Dr. Max Mayfield, director of the National Hurricane Center, said Sunday that officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security, including FEMA Director Mike Brown and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, listened in on electronic briefings given by his staff in advance of Hurricane Katrina slamming Louisiana and Mississippi and were advised of the storm’s potential deadly effects.So much for the question of whether Chertkof and Brown had no idea that the levees could be breached.
Mayfield said the strength of the storm and the potential disaster it could bring were made clear during both the briefings and in formal advisories, which warned of a storm surge capable of overtopping levees in New Orleans and winds strong enough to blow out windows of high-rise buildings. He said the briefings included information on expected wind speed, storm surge, rainfall and the potential for tornados to accompany the storm as it came ashore.
"We were briefing them way before landfall," Mayfield said. "It's not like this was a surprise. We had in the advisories that the levee could be topped.
"I keep looking back to see if there was anything else we could have done, and I just don't know what it would be," he said.
And, via Mark Kleiman, we learn that the WaPo story that quoted a "senior Administration official" the Governor of Louisiana had failed to declare a state of emergency was false.
Can't we just give every member of the Bush Administration some sort of medal so that they will just go home?