Administration Stonewalls Katrina Investigation

by TChris

Even some Republicans are growing weary of the administration's efforts to stonewall any investigation that might shed light on its poor performance. Rep. Thomas Davis III leads a Congressional panel investigating the administration's response to Hurricane Katrina. On Sept. 30, the panel asked for "e-mail and other correspondence between officials in the White House and other agencies during the response to the hurricane, as well as agency documents dealing with specific preparations for and responses to Hurricane Katrina." A month would seem more than adequate to collect and produce that information, but the administration has stalled.

To his credit, Davis "threatened to issue subpoenas to compel administration officials to release the documents if they did not comply with the committee's request." The emails disclosed to date reveal that Michael Brown and his deputy director of public affairs at FEMA were more interested in Brown's dining plans and attire than the disaster at hand.

In an e-mail message sent on Aug. 29, the day the hurricane struck, Mr. Brown exchanged messages about his attire with Cindy Taylor, deputy director of public affairs at the agency, according to the report.

"My eyes must be deceiving me," Ms. Taylor wrote to him, apparently referring to public appearances he had made. "You look fabulous - and I'm not talking about the makeup."

Mr. Brown, in turn, responded: "I got it at Nordstroms ... Are you proud of me?" An hour later, he added: "If you'll look at my lovely FEMA attire you'll really vomit. I am a fashion god."

Democrats said that Mr. Brown also found time to e-mail his assistant to inquire about a sitter for his dog. "Do you know of anyone who dog-sits," he wrote on Aug. 30, the day after the hurricane struck. "If you know of any responsible kids, let me know. They can have the house to themselves Th-Su."

In another instance, on Aug. 29, he sent Ms. Taylor a message that Democrats said suggested he was overwhelmed. "Can I quit now," he wrote. "Can I come home?" A few days later, he wrote a similar message to an acquaintance, saying, "I am trapped now, please rescue me."

You've been rescued, Mr. Brown. Now it's time to rescue the rest of the country from the administration's incompetence. That process starts with a full investigation, whether or not the administration wants one.

< DOJ Report: 7 Million in U.S. Prisons | Libby's New Lawyers >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Re: Administration Stonewalls Katrina Investigatio (none / 0) (#37)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:35 PM EST
    Potty Mouth PIL - The Red Cross denial was on Wednesday morning. The state was in control, and even turned down an offer for FEMA to take over the following Friday, per the WaPost.
    Shortly before midnight Friday, the Bush administration sent her a proposed legal memorandum asking her to request a federal takeover of the evacuation of New Orleans, a source within the state's emergency operations center said Saturday. The administration sought unified control over all local police and state National Guard units reporting to the governor. Louisiana officials rejected the request after talks throughout the night, concerned that such a move would be comparable to a federal declaration of martial law. Some officials in the state suspected a political motive behind the request. "Quite frankly, if they'd been able to pull off taking it away from the locals, they then could have blamed everything on the locals," said the source, who does not have the authority to speak publicly.
    Wrong agin, eh Potty Mouth?

    Re: Administration Stonewalls Katrina Investigatio (none / 0) (#2)
    by Punchy on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:42 PM EST
    The Admin stonewalling an investigation? I'm shocked--SHOCKED--at this accusation. Question--what investigation/inquiry in the last 3 years have they NOT blocked/stonewalled or denied access to papers?

    meanwhile, no worries from TChris on how Berger should be punished for stuffing classified documents in his pants and shirt. In TChris' world, it's only bad if Republicans do it.

    Re: Administration Stonewalls Katrina Investigatio (none / 0) (#4)
    by desertswine on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:42 PM EST
    I am a fashion god.
    Well ya know ya gotta look good when you're running an agency into the ground.

    Re: Administration Stonewalls Katrina Investigatio (none / 0) (#5)
    by scarshapedstar on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:42 PM EST
    Jesus CHRIST. Can we please just kill this guy, or at least exile him, or something? Tar and feathers? Talking about makeup and shopping at Nordstrom while people are DYING? What the hell is wrong with this country?

    Re: Administration Stonewalls Katrina Investigatio (none / 0) (#6)
    by Sailor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:42 PM EST
    JR, try to stay on topic, the WH is stonewalling the Katrina investigation. What is your opinion on that?

    Re: Administration Stonewalls Katrina Investigatio (none / 0) (#7)
    by Dadler on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:42 PM EST
    James Robertson seems to think stuffing papers in your pocket is equivalent to a regional disaster that destroyed thousands of lives. It seems he lacks any kind of genuine intellect here.

