has asked Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina and Defense Secretary Robert Gates to review the organizational structure of the WHMO and "make recommendations to him to ensure that such an incident never occurs again."

President Obama was reportedly "furious" about the unannounced, low-level flyover by one of the 747s that serve as Air Force One. The April 27th incident, near the World Trade Center site, prompted building evacuations and fears of a repeat of the Sept. 11 attacks.

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