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Katrina: Michael Brown Blames Homeland Security

Former FEMA director Michael Brown testified before Congress today, despite Bush's attempt to block his testimony by asserting executive privilege. He blamed Homeland Security. Crooks and Liars has some video.

Mr. Brown said that homeland security officials were being regularly updated by reports delivered through video conference calls, and that he personally contacted White House officials.

"My obligation was to the White House and to make sure the president knows what's going on," he said, "and I did that." Mr. Brown's testimony provided the first detailed look into communications between emergency management officials and the White House.

He said claims the White House didn't know of the levee failures until the next day are "baloney."

Both President Bush and Michael Chertoff, the head of the Homeland Security Department, have said that they learned of levee breaks on Tuesday and that they came as a surprise. Administration officials have said that they meant that the situation had been obscured by what one White House spokesman called "the fog of war," and that Tuesday was when the reports were first confirmed.

The White House knew about the levee failure in New Orleans the night Katrina struck. You can read the docments in the New York Times. Testimony concerning the first report of a levee break is here(pdf).

Reddhedd at Firedoglake has her usual excellent analysis and points to this Katrina Timeline by Josh Marshall.

[Photo created exclusively for TalkLeft by CL.]

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  • Re: Katrina: Michael Brown Blames Homeland Securit (none / 0) (#1)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Feb 10, 2006 at 10:26:18 AM EST
    Strange. I watched the first part and he was asked if the WH had tried to invoke executive privilege. He said the WH had not. The Chairwoman said she had called and the WH did not. Did I miss something?

    Re: Katrina: Michael Brown Blames Homeland Securit (none / 0) (#2)
    by Punchy on Fri Feb 10, 2006 at 10:28:04 AM EST
    This has become quite standard: The Bush Administration has been found to be incompetent and lying about ______ (fill in the blank)(with one of maybe a dozen correct answer choices)

    Re: Katrina: Michael Brown Blames Homeland Securit (none / 0) (#3)
    by desertswine on Fri Feb 10, 2006 at 10:34:26 AM EST
    ...the situation had been obscured by what one White House spokesman called "the fog of war"...
    The fog of War? More like the fog in Bush's head.

    Re: Katrina: Michael Brown Blames Homeland Securit (none / 0) (#4)
    by rdandrea on Fri Feb 10, 2006 at 10:35:44 AM EST
    To quote Bugs Bunny, "What a maroon!" As director of FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Brown's job was to manage the emergency. Keeping your meal-ticket informed is what you do after you do what you get paid for.

    Re: Katrina: Michael Brown Blames Homeland Securit (none / 0) (#5)
    by Slado on Fri Feb 10, 2006 at 10:53:45 AM EST
    The Katrina disaster has become nothing but a political football. All parties failed, local, state and federal. For either party to blame only one of the participants will get us nowhere but hey why worry about that when you can blame president Bush, or the idiotic governor and mayor and score political points.

    Re: Katrina: Michael Brown Blames Homeland Securit (none / 0) (#6)
    by Jlvngstn on Fri Feb 10, 2006 at 11:07:12 AM EST
    As the New York Times reports from earlier in today's hearing, what Brown could answer and what he couldn't -- this morning and in private Hill questioning -- has undergone a good deal of discussion this week. "Mr. Brown said that Harriet Miers, the White House counsel, had written to him on Thursday asking him to continue to respect the confidentiality of discussions between high-level advisers to the president. "Senator Susan Collins, the Maine Republican, the committee's chairwoman, said that she had spoken to Ms. Miers on Thursday night, and that Ms. Miers had declined her invitation to assert executive privilege."

    Re: Katrina: Michael Brown Blames Homeland Securit (none / 0) (#7)
    by squeaky on Fri Feb 10, 2006 at 11:36:22 AM EST
    ppj-
    Strange.....
    Makes sense coming from you. From your point of view the WH has never lied, only Clinton lied. For the rest of us here it comes as no surprise that Bush and his pals lied. A regular occurrence. In fact when it turns out that Bush told the truth about something we are shocked. Neocon ideology demands that the elite group of leaders must lie in order to lead the masses. Lying is not only good, according to their doctrine, but it is imperative to maintain order and control.

    Re: Katrina: Michael Brown Blames Homeland Securit (none / 0) (#8)
    by ras on Fri Feb 10, 2006 at 12:33:51 PM EST
    The basic q's re levy failures and notifications have differing answers depending on which levies you're talking about. More than one levy failed, and at different times. I.E.:
    The downriver side of the Industrial Canal (Lower 9th, New Orleans East, Saint Bernard Parish) was battered and breached during the brunt of the Hurricane and the administration, from what I can tell, was aware of that early on. What they were not aware of right away (most everyone was not until early afternoon at the earliest on Monday landfall) were the breaches on the 17th Street Canal and the London Avenue Canal and the upriver side of the Industrial Canal, which breached AFTER the brunt of the storm had passed. Those latter three are what flooded all of New Orleans proper, including areas near downtown where the Superdome lies and where so much media coverage took place. It was not until well into the afternoon that waters rose into those areas and this is what the administration means when they were not aware of certain levee breaches until later on Monday and into Tuesday


    Re: Katrina: Michael Brown Blames Homeland Securit (none / 0) (#9)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Feb 10, 2006 at 12:52:34 PM EST
    Squaky - You need to focus and read a whole paragraph or two before running off in all directions. My comment was, as anyone would understand, that I found it strange that the post was saying that the WH was claiming executive privilege when Brown and Sen Collins were clearly saying the opposite. As to the rest of your rambligs, my only possible response can be... Say what???"