    The attempt to criminalize poor performance is stupid and will come back to haunt the next Democratic president who faces a surprise disaster. Of course, when that happens, everyone here screaming for Brown's blood will be crying foul and claiming it is all just a fishing expedition, and everyone defending this administration will be crying for blood. The wheel does turn, but the hypocrisy of those on it never ends. How long did we have to wait for documents when they were demanded of the Clinton Administration? Days? Weeks? Months? Years? How long did it take Al Gore to cough up the e-mails relating to his illegal campaign fundraising? Oh yeah, he had conveniently set up the system so that e-mails were not recorded as required. (I wonder if the Bushies have thought of using that one?). How long did Ken Starr have to wait for Hillary's billing records? How many here will now jump up and claim that none of that matters, because this is Bush? So what? I never expected any better from Bush. Did you? Every time you cry foul over something Bush does but give a Democrat a pass on the same thing, you make it clear that impropriety is the least of your concerns. And for the record, Dadler, I don't think JR was equating stealing classified documents with failing to rise to a monumental challenge. The first is a intentional criminal offense, the second is simply poor performance.

    Yeah, Burger shouldn't have stuffed the papers in his pants. JR's mouth would have been a MUCH better place to stuff 'em. Competence and dealing with major disasters and saving (or losing) lives shouldn't be a partisan issue, but to JR, it is. What's next - a trip down memory lane to discuss Monica's dress?

    Re: Administration Stonewalls Katrina Investigatio (none / 0) (#10)
    by aw on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:42 PM EST
    The attempt to criminalize poor performance is stupid and will come back to haunt the next Democratic president who faces a surprise disaster.
    Where to begin? Who is trying to "criminalize" poor performance? The investigation is headed by a republican and I haven't heard about any "criminalization" until you brought it up. I've also never seen a Democratic president, or any president, who has screwed things up like Bush. Goddess willing, we never will again. Last: Surprise disaster? What part of this disaster, at least the natural disaster part, was a surprise to you? What made Katrina more of a surprise, than, say, Charley was?

    Justpaul and James Robertson-- Are either of you aware that Clinton hasn't been in office for half a decade? I only mention this because there seems to be some confusion about this point among Bush's apologists.

    charley and justpaul, Okay, but please explain what the hell Sandy Berger and Monica Lewinsky have to do with Michael Brown's Nero-esque dereliction of duty. While Americans were starving to death on American soil, Michael Brown was whining about makeup and his new dress and how his doggy needed a place to stay. That's the topic of this post. I can't ascertain the motives of charley and justpaul for wanting to derail it, but I can tell you this much: they ain't good. Vile, callous people to the very end.

    Re: Administration Stonewalls Katrina Investigatio (none / 0) (#13)
    by swingvote on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:42 PM EST
    AW, You've got Scar calling for Brown's death, making his incompetence equivalent to a capital offense, and you want to argue about word choices? Classic deflection ploy when you can't deal with the issues raised. As for "surprise disaster": So you knew ahead of time that Katrina was going to do the kind of damage it did? Why didn't you tell anyone? Scar, I think we have another victim for your impromptu gallows. AW has been holding out on all of us. And as for Democratic president's not screwing up as badly as the Bush team has: Clinton got off easy by comparison, but I don't remember any stellar federal performance after the WTC bombing, Oklahoma City, the embassy bombings, or the Cole. Maybe you can enlighten us all as to how that administration rose to the occasion. Molly, Get a grip, for once in your life. I am fully aware that Clinton is out of office, but that doesn't change the fact that you almost certainly spent the majority of the 90s making excuses for the man when he was accused of the same kind of crap Democrats are throwing at Bush. We waited years for Hillary's billing records in a criminal investigation, and not one Democrat complained when it became patently obvious that they had been kept hidden in the Whitehouse itself. Yet here we are, asked to become upset because investigators into a policy foul up don't have the records they asked for two months later. We still don't have Al Gore's e-mails even after 9 years because Al so conveniently failed to have them recorded as required. Even today, that former administration is stonewalling a federal investigation into the illegal use of the IRS to harass political opponents, filing one stupid motion after another to stop an already written IC report from seeing the light of day. Sure, they're gone from office, but that doesn't mean we should forget about what they did and are still doing, anymore than we should ignore what Bush has done come January 21, 2009. Finally, I defy you to find a single apology for Bush in what I wrote above. Your inability to grasp that someone could take issue with both sides of this stupid debate is mindboggling. But I guess that's what happens when you drink so deeply from the liberal kool-aid bowl. You lose all ability to differentiate between what people say and what you wish them to have said.

