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Low-Flying Plane Strikes Fear In Some New Yorkers

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TWC News: Low-Flying Plane Strikes Fear In Some New Yorkers
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Monday's authorized military jet photo shoot over Lower Manhattan frightened many New Yorkers and enraged Mayor Bloomberg, who was never told the event would be occurring.

The Department of Defense had pre-approved the flight of a presidential Boeing 747 and two F16 military fighter jets, seen above in a photo taken by NY1 Viewer Tatyana Hube, to fly around Staten Island and the Statue of Liberty.

According to an administration official, the flight was being conducted to update its file photo of the plane near the Statue of
Liberty.

Louis Caldera, the Director of the White House Military Office said he approved the mission last week. He says that while federal authorities took the proper steps to notify state and local authorities, it's clear that the mission created confusion and disruption.

Caldera later issued an apology saying he takes responsibility for any distress the flight may have caused.

According to Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne, the city knew about the operation, but was ordered to not disclose the information and to direct all questions to the FAA.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he was furious that he was not notified.

"I'm annoyed, furious is a better word, that I wasn't told. It did have the normal language that said this is sensitive material that should be distributed on a need to know basis, that they did not plan to have any publicity, which I think is ridiculous and just poor judgement," said Bloomberg. "Why the Defense Department wanted to do a photo-op right around the site of the World Trade Center catastrophe defies imagination."

"When anything like this is scheduled, the FAA must notify the public. This was a photo shoot, there was no need for surprise, there was no need to scare thousands of New Yorkers, who still have the memory of 9/11 vividly in their minds. The FAA cannot allow this to happen again," said Senator Chuck Schumer.

The mayor said had he known about the photo shoot on Thursday when the message was sent out, he would have spoken with the Defense Department and asked them to reconsider.

The incident sparked fear in many workers in Lower Manhattan and forced the evacuation of buildings in Jersey City.

"Whoever thought this through and didn't come to the obvious conclusion that there should have been a notification of the residents of Lower Manhattan, many of whom are 9/11 survivors, how does that work?" said Gregory Segal, a Battery Park resident.

Some workers say the image invoked memories of September 11, 2001, when two hijacked commercial airliners flew into the World Trade Center towers.

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