Karl Rove's account of 911 at Barksdale sketchy

By Fred Childers – bio|email

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) – On 9/11 Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City became part of history when Air Force One landed there.

"Make no mistake, the United States will hunt down and punish those responsible," President Bush promised on a taped address from one of the rooms on base.

It was only a matter of time before someone would write about it.

Karl Rove who was aboard Air Force One that day, released his book Courage and Consequence in March.

In it, he wrote "While watching local Shreveport television on the final approach to Barksdale we saw our plane appear with fighter escorts covering us."

But no stations in the Ark-La-Tex carried the approach, or the landing live.

"We were actually on the bridge, pointed that direction," freelance photographer, Scott Crane said while pointing in the direction of the base from I-20 in Bossier City.

Crane, and John Perkins are freelance photographers who heard about the arrival, and rushed to I-20 near Industrial Drive, to get the money shot.

"I think this is the only video of the plane coming or going that day," Crane said while holding up a video tape.

But they shot air force one leaving not approaching.

"It was a lucky shot I think because we didn't know when he was leaving we had no idea," said Crane.

KSLA NEWS 12 and other stations deny having any live coverage of air force one's approach.

"Nobody was here for that but we came around here and got the plane as it was headed to what we found out was Nebraska," said Perkins.

Interviews with Barksdale personnel following 911 confirm that Bush's arrival was a surprise for everyone, even top brass.

"We spent a very short amount of time scrambling, because when he said how soon are you going to be here, he replied very soon," said General Kurt Bedle, then Commander of 2nd Bomb Wing.

Rove writes in his book that initially, the Secret Service was concerned that the president's position had been compromised.

But even if there was a terrorist in Northwest Louisiana on 9/11 and he happened to be watching local television news. He wouldn't have seen Air Force One until 5 or 6 that night, that's when the footage actually aired from tape. By that time Air Force One would be long gone.

"They ran it that night on CBS Evening News, and you guys ran it a bunch that day," said Perkins.

Rove's claim can certainly be considered a slight misstep, but it's also a mischaracterization of the media's role that day, a day that would be written about, and read about, for generations.

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