    There's an old saying the goes something like "Don't attribute to malfeasance what could better be explained by stupidity." I doubt Brown decided to intentionally "starve Americans to death." As a side note, did evacuees actually starve to death as a result of Brown's (in)actions? Anyway, while I certainly understand the reasons behind anyone "stonewalling" an investigation that may cast them in a really bad light, absent politics, the importance of our nation's disaster response ability should outweigh any desire to "stonewall." Sadly for our nation, it's all about politics, from both sides of the aisle.

    Re: Administration Stonewalls Katrina Investigatio (none / 0) (#15)
    by swingvote on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:42 PM EST
    Scar, How many times do you intend to jump to the "derail" whine to avoid dealing with the issues raised? My reference to Sandy Berger was made only in response to yet another assinine attack from Dadler. You'll have to ask JR why he raised the subject in the first place. I haven't mentioned Monica at all. So what we have here is just another whine about how the conversation isn't going your way, based on claims that I said things I didn't say. You must have been a lot of fun as a kid, always running home with the ball when you found yourself losing the game. The topic of this thread is the "stonewalling" of this administration with regard to a request for documents. I put that word in quotes because with less than 3 months having passed, it's at least debatable as to whether this is actually stonewalling or just another example of incompetence from an incompetent administration. What is not debatable is that the left is taking its hypocrisy to grand new heights by demanding every document be produced post haste after spending 8 years supporting the former administration's efforts to deny every document request sent its way, even when it was attached to a subpeona. But hey, maybe I should just be glad that you have finally woken up to how politicians lie to us all and hide the facts. If so, I look forward to your future denunciations (and calls for blood) when the next President Clinton fails to provide documents within a given time frame.

    Oh, so that's what this is about. Sorry, I was more offended by the contents of the memos, which revealed Brownie to have the mental capacity of a 14-year-old girl, than the stonewalling. I guess that now I see why the fuss over Pantsgate. Nevertheless, it sure seems like water over the levee at this point, at least if you happen to live next to Lake Pontchartrain. I guess I can see why people in less disaster-stricken areas than I see no difference between a thousand lives and my favorite city lost two months ago and a couple papers shoved in some guy's pants at the end of the last century... well, no, I can't. Tell you what, go to New Orleans and read Michael Brown's emails to someone, and after they resume breathing normally, tell them "but hey, remember when Sandy Berger shoved those papers in his pants? you don't got it so bad!" and be sure to get a picture of their bewilderment. Because, man, it's gonna be priceless.

    Re: Administration Stonewalls Katrina Investigatio (none / 0) (#17)
    by cpinva on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:42 PM EST
    hmmmm, let's see if i have this straight: a sitting president, who has presided over and/or created disaster after disaster, refuses to provide documents, to members of his own party, that might shed some light on whatever thought process has gone into the decision making behind said disasters, shouldn't be castigated, because a president, not in office for five years, was hounded by a jauver-like independent counsel for years? said independent counsel, having spent around 70 million tax-payer dollars, could only come up with lies about a bj in the oval office, to show for his efforts. said former president, and his wife, asked to provide, constantly, voluminous records, dealing with issues having nothing to do with said presidency, took longer than some felt was necessary. none of this had any potential impact on national security. oh, one former official, of the former president's administration, stupidly stuffed classified documents, which he had legal access to, in his shirt or pants or whatever. all this has nothing whatever to do with the present circumstances. that about some it up, JR, JP & charley? why does JR bring up issues totally ungermaine to the actual thread? who the F*** knows? he has no brain? he's ADHD? you make the call! actually, some of us dem types got tired of the constant investigation of the clinton administration, especially as it became more and more apparent that it was wholely political, and had nothing to do with how they were actually doing the job. you can thank newt gingrich and ken starr for that.

    Re: Administration Stonewalls Katrina Investigatio (none / 0) (#18)
    by Slado on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:42 PM EST
    I was listening to the right wing radio network NPR yesterday and it turns out that the real reason NO flooded was because the leve's weren't built properly. In some portions of NO the pilons are 25ft deep but where the leves broke they are only 14ft deep. Turns out that more then likely the contractors cut costs when they built them. This was done years ago and all the harping in the world won't make it Bush's or Browns fault. NO should never have flooded if this report by NPR is true. Now we know the media hysteria got the death toll wrong, the toxic soup wrong and now the bit about innefficent leve funding wrong. Who's fault is it now?

    Re: Administration Stonewalls Katrina Investigatio (none / 0) (#19)
    by roger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:42 PM EST
    Shorter JR and Charley, People screwed up in the past, so everyone from now on should screw things up too.

    Re: Administration Stonewalls Katrina Investigatio (none / 0) (#20)
    by Slado on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:42 PM EST
    NPR Story Here's the link that refers to the flawed walls. Looks like after listening again that even at a Category 3 the city shoulnd't have flooded.

