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Rocketta
Sep 27th, 2005, 06:21 PM
Former FEMA Director Blames Others

By LARA JAKES JORDAN, Associated Press Writer 6 minutes ago



Former FEMA director Michael Brown blamed others for most government failures in responding to Hurricane Katrina on Tuesday, especially Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin. He aggressively defended his own role.

Brown also said that in the days before the storm, he expressed his concerns that "this is going to be a bad one" in phone conversations and e-mails with President Bush, White House chief of staff Andy Card and deputy chief of staff Joe Hagin.

And he blamed the Department of Homeland Security, the parent agency for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, for not acquiring better equipment ahead of the storm.

His efforts to shift blame drew sharp criticism from Democratic and Republican lawmakers alike.

"I'm happy you left," said Rep. Christopher Shays (news, bio, voting record), R-Conn. "That kind of look in the lights like a deer tells me you weren't capable of doing that job."

Rep. Gene Taylor (news, bio, voting record), D-Miss., told Brown: "The disconnect was, people thought there was some federal expertise out there. There wasn't. Not from you."

Brown appeared before a special

congressional panel set up by House Republican leaders to investigate the catastrophe.

"My biggest mistake was not recognizing by Saturday that Louisiana was dysfunctional," two days before the storm hit, Brown told the panel.

Brown, who for many became a symbol of government failures in the natural disaster that claimed the lives of more than 1,000 people, rejected accusations that he was too inexperienced for the job.

"I've overseen over 150 presidentially declared disasters. I know what I'm doing, and I think I do a pretty darn good job of it," he said.

Brown resigned as the head of FEMA earlier this month after being removed by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff from responsibility in the stricken areas. Brown will remain on the FEMA payroll for two more weeks, advising the agency, said Russ Knocke, spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security.

Brown, who joined FEMA in 2001 and ran it for more than two years, was previously an attorney who held several local government and private posts, including leading the International Arabian Horse Association.

Brown's testimony drew a scathing response from Rep. William Jefferson (news, bio, voting record), D-La.

"I find it absolutely stunning that this hearing would start out with you, Mr. Brown, laying the blame for FEMA's failings at the feet of the governor of Louisiana and the Mayor of New Orleans."

And in a testy exchange, Shays compared Brown's performance unfavorably with that of former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

"So I guess you want me to be the superhero, to step in there and take everyone out of New Orleans," Brown said.



"What I wanted you to do is do your job and coordinate," Shays retorted.

"I'm happy to be called not a Rudy Giuliani...a scapegoat ... if it means that FEMA that I knew when I came here is going to be able to be reborn," Brown said.

Criticized by Shays for not acquiring better equipment in advance that would have let different emergency agencies communicate with each other, Brown blamed the Department of Homeland Security.

"We put that money in our budget request and it was removed by the Department of Homeland Security" before the budget was finalized, he said.

Brown also said he was "just tired and misspoke" when a television interviewer appeared to be the first to tell him that there were desperate residents at the New Orleans Convention Center.

Brown testified that he had already learned, one day before the interview, that people were flocking to the center.

Brown in his opening statement said he had made several "specific mistakes" in dealing with the storm, and listed two.

One, he said, was not having more media briefings.

As to the other, he said: "I very strongly personally regret that I was unable to persuade Gov. Blanco and Mayor Nagin to sit down, get over their differences, and work together. I just couldn't pull that off."

Both Blanco and Nagin are Democrats.

In Baton Rouge, La., Blanco's press secretary, Denise Bottcher, ridiculed Brown's line of attack. "Mike Brown wasn't engaged then, and he surely isn't now. He should have been watching CNN instead of the Disney Channel," Bottcher said.

"The people of FEMA are being tired of being beat up, and they don't deserve it," Brown said.

The hearing was largely boycotted by Democrats, who want an independent investigation conducted into government failures, not one run by congressional Republicans.

But several Democrats from the stricken region, including Jefferson and Taylor, attended.

Committee Chairman Tom Davis, R-Va., cautioned against too narrowly assigning blame.

"At the end of the day, I suspect that we'll find that government at all levels failed the people of Louisiana and Mississippi and Alabama and the Gulf Coast," said Davis.

