By Brian Williams, anchor and managing editor
I've received a big response from my post yesterday on the most boneheaded air mission in the history of aviation photography. Many people have raised the folly of secrecy: the White House notifies both the FAA and NYPD to expect Air Force One to "buzz" lower Manhattan and New Jersey with fighter escort -- and yet they are told not to share the information … especially not with the public or news media. National security, you know.
Imagine if the wrong element found out that a near empty 747 was going to make low passes over the city for the sake of an updated glossy calendar photo! The problem was: the RIGHT element wasn't notified...us.
Allow me to note, with a sledgehammer, the irony here: the very same mindset behind the "secret" air mission (the unchallenged, unquestioned use of "security" as all-purpose cover) is a direct outgrowth of 9-11...the very event yesterday's ridiculous fly-over conjured up among thousands of people who reflexively ran out of their office buildings and into the streets of this city. A deputy White House Chief of Staff is heading up an investigation. The West Point and Harvard-educated chief of the Military Office has already taken full responsibility and remains in his post tonight.
Tonight we continue to cover swine flu. Everyone should remember: flu-related illness kills 36,000 Americans during an average year. This strain has yet to claim its first fatality in the U.S. … of the 68 confirmed cases at the time of this writing. We have another informative newscast planned for you tonight, and we hope you can join us.