Tuesday, January 24, 2006

White House accused of withholding Katrina documents

Charges fly that Bush administration ignored hurricane warnings

Two days after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans and flooded more than 80 percent of the city, President Bush said in a TV interview, "I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees. ... Now we're having to deal with it, and will."

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff made similar comments. But according to documents released by Senate investigators on Monday, the White House was told in the hours before Katrina that the city would likely be inundated with floodwater, forcing the long-term relocation of hundreds of thousands of people. According to The New York Times, the Homeland Security Department report was submitted to the White House at 1:47 a.m. on August 29, just hours before the storm hit.

It said, "Any storm rated Category 4 or greater will likely lead to severe flooding and/or levee breaching."

In addition to the internal documents forwarded to the White House, two days before Katrina made landfall, Homeland Security Department officials also predicted that the hurricane's impact would be worse than a doomsday-like emergency planning exercise conducted in Louisiana in July 2004.

Sen. Joseph Lieberman charges that the White House is dodging questions about the Katrina response. The Connecticut lawmaker is the top Democrat on the Senate panel investigating the government's response to the hurricane. Lieberman also alleges that the White House instructed other agencies to join it in fending off investigators. The White House denies the allegations. To read the complete New York Times report, click here.

Related: Katrina evacuees face possible eviction

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Jane King said...

It will be interesting to watch this story develop. Thank you for stopping by my Blog.

Deb S. said...

Jane: Definitely. Stay tuned. Thanks for stopping by.

Rose said...

Can't wait to see the fallout of this one...