    Re: Administration Stonewalls Katrina Investigatio (none / 0) (#21)
    by desertswine on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:42 PM EST
    ..which revealed Brownie to have the mental capacity of a 14-year-old girl...
    Certainly this is an insult to all 14 year old girls everywhere.

    So, I guess the Bush Administration was never ever asked to do something about levees in the New Orleans area?

    Re: Administration Stonewalls Katrina Investigatio (none / 0) (#23)
    by Slado on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:43 PM EST
    Ace Sure they were. But the point of the story is that leve's they thought were fine weren't and nobody knew until they broke. You shouldn't blame the fire department for not showing up fast enough when you light your own house on fire.

    These are PRICELESS!
    Posted by justpaul: The attempt to criminalize poor performance is stupid and will come back to haunt the next Democratic president who faces a surprise disaster. As for "surprise disaster": So you knew ahead of time that Katrina was going to do the kind of damage it did? Why didn't you tell anyone?
    I'm going to laugh for a week about these absurdities. The 'surprise disaster' was nominating a head for FEMA who was utterly unqualified. A bureaucrat, in violation of Pres. Carter's PROMISE TO AMERICA that FEMA would always have an emergency worker as head. The 'surprise disaster' was removing FEMA from the Cabinet, and putting it under Chertoff, who bragged for weeks that he wasn't qualified for the job, and doubted if he could handle it. Mission Accomplished, Chertie. The 'surprise disaster' was treating black residents like animals, while clearing the way for a HUGE white supremacist takeover of New Orleans, using federal troops, and ARMED MERCENARIES from Bush-backer Blackwater. Justpaul, you are but a shadow of your own arse, and a pair of teeth. Keep spinning.

    So, no one before the hurricane thought the levees had a chance of being breached? (Haven't we gone over this?) So, the levees prevented Michael Brown from doing *anything* for New Orleans August 29?

    What response did FEMA give during any response period, first, second, third, fourth, etc.? Seriously? It's tough to see what they did do in New Orleans. We know FEMA sent willing aid trucks away from New Orleans....

    Posted by charley: "FEMA was never meant to be a first responder." O'Reilly. I guess that's why FEMA didn't allow first responders into the area.
    This year (2005) it was announced that FEMA is to "officially" lose the disaster preparedness function that it has had since its creation. The move is a death blow to an agency that was already on life support. In fact, FEMA employees have been directed not to become involved in disaster preparedness functions, since a new directorate (yet to be established) will have that mission. --Eric Holdeman. director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.
    Carter's three promises all dismantled by Bush, who turned FEMA into an insurance scam. That's what Brownie was hired for. If he can get dinner and a dog walker -- he's on it, Danno. Just like Georgie, who doesn't watch the weather channel when he is playing gitar in San Diego. Like the 2025 military funerals he has missed. He is a Good Time Charlie. Two wars and 350+ days of vacation -- it's hard work being morally vacant. Especially when the Corporate Deity keeps yelling in your ear.

    Re: Administration Stonewalls Katrina Investigatio (none / 0) (#28)
    by Al on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:43 PM EST
    Shorter JR: ...stonewalling...incompetence...Arabian horses...oh look! Over there! Sandy Berger! Where's PPJ? Isn't this his job?

    Re: Administration Stonewalls Katrina Investigatio (none / 0) (#29)
    by Sailor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:44 PM EST
    So it's all NO's fault that the ACE built bad levies? And the crooked pols are what kept FEBBLES response from happening. And just 'cause they were dems. Oddly enough, Gov perry from texass had a few words to say about the resonse his state got:
    On Tuesday, Gov. Rick Perry and Mayor Bill White assailed the hurricane recovery efforts of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, part of Homeland Security, in Texas and Houston.

    Re: Administration Stonewalls Katrina Investigatio (none / 0) (#30)
    by Sailor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:44 PM EST
    Oh, and BTW, while brownie was preening about his suits, the NWS was saying:



    See Fed agencies can get it right ... as long as bush doesn't appoint them.

    The other HILARITY was the HalliFEMA Ice Caravan. Semis loaded with ice in expensive refrigerated trucks drove the entire continental US in search of an offramp that led anywhere toward Louisiana. Why were they diverted from their preplanned deployment? Did you miss it?
    (Senate committee, paraphrased): "Why did FEMA fail to deliver ice into New Orleans?" Brownie: "Well, Senator, I don't think the federal government should be involved in supplying ice for people's sodas and beers." Senator: "How about dead bodies?" Brownie: "Pardon?" Senator: "Ice. Ice for icing down dead bodies." Brownie: "(dialtone)."
    That hadn't OCCURED to him. A Senator then noted that ICE is made out of WATER. Ice is in fact the best medicine for elderly victims of a catastrophe in hot weather. Brownie, Al Franken said, should be on suicide watch, for when it sinks in. That Al Franken, always the optimist.

