The much-touted “transparency” that President Obama promised will not be a feature of the episode known as the “Air Farce Fly-by of New York City” (thanks to the New York Post for the “farce” part of this debacle):
The $328,835 snapshots of an Air Force One backup plane buzzing lower Manhattan last week will not be shown to the public, the White House said yesterday.
“We have no plans to release them,” an aide to President Obama told The Post, refusing to comment further.
The sole purpose of the secret photo-op, which sent thousands of New Yorkers running for cover, was to take new publicity shots of the presidential jet over the city.
“The photos . . . are classified — that’s ridiculous,” Councilman Peter Vallone Jr., said.
The photos have not technically been “classified,” a White House aide said, but they are being kept from public view.
If I remember correctly these photographs cannot be shrouded under the veil of “classified” material. They’re pictures of New York City, for heaven’s sake.
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I don’t know what the rules are regarding who can demand, under the Freedom of Information Act, to see these expensive photos but surely any news entity is entitled to file the forms – if they’re brave enough to risk the President’s wrath.
The decision to fly Air Force One up to the City, have it buzz around taking photos whilst scaring everyone there, was – at the very least – not thought through entirely. It made the administration look foolish from its inception to this latest decision to hide the images from public view. No doubt Mayor Bloomberg’s blood pressure is on the rise again.
The rest of New York is none too happy either:
New Yorkers said they could not understand how a president who shares intimate snapshots from the White House could justify keeping these secret.
“So we’re not gonna see the fruits of this cruel joke?” said Frank Antonelli, 39, one of the Wall Street traders spooked by last week’s flyover…
They’ve got a point here, one which seems to be lost on the White House. There are surely hundreds of photos floating around of the President and his family – going for walks, playing with the dog, watching TV, etc., etc. So why clamp down on those taken from Air Force One?
Our “transparent” President (and whatever aide he had take the fall for this secret mission) dug a hole and jumped in when he engineered this needless expense in a time of ceaseless financial crisis, and then ordered that it be kept secret from New York’s officials. Now, with the refusal to let anyone see the photographs, he’s digging his own personal abyss even deeper.
If he thinks this is going to go away just because he ignores it, that abyss will become a chasm, not the memory hole he’s hoping to stick it in. “Stuck on stupid” comes to mind…this is not a man who easily admits his mistakes. But he is about to find out that the heat in the kitchen gets all the greater when he obfuscates.
Whatcha wanna bet that the plane was full of campaign contributors getting a pay-off ride? Can we get a flight manifest under the FOIA, too? Because maybe the only pictures are those taken from the plane by big-time players who were promised a ride. Just a thought, since the White House is not telling us anything. Unfortunately, this administration doesn’t seem to understand that the more you hide, the more people begin looking under the rocks for explanations.
If this is Obama’s idea of transparent government, just imagine how he defines fiscal responsibility.
Dumb move, sir.