Videotape Shows Bush Warned of Grave Dangers Shortly Before Katrina Struck
Video footage of the briefings given to President Bush and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff in the days before Hurricane Katrina struck show that federal officials had warned that the storm could be catastrophic, breaching New Orleans' levees and overwhelming rescuers. The Associated Press obtained six days of video footage and transcripts of briefings and released one video showing a final briefing the day before Katrina struck.
On the tape, then-Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Michael Brown called the coming storm, quote, "a bad one, a big one," and said, "We're going to need everything that we can possibly muster, not only in this state and in the region, but the nation, to respond to this event." He also said he worried there weren't enough disaster teams to help the people going to the Superdome for shelter, saying, "I'm concerned about ... their ability to respond to a catastrophe within a catastrophe." Also on the tape, the National Hurricane Center's Max Mayfield said that it was unknown if the levees would be breached, but called it, quote, "a very, very grave concern."
Linked to the briefing at his Texas ranch, where he was vacationing, Bush didn't question the federal officials but sought to offer reassurance. He said, "I want to assure the folks at the state level that we are fully prepared to not only help you during the storm, but we will move in whatever resources and assets we have at our disposal after the storm."
The video seems to refute Bush's statement four days after Katrina struck when he said, "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees." Further, it also appears to contradict Homeland Security officials who've said the, quote, "fog of war" blinded them early on to the magnitude of disaster, since it shows them discussing threats and reviewing plans, aware of the historic disaster on the way.
Does this briefing video make you think the White House and Homeland Security officials were shading the truth when they said they didn't realize how bad the storm was going to be and were caught up in the "fog of war" early on?
Do you in fact think maybe Brown was the one who leaked this information to AP in an attempt to vindicate himself?