    "We've done jobs for FEMA before, but never to this extent where you sit and sit and sit. I just drove 1,300 miles to dump ice in Gloucester. This has to be the stupidest thing I have ever done." Portland, Maine is also expecting nearly 200 trucks to be idling in their city by the end of the week. A FEMA spokeswoman said of the fiasco, "Sometimes we have more ice and water that was ordered than is necessary. ... Unfortunately the truckers don't quite understand that."
    Hey, at least they weren't delivering Sailboat Fuel Brownie's comment in the Senate shows that it wasn't that they ordered too much -- it was that management DIDN'T KNOW WHAT IT WAS FOR.

    Re: Administration Stonewalls Katrina Investigatio (none / 0) (#33)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:44 PM EST
    PIL writes:
    O'Reilly. I guess that's why FEMA didn't allow first responders into the area.
    PIL, your BS allowance is all used up. the Red Cross "had prepositioned water, food, blankets and hygiene products for delivery to the Superdome and the Convention Center in the immediate aftermath of the hurricane, but were blocked from delivering those supplies by orders of the Louisiana state government, And we have the case of the blocked portal hospitals by the state of LA. And we have the small matter of some actual facts.
    Jason van Steenwyk is a Florida Army National Guardsman who has been mobilized six times for hurricane relief. He notes that: "The federal government pretty much met its standard time lines, but the volume of support provided during the 72-96 hour was unprecedented. The federal response here was faster than Hugo, faster than Andrew, faster than Iniki, faster than Francine and Jeanne."
    It is high noon, PIL, and you have just been caught again making statements that are proved untrue. Now, how about telling us about those seven guys you stared down???

    Jim's Repeat-a-Lie CD-player just keep on turning. How can supplies be blocked by the state gov't when they TURNED OVER THE RELIEF TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, as has been pointed out to you, Jim, about a million times. As for the seven guys, including one big Marine, with a mixture of backing off and ridicule six got back into their cars. The seventh, who was on foot and beer-drunk, clipped me. No big deal, but drunks are the hardest people to protest. Thanks for asking. And, btw, I'm not impressed with your regurgitated lies from spin central, Jim. The fact that you aren't hopping mad about mercenaries being deployed on US soil tells me all there is to know about your values.

    Re: Administration Stonewalls Katrina Investigatio (none / 0) (#35)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:45 PM EST
    PIL - So, you stared down six and one hit you? Come on, PIL you can do better... How about... You lipped off to a dude at the corner Dairy Queen and he hit you and then he was restrained by six guys.... You write:
    The fact that you aren't hopping mad about mercenaries being deployed on US soil tells me all there is to know about your values
    Sounds like you could have used some private security guards yourself... ;-) BTW - All I know is what I read on the Internet. Of course anything critical of the Left is racist lies.. That is, acccording to PIL.

    So says a racist liar.

    Os aconsejo uno de los ultimos post del blog de Lourdes Muñoz, la parlamentaria española que quedo atrapada en New Orleans. 12 Consejos en una catastrofe por James Nolan . Son las conclusiones de este escritor de New Orlenans después de pasar el Katrina, y especialmente de estar en una situación límite sin atención de las autoridades. A todos nos puede servir, ya que no sabemos que nos puede pasar, y sobre todo donde nos puede "pillar" una catastrofe.

    PIL, translation please?

    For the record, the above is not a snark. PIL speaks spanish...

    Re: Administration Stonewalls Katrina Investigatio (none / 0) (#41)
    by Edger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:14 PM EST
    Perhaps they have some good(?) reasons to want to stonewall any investigations:
    NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 2, 2005 (CBS/AP) New fears struck Friday morning in New Orleans, as explosions rocked the riverfront a few miles south of the French Quarter. The cause of the blasts at about 4:35 a.m. and the extent of any possible damage is not yet known. An initial explosion sent flames of red and orange shooting into the pre-dawn sky. A series of smaller blasts followed and then acrid, black smoke that could be seen even in the dark. The vibrations were felt all the way downtown. The explosions appeared to originate close to the east bank of the Mississippi River, near a residential area and rail tracks...
    BBC News - Friday, 2 September 2005 New Orleans rocked by huge blasts The New Orleans riverfront has been hit by a series of massive blasts, and fires are raging in the area...
    Google: "new orleans" + explosions