Published May 05, 2009
WASHINGTON – The White House is refusing to release the controversial photos of Air Force One flying over the Manhattan skyline last week that triggered panic among New Yorkers and an internal review in the Obama administration.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Tuesday that there was no need to release them.
"I've watched CNN," he said, noting the considerable coverage from amateur footage. "I didn't notice a lack of archival material from that flight."
He added that he didn't know where to locate the photos taken from inside the plane.
Last week, the Obama administration sent an Air Force One backup plane to fly over lower Manhattan to capture the presidential plane with the Statue of Liberty in the background. The public was not notified in advance that there was no cause for alarm.
Some New Yorkers were reminded of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, sparking chaos as employees evacuated office buildings and emergency call centers were inundated.
President Obama immediately denounced the photo-op, which cost $328,835, calling it "a mistake."
White House Military Office Director Louis Caldera accepted responsibility and apologized for allowing the exercise.
Gibbs said he anticipates the internal review will be completed this week.