The audacity of Obama and his staff, to sanction such an insensitive event, to feed a super-sized ego, beggars belief. What is it with people that acquire privilege? They clearly suffer from Acquired Situational Narcissism. Who authorised this stupid event, the messiah himself? Was it an error of judgement or a deliberate effort to let the people know who is boss? This is the kind of arrogant behaviour one expects in Africa.
President Barack Obama's spare Air Force One plane and two fighter jets buzzed lower Manhattan skyscrapers on Monday for a photo op, sparking panic in New York and prompting a White House apology.
The search for the perfect picture beside famous New York landmarks backfired as frightened office workers fled their buildings in fear of a new 9/11 and triggered an angry outburst from Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who said he had not been warned about the photo shoot.
Bloomberg called the lack of notice about the fly-over near the site of the world's most famous terrorist attack "ridiculous and poor judgment."
The White House military office apologized after the 30-minute incident in which the customized presidential jumbo buzzed southern Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty in the Hudson River.
Stunned office workers who failed to spot the presidential markings feared a repeat of the September 11, 2001 attacks in which two hijacked airliners smashed into the World Trade Center, killing almost 3,000 people.
"I saw everybody running and I ran out too. My heart is still pounding," said commodities trader Jurgens Bauer.
Bauer said that his room had no window so he had not seen the plane -- which is painted white with a blue nose and blue stripe -- but that the terror was real.
"I was there on 9/11, I saw thousands of people die. I don't like when I am not aware of a military photo op," he said.
Local NY1 television said it had received "multiple phone calls from residents fearing an incident reminiscent of September 11."
Police confirmed that some offices were evacuated, but did not specify how many. "I guess people panicked," a spokesman said.
Officials said afterwards that the commander-in-chief's aircraft had merely been conducting an exercise. Obama himself was not aboard.
"The presidential airlift group conducted an aerial photo in the New York city area today," said US Air Force spokesman Major Richard Johnson.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) called the maneuver a "photo op."
"The Defense Department is conducting a photo op that involves deploying two F-16s and escorting a military version of the Boeing 747" close to lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty, FAA spokesman Jim Peters told AFP.
"The maneuver was not an emergency and was coordinated in advance with the FAA and state and local officials," he added.
Louis Caldera, director of the White House military office, said in a statement that state and local authorities had been notified, but "it's clear that the mission created confusion and disruption."
"I apologize and take responsibility for any distress that flight caused," Caldera said.
Bloomberg insisted that no one had told him of the visitors to New York's skies.
The mayor, who is running for a third term later this year, said in televised comments that he was "annoyed -- furious is a better word -- that I wasn't told."
"Why the Defense Department wanted to do a photo op right around the site of the World Trade Center catastrophe defies imagination," he said. "It didn't have the normal language of saying that this is sensitive information."
Hijackers slammed two planes into the twin towers of New York's World Trade Center in 2001, destroying the complex on the southern tip of Manhattan in what was the worst terrorist attack on American soil.
A reconstruction project has been hampered by financial and planning delays, but the foundations of new towers are now rising at Ground Zero.