All of a sudden and with no warning, a low-flying Boeing 747 circled lower Manhattan, then some F16 fighter jets came and joined it.

That was a photo op, what else? The plane was one of those in the fleet that comes with the job of President of the United States. In another photo op, Barack Obama stood in crowded Washington office building lobby and sneezed loudly, while Joe Biden passed out pink slips.

Ahem. This was monumentally stupid, of course; the FAA stopped watching Aqua Teen Hunger Force long enough to send New York’s Finest an e-mail, but told them not to tell anyone. Because when something really fucking scary is happening, nothing is more calming than the cops ignoring it. The best that can be said about this is that I, personally, don’t think Al-Qaeda is going to fly any more airplanes into buildings, because they’ve done that, and any copycats would have (tried) to do it already in the past seven and a half years.

Of course, it’s still an understandable reaction. The president has been described as “furious”; the FAA is silent (the most recent press release about New York is almost eight months old and bears the headline “Unique Traffic Management in New York Skies.” Indeed). White House Military Office Director Lewis Caldera took full responsibility, for certain values of “full.”

This seems, utimately, to come down to a Stalinesque obsessive secrecy that says the default should be to not tell. And that’s not how government should be run.

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