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Invisibleafoaf
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Brown Testimony
    #4720422 - 09/27/05 04:48 PM (11 years, 2 months ago)

http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/09/27/katrina.brown/index.html

Brown puts blame on Louisiana officials
Former FEMA director defends Katrina response

Tuesday, September 27, 2005; Posted: 3:18 p.m. EDT (19:18 GMT)

Programming Note: Candy Crowley examines allegations of cronyism in the Bush administration and in previous presidencies, tonight, 8 p.m. ET.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Testifying before a congressional committee Tuesday, former Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Michael Brown blamed Louisiana's leaders for dragging their heels last month as Hurricane Katrina approached the Gulf Coast.

Brown faced sharp questions during a House select committee probing the federal, state and local response to Katrina. The storm devastated Mississippi beach towns and left most of New Orleans flooded when the city's protective levees failed at several points.

Brown said Mississippi and Alabama had evacuated properly, but said New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco were reluctant to order an evacuation. (Watch Congressmen grill Brown -- 4:40)

"My mistake was in recognizing that for whatever reasons ... Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco were reticent to order a mandatory evacuation," he said.

Brown resigned September 12 after two weeks of intense criticism of FEMA's response to Katrina, and questions about his qualifications to lead the agency.

In a heated exchange, Rep. Christopher Shays questioned whether Brown did enough to coordinate the response.

"What would you like for me to do congressman," Brown asked the Connecticut Republican.

"That's why I'm happy you left," Shays said, "because that kind of, you know, look in the lights like a deer, tells me that you weren't capable to do the job."

Brown said he wasn't a dictator and couldn't make state or local officials do anything.

"I guess you want me to be the superhero that is going to step in there and suddenly take everybody out of New Orleans."

Rep. William Jefferson of Louisiana, one of three Democrats who participated in the hearing despite Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's decision not to appoint members to the select committee, took issue with Brown's testimony.

"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," Jefferson said.

"I think it's fair to say that perhaps mistakes (were) made all around, but I don't think the response of the federal government can be explained on the basis of, as you have said here, you could not persuade the governor and the mayor to sit down and coordinate a response." (Watch Brown criticism of Louisiana officials -- 3:51)

Jefferson noted that the governor had requested a disaster declaration from the federal government three days before Hurricane Katrina made landfall, which was approved by President Bush two days before the storm hit.

Brown told the panel that FEMA was a coordinating agency, not a first responder, and stressed that it was vital that "emergency management begins at the local level."

"The reason that this primary responsibility, this first response is at the local level is that it is inherently impractical, totally impractical for the federal government to respond to every disaster of whatever size in every community across the country," Brown said. (Watch Brown's defense of FEMA -- 3:02)
Leadership questions

Just 10 days before Brown's resignation, President Bush had praised him during his first trip to the region, telling him, "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job."

Bush's comments came as thousands of New Orleans residents huddled in the Ernest Morial Convention Center in oppressive heat with little food or water.

Brown also came under fire because of alleged inconsistencies in his resume, and his relatively limited emergency management experience.

He said that those claims were not true, and in some cases were defamatory.

"I have overseen over 150 presidentially declared disasters. I know what I am doing. And I think I do a pretty darn good job of it," Brown told the panel.

Brown came to work for FEMA in 2001 as legal counsel to his college friend, then-FEMA Director Joe Allbaugh, who was Bush's 2000 campaign manager. Brown assumed the top job when Allbaugh left FEMA in 2003. (Time.com: How many Michael Browns are there?)

Prior to joining the agency, Brown was the stewards and judges commissioner of the International Arabian Horse Association.

Leo Bosner, a 26-year FEMA employee and union leader, told CNN that he raised concerns a year ago that Brown was in over his head

"I have nothing personal against Mike Brown," Bosner said. "I feel badly about the guy. But he took a job he was never trained for. The man was a lawyer."

The Washington Post reported earlier this month that the top three FEMA officials had ties to Bush's 2000 presidential election campaign. Five of eight top FEMA officials had no crisis management experience, the newspaper said.

Brown's former boss, Michael Chertoff, also has a legal background, serving as a federal prosecutor and appellate court judge before being appointed Secretary of Homeland Security. As a prosecutor, he helped develop strategies for terrorism prosecutions.

Brown is still being paid as a consultant to help FEMA assess what went wrong. (Watch Brown still on the FEMA payroll -- 3:20)

A spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, FEMA's parent agency, said last week that Brown would be paid for about a month for "transitional purposes." The spokesman, Russ Knocke, said he did not know how much Brown was being paid.

Brown's 2004 salary was $145,600, according to the Plum Book, a congressional reference guide to executive branch salaries.

=========================================================================

The video link listed on the page has some interesting testimony.


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OfflineSirTripAlot
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Re: Brown Testimony [Re: afoaf]
    #4720456 - 09/27/05 04:55 PM (11 years, 2 months ago)

Of course there is plenty of blame to go around...and of course when have you ever heard of any government official saying that they were wrong? President Bush merely mentioned..."I take responsibility" , well thats kinda short there buddy....bottom line: there is no accountability for politicians or the bureaucrats that exist.....


--------------------
“I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.”


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Invisibleafoaf
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Re: Brown Testimony [Re: SirTripAlot]
    #4720683 - 09/27/05 05:28 PM (11 years, 2 months ago)

he didn't take direct responsibility

he only took responsibility insomuch as the feds failed.

which, based on the feds' investigation, surely no
failure will be uncovered.


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Offlinelonestar2004
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Re: Brown Testimony [Re: afoaf]
    #4720688 - 09/27/05 05:28 PM (11 years, 2 months ago)

The Feds mistake was trusting that the State and City were competent.


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America's debt problem is a "sign of leadership failure"

We have "reckless fiscal policies"

America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership.

Americans deserve better

Barack Obama


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Invisibleafoaf
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Re: Brown Testimony [Re: lonestar2004]
    #4721687 - 09/27/05 08:37 PM (11 years, 2 months ago)

def.

that video testimony is interesting.

it will be interesting to see if brown's
points are heard above the drone of the
ongoing lynch mob set up to scapegoat him.


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OfflineCatalysis
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Registered: 04/23/02
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Re: Brown Testimony [Re: afoaf]
    #4721952 - 09/27/05 09:28 PM (11 years, 2 months ago)

This whole story is just crazy. I mean FEMA is just a bunch of pencil-pushers, they always have been and always will be. Thats why they are called federal emergency management agency. They are basically in charge of dishing out funds to a state when a federal emergency is declared.

In the bat of an eye, FEMA suddenly became responsible for being a massive reactionary, first responder agency for any crisis in the entire US. Fuckin crazy. I wonder what happens next. Is this the prelude to a federal police and fire force? It sure seems like that is what everyone is screaming for.


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OfflineSirTripAlot
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Re: Brown Testimony [Re: Catalysis]
    #4724212 - 09/28/05 08:55 AM (11 years, 2 months ago)

So it took a natural disaster to point out the fact, that FEMA could not PRO ACTIVELY RESPOND without coordination with the State and Local Governments? Like I stated before there is plenty of blame to go around every were.....but the fact remains : LIKE ANY BUREAUCRACY, THE PEOPLE AT THE TOP ARE THERE FOR POLITICAL REASONS, NOT BECAUSE THEY ARE COMPETENT. This guy even dicked up his resume to make himself look good. The head of FEMA or any crisis related agency, should be composed of people, mainly from the military. They understand SOPs and decisiveness.....and I think Bush is about to federalize emergencies for the Union....


--------------------
“I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.”


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