Of course, not content to let something worthwhile stand on its own, the White House saw the need to (once again) try to spin the trip as part of the Bush Mythos, by emphasising the secrecy and mystery of the trip - by lying through their teeth:
On the flight over [to Iraq], Air Force One had come within sight of a British Airways plane, Dan Bartlett, the White House communications director, told reporters on the trip, according to the transcript.
The British Airways pilot radioed over and asked, Mr. Bartlett said, "Did I just see Air Force One?" There was silence from the Air Force One pilot, who then replied, "Gulfstream 5."
There was a longer silence from the British Airways pilot, Mr. Bartlett said, who, seeming to get that he was in on a secret, then said, "Oh."
That's the supposedly liberal New York Times that regurgitated Bartlett's bald lie without scrutiny, by the way. And yes, it IS a lie:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - British Airways said on Monday that none of its pilots made contact with President Bush (news - web sites)'s plane during its secret flight to Baghdad, contradicting White House reports of a mid-air exchange that nearly prompted Bush to call off his trip.
Honor Verrier, a spokeswoman for British Airways in North America, said two BA aircraft were in the area at the time and neither radioed the president's plane to ask if it was Air Force One.
"We have spoken to the British Airways captains who were in the area at the time and neither made comments to Air Force One nor did they hear any other aircraft make the statement over the radio," Verrier said in response to a question from Reuters.
The White House had no immediate comment on the discrepancy.
Bush aides recounted with excitement last week the moment during the flight to Baghdad when they said a BA pilot thought he spotted the president's blue and white Boeing 747 from his cockpit.
This kind of transparent attempt at playing up the drama of Bush's every action is so institutionalized that the Wite House actually thinks it can just lie with abandon and that no one will fact-check them. But it's so trivially easy to do so that the failure of the NYT to even bother is the real surprise here.
The Bush Halo doesn't exist, but the apologists take its existence on faith.
UPDATE: more examples.