He pushed Brown on what he and the agency he led should have done to evacuate New Orleans, restore order in the city and improve communication among law enforcement agencies.

Brown said: "Those are not FEMA roles. FEMA doesn't evacuate communities. FEMA does not do law enforcement. FEMA does not do communications."

In part of his testimony, Brown pumped his hand up and down for emphasis.

Brown said the lack of an effective evacuation of New Orleans before the storm was "the tipping point for all the other things that went wrong." He said he had personally pushed Blanco to order such an evacuation.

He did not have the authority to order the city evacuated on his own, Brown said. A "mandatory" evacuation was ordered Sunday by Nagin, the mayor. However, buses were not provided and thousands of residents were stranded without transportation in low-lying areas. When asked by Rep. Harold Rogers (news, bio, voting record), R-Ky, whether the lack of an ordered evacuation was "the proximate cause of most people's misery," Brown said, "Yes."

Rocketta
Sep 27th, 2005, 06:27 PM
Well I sure hate I missed that.......I bet there were some serious laughs to be had.....and is it any surprise that he would put the blame mainly on others? :tape:

tennisbum79
Sep 27th, 2005, 07:14 PM
Like the director of CIA and the president the Irak Provincial Authority,he is due for a medal soon at the White House.

They all have the same career path:

yes men to the president
hailed as great american for doing a great job
incompetence
forced out,resigned or fired
Finall awarded medals by the president despite question around their competence. Brown's turn to complete his career in the Bush administration by get his medal

tennisbum79
Sep 27th, 2005, 07:20 PM
He particarly blamed the governor of LA and mayor of New Orleans.
In constrat, he claimed everything worked well in Mississipi as planned.
Because the democrats boycotted the hearing, he did not get grilled and asked to clarify some contradiction in his testimony.
There were only 2 democats from the concerned state, but they do not normally seat on this commitee.

Fingon
Sep 27th, 2005, 08:05 PM
He particarly blamed the governor of LA and mayor of New Orleans.
In constrat, he claimed everything worked well in Mississipi as planned.
Because the democrats boycotted the hearing, he did not get grilled and asked to clarify some contradiction in his testimony.
There were only 2 democats from the concerned state, but they do not normally seat on this commitee.
if I had any doubts before (and I didn't), this would convince me this guy is an idiot, and an incompetent.
His job was to provide emergency relief and assistance, he was the boss so he can't blame others.
That's something that even Bush knows well, you can delegate authority, not responsiblity.
whatever the governor or LA or the mayor did to make the situation better or worse is irrelevant, his job was still to provide swift and adequate reponse. Nobody blames him for the losses on themselves, but for his failure to act as he was supposed to act. The the governor or the mayor acted wrong, that's another matter and has nothing to do with him.
And if he thought they were disrupting FEMA's work, then HIS job was to elevate the issue inmmediately and get them to collaborate.
If you need any more proof he WASN'T qualified, then you have this.
In addition, I don't think he is qualified for ANY important position where you have to make decisions, they said he had no experience in emergency management, he has no experience in management and he should be banned from any public position because he is a danger for the public

Black Mamba.
Sep 27th, 2005, 08:14 PM
Scapegoating is an American political tradition. Always blame folks when you screw up and take all the credit when things go well. The funny part about his testimony was that the majority Republican panel wasn't buying his ish. Everyone has eyes and the scene in NO was awful and the spin job won't work this time. We sat helplessly watching our TV's while Brown said he wasn't aware of the situation at the convention center. If I knew what was going down at the convention center why can't he?

tennisbum79
Sep 27th, 2005, 08:23 PM
And if he thought they were disrupting FEMA's work, then HIS job was to elevate the issue inmmediately and get them to collaborate.

He has a different and consistent approach to this.
He is statisfied if he feels he did everything he could and but did not succeed.
He made this point over and over again when he was asked why he did not correct the inedequacy in the agency when he realized things were wrong.
He said he will sleep well at night because he knows he did everything he could.

That is exactly what he is driving at with regard to the governor and mayor.
He could NOT convince them to work together, but since he did his best, he has nothing to be ashamed of. He does not feel responsible for the ultimate failure.

