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1 13th June 21:24
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Default ~A Whitehouse Fairy Tale...~ (fn)

As White House Changes Story, British Airways Refutes Bush Story of
Pilot Sighting

In his trip to Baghdad, President Bush said he would have immediately
turned around had his cover been blown. In trying to play up the
secrecy and dangerous nature of the trip, Bush's aides said that a
British Airways pilot spotted the president's plane, radioing, "Did I
just see Air Force One?" The White House said Air Force One responded:
"Gulfstream 5" - a code word to disguise the plane - and the British
Airways pilot "seemed to sense he was in on a secret and replied

But now it appears the story was a complete fabrication, designed only
to hype the story. According to Reuters, "British Airways said
yesterday that none of its pilots made contact with President Bush's
plane during its secret flight to Baghdad on Thanksgiving,
contradicting White House reports of a midair exchange that nearly
prompted Bush to call off his trip."2

Making things worse, the White House revised its story after
revelations of the distortion. The White House now says "it had left
the wrong impression" and that actually the conversation took place
between Air Force One and the airport tower in London.3 But again,
British Airways refuted this tale, with a spokesman for the company
telling media "that none of its pilots has come forward to acknowledge
either making or overhearing the purported conversation."4

"Bush steals away to Baghdad in a surprise visit to American
soldiers", International Herald Tribune, 11/28/2003.
"Pilots Didn't Radio Air Force One, Airline Says", Reuters,
"Bush Aide Clarifies Air Force One Sighting", Washington Post,
"Changing a Story on the Fly", Newsday, 12/03/2003.
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