Brown blames White House

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September 30th, 2019

Category: 苏州半永久

Michael Brown, who was the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast on last August, told a US Senate panel investigating the government’s slow response to the disaster that he had personally alerted the White House on the night the storm hit.

苏州半永久

He dismissed claims by agency officials that they did not know about the severity of the damage until the day after he did.

Mr Brown said he had phoned White House deputy chief of staff Joe Hagin on Monday night, telling him of the destruction under way after a FEMA official had reported seeing breached levees during helicopter overflights of the Louisiana city.

“I think I told him that we were realizing our worst nightmare, that everything we had planned about, worried about, that FEMA, frankly, had worried about for about 10 years was coming true,” he said.

Mr Brown, who quit under fire days after the storm hit, said he agreed with descriptions of himself as a scapegoat.

He suggested that the administration’s fixation with fighting terrorism could be in part to blame for the slow government response, describing natural disasters as the “stepchild” of the Department of Homeland Security.

He said if there had been a report that a terrorist had blown up the 17th Street Canal levee, then action would have been taken immediately.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee was told that Mr Brown had fought for emergency aid for New Orleans and was “as frustrated as everyone” over the slowness of the response.

“I was screaming and cussing,” he said, adding that he had pushed the appropriate officials to do everything they humanly could.

Homeland Security officials have told the committee they did not know the extent of the disaster until Tuesday, however Mr Brown dismissed the assertions as “disingenuous” and “baloney”.

Much of the blame for the mishandling of the disaster fell to Mr Brown in the days after the hurricane struck.

Critics say the administration’s response was too little and too late, and contributed to the loss of more than 1,300 lives in four states, including 1,100 in New Orleans and the state of Louisiana.

The debacle undermined public confidence in President Bush’s leadership abilities and contributed to a decline in his opinion poll ratings.

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