Finally, he has very thin skin. That may explain why nobody on his staff could not tell him that he was doing a lousy job.
One of two things he is willing to take responsiblity for: he did a bad job at communicating to the media what was going on. He considers this a public relation contest, not saving lives



If you need any more proof he WASN'T qualified, then you have this.
In addition, I don't think he is qualified for ANY important position where you have to make decisions, they said he had no experience in emergency management, he has no experience in management and he should be banned from any public position because he is a danger for the public

He was very feisty and vocal when it came to defending his qualifications.
I just wished he had shown the same kind of resolve doing his job.

Fingon
Sep 27th, 2005, 09:46 PM
He has a different and consistent approach to this.
He is statisfied if he feels he did everything he could and did not succeed.
He made this point when he was asked why he did not correct the inedequacy in the agency when he realized things were wrong.
He said he will sleep well at night because he knows he did everything he could.

That is exactly what he is driving at with regard to the governor and mayor.
He could convince them to work together, but since he did his best, he has nothing to be ashamed of. He does not feel responsible for the ultimate failure.

Finally, he has very thin skin. That may explain why nobody on his staff could not tell him that he was doing a lousy job.
One of two thing he is willing to take respoonsiblity for: he did a bad job at communicatin to the media what going on. He considers this a public relation contest, not saving lives





He was very feisty and vocal when it came to defending his qualifications.
I just wished he had shown the same kind of resolve doing his job.

so do we agree he is an idiot and an asshole?

SelesFan70
Sep 27th, 2005, 09:59 PM
They're all to blame. To suggest otherwise is foolish and blindly following along with the Democrats or Republicans, depending on whom you're blaming.

Infiniti2001
Sep 27th, 2005, 10:00 PM
What did anyone expect from someone who previously supervised judges at horse shows?? I mean, the dude was clueless about his job :lol: Meanwhile did ya'll know that the head of the Food & Drug administration was a veternarian?? :lol: He suddenly resigned last week :tape:

Staticbeef
Sep 27th, 2005, 10:15 PM
What did anyone expect from someone who previously supervised judges at horse shows?? I mean, the dude was clueless about his job :lol: Meanwhile did ya'll know that the head of the Food & Drug administration was a veternarian?? :lol: He suddenly resigned last week :tape:

:wavey: lol, Homey, tried to cop an attitude, too funny. I would love to strand his ass somewhere then come get him 5 days later, like in harlem. :devil:

Pureracket
Sep 27th, 2005, 10:30 PM
They're all to blame. To suggest otherwise is foolish and blindly following along with the Democrats or Republicans, depending on whom you're blaming.Hmm. . .why do you think he resigned, then?

Scotso
Sep 27th, 2005, 11:05 PM
Execute him.

tennisbum79
Sep 28th, 2005, 01:19 AM
so do we agree he is an idiot and an asshole?
Yes, but something needs to be done to weed out people like him in key positions of the Bush administration. A talking head and former political consultant pointed out that his kind usually ends up in some obscure Commerce department position or ambassador to Lichtenstein or Iceland.
So he must really have close relationship with someone in the Bush administration to be rewarded with a sensitive job of such high visibility

lakeway11
Sep 28th, 2005, 01:37 AM
if I had any doubts before (and I didn't), this would convince me this guy is an idiot, and an incompetent.


he might even be worse than this

wta_zuperfann
Sep 28th, 2005, 04:01 AM
When it comes to personal responsibility and accountability, you can always count on the RePUKEblicans to blame everyone else for the problems they cause. It's a wonder that they haven't blamed Clinton for this mess - well, at least not yet.

tennisbum79
Sep 28th, 2005, 04:09 AM
It's a wonder that they haven't blamed Clinton for this mess - well, at least not yet.

Not so fast, I bet Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh are doing research now to find out how the Clintons (Bill and/or Hillary) recommended Mike Brown.

In the first 2 years of this second term, Sean Hannity was still blaming the recession on Clinton.

wta_zuperfann
Sep 28th, 2005, 04:18 AM
It's a wonder that they haven't blamed him for the London Fire of 1666 or of the Fall in the Garden of Eden.

Well, they may have but I'm not aware of it.

Black Mamba.
Sep 28th, 2005, 04:35 AM
If this guy feels he did such a great job then why doesn't he go to the Astrodome and anywhere else evacuees are at and tell them that.