It was a curious phenomenon. The "cover story" issued after the fact is that this as a "photo op" and that law enforcement had been notified, but not the public.
Why a photo op? What can they do that can't be done more easily (and more cheaply) with computer graphics?
Why not notify the public? Why not just a simple announcement on the evening news?
On Thursday night, city officials say, a junior mayoral aide had been alerted to the flyover by the Federal Aviation Administration, which requested that it be kept secret. Someone in City Hall alerted the New York Police Department, but no public announcement was made...
The email specifies that the information "only be shared with persons with a need to know" and "shall not be released to the public." It also says that, "Due to the possibility of public concern regarding [Department of Defense] aircraft flying at low levels, coordination with Federal, State and Local law enforcement agencies...has been accomplished."
The email's author, James J. Johnston, of FAA air traffic, declined to comment.An Obama administration official said the mission was "classified" by the military and that the FAA, which controls much of the airspace over Manhattan, did what the military asked. "The mission was to send [the aircraft] up to get a picture of it flying around the Statue of Liberty," this person said. "They said they needed to update their photo files."