Here’s a quick question: What’s worse than the government spending almost $329,000 to shoot photos of Air Force One flying very low over lower Manhattan?
I can only think of one thing: the government spending almost $329,000 to shoot photos of Air Force One flying very low over lower Manhattan and then deciding the photos would not be released.
You can’t make this stuff up. According to The New York Post, The White House has confirmed that the now infamous outcome of that photo shoot will not be shown to the public. (That means us; the American people who fund Air Force One as well as the fighter jets that trailed it that day.)
Quote: "We have no plans to release them," an aide to President Obama told The Post, refusing to comment further.
Well, that aide may have no further comment but I do. Why did you take them if you aren’t going to use them? And if you aren’t going to use them, tell us why. How is it that you can get away with issuing a statement like this, after all the uproar over the incident itself, and simply end the discussion by “refusing further comment?”
The White House has stopped short of calling the photos “classified.” They are however, “being kept from public view.” What is the difference? Information or documents the government withholds from the public at large are "classified" documents, available for review only by selected and "cleared" people. Doesn't this story meet that definition?
Maybe it's much simpler than that. Maybe the photos are terrible. Maybe whoever shot the images is a rotten photographer. Maybe he or she is a friend of someone in Washington and took the opportunity to fly on or near Air Force One under the guise of shooting publicity shots. That would be a reason to keep them from public view.
Maybe once they were released people would mock them endlessly and start asking who shot them. Someone in the administration would then have to come clean with an explanation that sounded something like this: “My niece shot them. She’s taking a photography course in her high school.”
This all sounds incredibly murky to me. The truth is, I’m not sure many people would have been clamoring to view these photos anyway … until now that is. I’ve learned that when something doesn’t sound right; when it doesn’t quite hang together; when you find yourself unsure of the story, it’s because you don’t have all the facts. Then, once you do, it all makes enormous sense.
I’m feeling that way about this story. It didn’t make sense to shoot them; it doesn’t make sense to now withhold them. We’ll probably never learn about the missing bit of fact that will clear this up – but it’s out there. And if I had to guess, I'd say the people who know the answers have all been appropriately rewarded for keeping them to themselves.