A Conversation It Would Have Been Fun To Overhear

I don’t think the Air Force One overflight of Lower Manhattan has any great significance, except as a reminder of how foolish it is to assume that government bureaucrats are always wise and far-seeing. The White House Counsel’s Office has now investigated the incident and placed blame where it is due, with the result that the Director of the White House Military Office–just one of the thousands of federal offices of which pretty much everyone was unaware–has resigned. You can read the White House Counsel’s report here.

There isn’t anything especially newsworthy in the report, but I enjoyed this understated narrative of how the Director of the WHMO learned that there was a problem, from President Obama’s Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel. As you read this dry account, bear in mind Emanuel’s reputation for hot temper and profanity:

Later, the Director left his office to meet with Mr. Messina in the West Wing. According to the Director, it was during this meeting that he first learned the flight had caused problems. He stated that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel entered the room, described the controversy created by the flight, and asked whether the White House knew about the flyover in advance. … According to the Director, this was the first time he learned that the flight reminded people of 9/11 and there was a jet fighter trailing the 747 aircraft.

It would have been fun to be a bug on the wall and hear the language in which Emanuel “described the controversy created by the flight” and “asked whether the White House knew about the flyover in advance.”


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