The strange 'buzzing' of New York by the substitute Air Force One may have been a really, really dumb mistake, but I don't buy it.
In the first place, as everyone has noted, you don't need real planes to "update your photos". Anyone familiar with graphics could create this picture digitally in a few minutes, if you wanted this picture
And that's the first question:
Why in the hell would the gov't want
this picture? How in the hell would a 9/11-style picture be part of your media publicity packet? What would the caption be? "Lookie here! We're still vulnerable! You can get away with another 9/11 easily!"
The second question:
If it was just a photo-op, why was the fighter jet apparently trying to intercept the airliner? From what I've seen, the fighter looked fairly serious. I can't imagine the Air Force risking its aircraft and pilots on a just-for-fun gag shot.
This was either a real practice run (war game) or a real incident. Perhaps a pilot gone insane, rather than a real terrorist?