6. Air Force Folly

( 5/1/09)

The U.S. Air Force soared to new heights over New York's Financial District Monday. They successfully smashed through the stupidity barrier.

An already jittery Wall Street was spooked when an Air Force jet and one of President Obama's official planes flew low over the Statue of Liberty shortly after the market open.

With memories of Sept. 11 still lingering in Lower Manhattan, many employees fled their buildings -- including traders at the New York Mercantile Exchange Building and employees of American Express ( AXP) and The Wall Street Journal.

Little did they realize, however, that the cat-and-mouse game being played in the skies above them was just a staged government photo-op.

An Obama administration official said the mission was to get a picture of the president's plane flying around the Statue of Liberty in order to update their photo files.

As to why the Department of Defense didn't just snap shots of Lady Liberty from the Staten Island Ferry like every other tourist, we have no idea.

Never one to run away from a photo-op himself, Sen. Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.) blasted the Federal Aviation Administration for not warning the public saying there was "no need to scare thousands of New Yorkers who still have the vivid memory of 9/11."

Meanwhile, a furious New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg slammed the New York Police Department for not warning him about the stunt. Had he known, said Bloomberg, he would have tried to stop it.

President Obama, who was not aboard the plane, told reporters Tuesday that the more than $300,000 military exercise was "something we found out about along with all of you" and would not happen again.

Let's get this straight. The senator, mayor and the president were all out of the loop while New Yorkers were running scared in the streets.

It sure doesn't give us a lot of confidence when the only government official with a clue is a big green statue in the harbor.

Five Dumbest Final Thoughts -- Mission Accomplished! America's 'Top Guns' land in our top 10 for a job well dumb!
Before joining TheStreet.com, Gregg Greenberg was a writer and segment producer for CNBC's Closing Bell. He previously worked at FleetBoston and Lehman Brothers in their Private Client Services divisions, covering high net-worth individuals and midsize hedge funds. Greenberg attended New York University's School of Business and Economic Reporting. He also has an M.B.A. from Cornell University's Johnson School of Business, and a B.A. in history from Amherst College.

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