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Re: [prezveepsenator] NYT: White House Knew of Levee's Failure on Night of Storm

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    The White House is in a deinite crisis. Libby impicated Cheney, the LA story about a 2002 attack is being debunked, the House joined the Senate in calling for
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 10, 2006
      The White House is in a deinite crisis. Libby
      impicated Cheney, the LA story about a 2002 attack is
      being debunked, the House joined the Senate in calling
      for hearings in the NSA spying scandal, Abramhoff says
      he hs met the President about a dozen times and was
      invited to the ranch, Bush flipflopped on the cartoon
      response, and Brownie is singing.. I wonder if Rove is
      bogged down in the Plame investigation and not minding
      the store.

      --- Ram Lau <ramlau@...> wrote:

      > White House Knew of Levee's Failure on Night of
      > Storm
      > By ERIC LIPTON
      > WASHINGTON, Feb. 9 — In the aftermath of Hurricane
      > Katrina, Bush
      > administration officials said they had been caught
      > by surprise when
      > they were told on Tuesday, Aug. 30, that a levee had
      > broken, allowing
      > floodwaters to engulf New Orleans.
      > But Congressional investigators have now learned
      > that an eyewitness
      > account of the flooding from a federal emergency
      > official reached the
      > Homeland Security Department's headquarters starting
      > at 9:27 p.m. the
      > day before, and the White House itself at midnight.
      > The Federal Emergency Management Agency official,
      > Marty Bahamonde,
      > first heard of a major levee breach Monday morning.
      > By late Monday
      > afternoon, Mr. Bahamonde had hitched a ride on a
      > Coast Guard
      > helicopter over the breach at the 17th Street Canal
      > to confirm the
      > extensive flooding. He then telephoned his report to
      > FEMA headquarters
      > in Washington, which notified the Homeland Security
      > Department.
      > "FYI from FEMA," said an e-mail message from the
      > agency's public
      > affairs staff describing the helicopter flight, sent
      > Monday night at
      > 9:27 to the chief of staff of Homeland Security
      > Secretary Michael
      > Chertoff and recently unearthed by investigators.
      > Conditions, the
      > message said, "are far more serious than media
      > reports are currently
      > reflecting. Finding extensive flooding and more
      > stranded people than
      > they had thought — also a number of fires."
      > Michael D. Brown, who was the director of FEMA until
      > he resigned under
      > pressure on Sept. 12, said in a telephone interview
      > Thursday that he
      > personally notified the White House of this news
      > that night, though he
      > declined to identify the official he spoke to.
      > White House officials have confirmed to
      > Congressional investigators
      > that the report of the levee break arrived there at
      > midnight, and
      > Trent Duffy, the White House spokesman, acknowledged
      > as much in an
      > interview this week, though he said it was
      > surrounded with conflicting
      > reports.
      > But the alert did not seem to register. Even the
      > next morning,
      > President Bush, on vacation in Texas, was feeling
      > relieved that New
      > Orleans had "dodged the bullet," he later recalled.
      > Mr. Chertoff,
      > similarly confident, flew Tuesday to Atlanta for a
      > briefing on avian
      > flu. With power out from the high winds and movement
      > limited, even
      > news reporters in New Orleans remained unaware of
      > the full extent of
      > the levee breaches until Tuesday.
      > The federal government let out a sigh of relief when
      > in fact it should
      > have been sounding an "all hands on deck" alarm, the
      > investigators
      > have found.
      > This chain of events, along with dozens of other
      > critical flashpoints
      > in the Hurricane Katrina saga, has for the first
      > time been laid out in
      > detail following five months of work by two
      > Congressional committees
      > that have assembled nearly 800,000 pages of
      > documents, testimony and
      > interviews from more than 250 witnesses.
      > Investigators now have the
      > documentation to pinpoint some of the fundamental
      > errors and
      > oversights that combined to produce what is
      > universally agreed to be a
      > flawed government response to the worst natural
      > disaster in modern
      > American history.
      > On Friday, Mr. Brown, the former FEMA director, is
      > scheduled to
      > testify before the Senate Homeland Security and
      > Governmental Affairs
      > Committee. He is expected to confirm that he
      > notified the White House
      > on that Monday, the day the hurricane hit, that the
      > levee had given
      > way, the city was flooding and his crews were
      > overwhelmed.
      > "There is no question in my mind that at the highest
      > levels of the
      > White House they understood how grave the situation
      > was," Mr. Brown
      > said in the interview.
      > The problem, he said, was the handicapping of FEMA
      > when it was turned
      > into a division of the Homeland Security Department
      > in 2003.
      > "The real story is with this new structure," he
      > said. "Why weren't
      > more things done, or what prevented or delayed Mike
      > Brown from being
      > able to do what he would have done and did do in any
      > other disaster?"
      > Although Mr. Bahamonde said in October that he had
      > notified Mr. Brown
      > that Monday, it was not known until recently what
      > Mr. Brown or the
      > Homeland Security Department did with that
      > information, or when the
      > White House was told.
      > Missteps at All Levels
      > It has been known since the earliest days of the
      > storm that all levels
      > of government — from the White House to the
      > Department of Homeland
      > Security to the Louisiana Capitol to New Orleans
      > City Hall — were
      > unprepared, uncommunicative and phlegmatic in
      > protecting Gulf Coast
      > residents from the floodwaters and their aftermath.
      > But an examination
      > of the latest evidence by The New York Times shines
      > a new light on the
      > key players involved in the important turning
      > points: what they said,
      > what they did and what they did not do, all of which
      > will soon be
      > written up in the committees' investigative reports.
      > Among the findings that emerge in the mass of
      > documents and testimony
      > were these:
      > ¶Federal officials knew long before the storm showed
      > up on the radar
      > that 100,000 people in New Orleans had no way to
      > escape a major
      > hurricane on their own and that the city had
      > finished only 10 percent
      > of a plan for how to evacuate its largely poor,
      > African-American
      > population.
      > ¶Mr. Chertoff failed to name a principal federal
      > official to oversee
      > the response before the hurricane arrived, an
      > omission a top Pentagon
      > official acknowledged to investigators complicated
      > the coordination of
      > the response. His department also did not plan
      > enough to prevent a
      > conflict over which agency should be in charge of
      > law enforcement
      > support. And Mr. Chertoff was either poorly informed
      > about the levee
      > break or did not recognize the significance of the
      > initial report
      > about it, investigators said.
      > ¶The Louisiana transportation secretary, Johnny B.
      > Bradberry, who had
      > legal responsibility for the evacuation of thousands
      > of people in
      > nursing homes and hospitals, admitted bluntly to
      > investigators, "We
      > put no plans in place to do any of this."
      > ¶Mayor C. Ray Nagin of New Orleans at first directed
      > his staff to
      === message truncated ===
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