Five U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors brought the London 2012 Opening Ceremonies to a halt when they roared over top of the Olympic Stadium during a musical number halfway through Friday's show.
Terrified performers and Olympic organizers fled the stadium floor, while the American athletes and fans in attendance stood and applauded.
The White House confirmed the flyover had occurred and was intentional.
"There are a billion people watching on television," President Obama was quoted in a White House press release. "It was a unique opportunity to remind everyone that we run things and can bomb the hell out of you if we want to. But it was mainly just for fun. Me and Dave Cameron are pals. I hope he took it well."
After the jets flew over the stadium and the White House informed British officials that it was merely an exercise, the Opening Ceremonies began again — albeit with much less energy.
"Look, we're no longer naive enough to believe that we are a world power," said one London 2012 official. "But it was incredibly humiliating for that to happen during the Opening Ceremonies. We just wanted to get the show over as quickly as possible after that."