    Re: Katrina: Michael Brown Blames Homeland Securit (none / 0) (#10)
    by Patrick on Fri Feb 10, 2006 at 01:19:06 PM EST
    That's the way I heard it too. There was no pressure from the white house to have Brown not to testify using executive priviledge. Unless something changed from this AM.

    I'm betting that this is the end of Brownie's consulting contract.

    Re: Katrina: Michael Brown Blames Homeland Securit (none / 0) (#12)
    by marty on Fri Feb 10, 2006 at 02:56:15 PM EST
    I loved seeing Brown's statement that he felt "abandoned" by the WHite HOuse. Ha!.....welcome to reality, Brownie! Didn't you know that the Bush family has ONE value and that is LOYALTY...to them, not to principle, or the law, or the country. As long as you are loyal and useful to them, all's well...but once you become useless to them, they turn on you. You made your bed, Brownie....now lie in it.!

    Re: Katrina: Michael Brown Blames Homeland Securit (none / 0) (#13)
    by Sailor on Fri Feb 10, 2006 at 06:41:36 PM EST
    It's amazing how far some have sunk when not suppressing free speech is held as up as a sign of innocence.

    Re: Katrina: Michael Brown Blames Homeland Securit (none / 0) (#14)
    by squeaky on Fri Feb 10, 2006 at 06:59:04 PM EST
    ppj-If the WH had claimed executive privledge, as they threatened to, Brown would not have been heard.
    tried to invoke executive privilege
    tried is the key word here and could be replaced with threatened. Trying to do something is akin to an empty threat, . The WH lied by denying that executive privilege was never on the table. Brown told Bush that the WH would have to pay his legal fees if he was not allowed to talk.

    Re: Katrina: Michael Brown Blames Homeland Securit (none / 0) (#15)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Feb 10, 2006 at 08:04:23 PM EST
    Squeaky - Tried? That is not true.

    Re: Katrina: Michael Brown Blames Homeland Securit (none / 0) (#16)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Feb 10, 2006 at 08:06:23 PM EST
    sailor - Your side raised the issue.

    Re: Katrina: Michael Brown Blames Homeland Securit (none / 0) (#17)
    by squeaky on Fri Feb 10, 2006 at 08:16:07 PM EST
    PPj-tried not true? gosh are you actually being funny or am I imagining something here.

    I see that PPJ, slado, and ras are just trying to divert the discussion as usual. To minimize their ability to do that, just ignore them. If in doubt, ask yourself what was the value of their contributions here today. If you're thinking of scolling back up to check, I think you've already proved my point.

    Re: Katrina: Michael Brown Blames Homeland Securit (none / 0) (#19)
    by john horse on Sat Feb 11, 2006 at 05:27:27 AM EST
    ras, #1 The source of the information you provided was the notorious "an email from a friend". Good grief! Can't you do better than that? #2 Even then, you for some reason left off the last sentence of the email - "However, if email and other communication demonstrates that senior administration people did know about the 17th Street, London Avenue, and upriver side of the Industrial Canal in the early Monday afternoon, then there are some serious problems with previous administration remarks." #3 The question is whether the White House knew about the levee failure in New Orleans the night Katrina struck. According to Brown, they were told.

    Re: Katrina: Michael Brown Blames Homeland Securit (none / 0) (#20)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Feb 11, 2006 at 08:48:40 AM EST
    Squeaky - All I know is what I heard Brown and Senators Collins and Stevens say during the hearing. And they said no. Collins also noted that she had asked the WH if they wanted someone there, and the answer was no. What is it about "NO" don't you undersatnd?

    TL: "no" means "no"--provided the "no" has been effectively and clearly communicated...

    Re: Katrina: Michael Brown Blames Homeland Securit (none / 0) (#22)
    by squeaky on Sat Feb 11, 2006 at 09:03:19 AM EST
    ppj-your selective editing technique at work here again to propagate lies. As this has become your primary strategy for diversion, distraction and outright lying ir is now easy to spot.
    I watched the first part and he was asked if the WH had tried to invoke executive privilege.
    What you imply here is that Bush never considered invoking Executive privilege and if he did it was a momentary passing thought. That is a load of BS. Brown did not even know if he was going to be allowed to testify up until the last minute because what was on the table as the main course was Bush's threat to claim Executive Privilege. If your point is just that Brown said NO in response to the question of whether Bush tried to invoke Executive Privilege, then you are wasting TL bandwith with useless trivia. You may as well repeat idle chatter heard at your local hairdresser.

    Vast bureaucracy from the party of "small government": $100 billion Complete unsurprising failure of said bureaucracy under supervision of "government can't do anything right" party: $200 billion A couple thousand dead black people: Priceless.

    Re: Katrina: Michael Brown Blames Homeland Securit (none / 0) (#24)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Feb 11, 2006 at 11:51:07 AM EST
    punisher - Neither Collins or Brown used any weasle words. Squeaky - Senator Collins spoke of "last night." Guess "last minute" depends on your concept of what 60 seconds is. As for when Brown new what, I really don't know, and doubt that you do. As for considering, if we are ever judged by our thoughts, heaven help us.

    punisher - Neither Collins or Brown used any weasle words. I was just bein' cute.

    Re: Katrina: Michael Brown Blames Homeland Securit (none / 0) (#26)
    by squeaky on Sat Feb 11, 2006 at 12:07:07 PM EST
    ppj-How squirmy you get when caught out. Last minute rarely is used in reference to a literal 60 seconds. Here is a more usual understanding of the idiom
    just before a deadline; at the last minute; "last-minute arrangements"
    link Nice diversion.

    Now you scared PPJ away squeaky, you just can't use facts on the 'poor thing' as they say in Texas.......