Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Katrina the unexpected

No one could possibly have forseen the devastation that Katrina would have wreaked on the city of New Orleans.

Embattled former FEMA Director Michael Brown said, "I think we were all taken aback by the fact that the levees did break in so many places and caused such widespread devastation."

Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff said, "I will tell you that really that perfect storm of combination of catastrophes exceeded the foresight of the planners and maybe anybody's foresight."

And on Sept. 1, President Bush told "Good Morning America": ''I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees" that flooded New Orleans

yup, it really was a tragedy, and there was no way to tell, really. All totally unforseen - well, except for one minor detail.

On Aug. 27, two days before the storm made landfall, FEMA had prepared a slide presentation for White House officials. The FEMA slides said a Category 4 storm surge "could greatly overtop levees and protective systems." It's unclear who at the White House received this briefing or how its contents were distributed afterward.

and the response from the White House, is completely unexpected...

At a hearing today, Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., said the White House has maintained a "refusal to answer" stance regarding questions and document requests by congressional investigators looking at the federal government's response to Katrina.

"Almost every question our staff has asked federal agency witnesses regarding conversations with or involvement of the White House has been met with a response that they could not answer on direction of the White House," Lieberman said.

Naturally, everyone involved is trying to get to the bottom of this.

Former FEMA Director Michael Brown has said that he notified the White House of his concerns about the storm on the weekend before it struck. Lieberman said that in a meeting with congressional investigators yesterday, Brown was advised by agency lawyers not to answer specific questions about whether he'd spoken to President Bush and Vice President Cheney in the days leading up to the storm.



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