9 May 2009

White House aide resigns over NY flyover

10:33 am on 9 May 2009

A White House military aide who authorized an Air Force flyover of New York that caused panic among some people in the city resigned on Friday.

The flight over lower Manhattan for a photo shoot of a jumbo jet used as Air Force One with the Statue of Liberty in the background scared some New Yorkers who remembered the September 11 attacks in 2001 involving hijacked airliners that destroyed the World Trade Center.

Some people panicked and evacuated office buildings when the planes flew over.

The aide, Louis Caldera, said in a resignation letter to President Barack Obama that the controversy over the mission made it impossible for him to lead the White House Military Office.

Mr Caldera had approved the mission. His resignation came on the same day Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in a letter to Senator John McCain that the photo shoot cost U.S. taxpayers as much as $US357,000.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Mr Obama had accepted the resignation. The president had been described as furious when the incident occurred on 27 April and demanded a review.