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rodeodance Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 11:00 AM
Original message
Brown's Revisionist History
I got as an email a bit ago.
Great summary with clickable longer stories at website.

------- Original Message --------
Subject: Progress Report: Brown's Revisionist History
Date: Wed, 28 Sep 2005 08:16:06 -0700
From: American Progress Action Fund < >
To: xxxxx
Brown's Revisionist History

In testimony yesterday before a special congressional panel investigating the response to Hurricane Katrina, former FEMA director Michael Brown made a "fiery appearance" that attempted to shift blame away from the federal government. There were few facts to back up Brown's testimony, so consequently, he engaged in revisionist history. Overall, Brown's testimony illustrated he was an incompetent administrator who never should have been hired in the first place.

BROWN REPEATEDLY CONTRADICTS HIMSELF: Brown made a number of statements in his testimony yesterday that conflicted with previous statements he had given. For instance, Brown said that FEMA was stretched beyond its capabilities because, "over the past few years, has lost a lot of manpower." But in September 2004, CNN's Wolf Blitzer asked Brown whether his agency was prepared to deal with hurricanes hitting Florida. Brown said, "We absolutely are. We have all the manpower and resources we need. President Bush has been a very great supporter of FEMA." Also, Brown defiantly stated, "FEMA doesn't evacuate communities." But in the midst of the hurricane aftermath, Brown said on CNN that FEMA was conducting "rescue missions" and would "continue to evacuate all of the hospitals." Furthermore, Brown said FEMA suffered "emaciation" because anti-terror operations had become a priority for the administration. But on CNN (8/16/04), Brown said, FEMA had "proven that we're up to the task" of responding to both terrorism and natural disasters.

BROWN'S BIG LIE: Under questioning by Rep. Steve Buyer (R-IN), Brown suggested that Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco (D) had failed to issue an emergency assistance declaration for Orleans Parish, which includes New Orleans. Buyer asked, "Since you went through the exercise in Pam, was that not shocking to you that the governor would have excluded New Orleans from the declaration?" Brown said, "Yes," and that FEMA had questioned Blanco's decision. But Blanco's emergency declaration on August 27 was for all "affected areas" in "southeastern parishes including the New Orleans Metropolitan area."

AN INCOMPETENT ADMINISTRATOR: From the beginning of the hearing, Brown was on the defensive about his lack of credentials for the FEMA director position. Brown blasted a blog site called for spreading "defamatory statements" about him. But Brown confirmed that much of his experience in disaster preparedness came as "an intern while was in undergraduate school in the city of Edmond, Oklahoma" and as "an assistant to the city manager," not the "Assistant City Manager" he claimed to be on his official biography on FEMA's website. Under questioning by Rep. Chris Shays (R-CT), Brown said he coordinated the evacuation of New Orleans merely by "urging the governor and the mayor to order the mandatory evacuation." When Shays suggested that was not enough, Brown asked, "What would you like for me to do, Congressman?" Perhaps Brown should have read his boss's disaster declaration statement. Bush issued an order on August 27 that authorized FEMA to "identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency." Rep. Gene Taylor (D-MS) said, "You folks fell on your face. You got an F-minus in my book." "I don't know how you can sleep at night," Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX) said. "You lost the battle."

THE BUCK DOESN'T STOP WITH BROWN: The Bush administration tried to distance itself from Brown's testimony. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said, "He speaks for himself." However, that statement rings hollow in light of recent reporting that Brown has been asked to stay on the federal payroll and serve as a consultant to FEMA. While White House spokesman Scott McClellan said that critics in Washington were focused on "finger-pointing," it was Brown's testimony that "raised questions about whether the White House responded aggressively enough" to Katrina. Recall Bush was on vacation when the storm hit (see our Katrina timeline here). Bush admitted the federal government's response to Katrina was "inadequate," and he took "full responsibility" for his administration's poor handling of the crisis. Brown's testimony yesterday simply underscores Bush's failure of leadership.
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