Washington, D.C. The White House plans an inquiry into a low-flying photo shoot by a presidential plane that panicked New Yorkers and cost taxpayers $328,835. President Barack Obama said Tuesday it won’t happen again.
But the origins of the government public relations stunt that went awry remained an engrossing mystery — and a potential political problem for Obama. The White House military office approved the photo-op, which cost $35,000 in fuel alone for the plane and two jet fighter escorts.
“I think this is one of those rare cases where we can all agree it was a mistake,” Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said of Monday’s “unfortunate” flight low over the Hudson River that for many on the ground evoked chilling memories of 9/11.
The sight of the huge passenger jet and an F-16 fighter plane whizzing past the Statue of Liberty and the lower Manhattan financial district sent panicked office workers streaming into the streets.