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Wednesday, March 1, 2006
Bush, Katrina and Videotape
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 9:37 pm

Via the AP: Tape: Bush, Chertoff Warned Before Katrina

In dramatic and sometimes agonizing terms, federal disaster officials warned President Bush and his homeland security chief before Hurricane Katrina struck that the storm could breach levees, put lives at risk in New Orleans’ Superdome and overwhelm rescuers, according to confidential video footage.


The footage — along with seven days of transcripts of briefings obtained by The Associated Press — show in excruciating detail that while federal officials anticipated the tragedy that unfolded in New Orleans and elsewhere along the Gulf Coast, they were fatally slow to realize they had not mustered enough resources to deal with the unprecedented disaster.

Given that after the event the President stated on national television: “I don’t think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees” this is rather damning.

Filed under: Hurricanes | |Send TrackBack


  1. Cut Bush some slack, would ya? He was too busy planning for what would happen once we toppled Saadam. How could we expect him to remember these briefs from some weatherman when we are in the middle of a war?

    The world changed after 9/11. If Bush were to deal with a little rainstorm in New Orleans, the terrorists would undoubtedly get us. The fact that there were no terrorist attacks during that time shows that he was on the ball.

    Comment by Rigo — Thursday, March 2, 2006 @ 12:44 am

  2. The problem of NOLA flooding during a hurricane was well known. What was not expected was that AFTER the hurricane, the levees would break.
    Bush is not God…he doesnot know everything. But one should expect a decent local disaster plan to be followed, and it was not. And one would expect that when the Feds offered Blanco help, she would not have turned it down.
    Please read Popular Mechanics on this, and instead of using it to bash Bushy, try thanking the 100 000 volunteers who helped save thousands of lives…with little positive press or publicity…

    Comment by boinkie — Thursday, March 2, 2006 @ 3:17 am

  3. boinkie,

    I have been quite cautious in my criticism over Katrina. However, it seems quite clear that they did not take seriously the information provided to them, and therefore the response to the disaster was substantially less than it should have been.

    That isn’t bashing anybody, it is levelling legitimate criticism.

    Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Thursday, March 2, 2006 @ 6:48 am

  4. and BTW-if we had been prepared for a flood during the hurricane, then surely we would have been prepared for one immediately after the hurricane. The notion that somehow it was utterly unexpected that the flooding would take place after the passage of the storm is absurd.

    At any rate: we weren’t ready regardless, at any level of government.

    Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Thursday, March 2, 2006 @ 6:53 am

  5. I have not had time to cross-check, but CQ calls the press account misleading.

    I have not had a chance to read through it, yet, for myself.

    Comment by Steven L. — Thursday, March 2, 2006 @ 8:18 am

  6. I’ve already done my daily dose of “I’m shocked!” irony here at PoliBlog (above, on Alito and Dobson). So I’ll refrain on this one.

    Comment by Matthew — Thursday, March 2, 2006 @ 9:36 am

  7. :)

    Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Thursday, March 2, 2006 @ 9:40 am

  8. There is more to this particular story, it would seem, than the initial AP reporting. However, given the congressional report, some other transcripts I blogged on a while back and so forth, I feel like the picture has been adequately painted that the hurricane was not taken sufficiently seriously, and more to the point, that the agencies responsible for responding were not ready for what happened.

    Of course, I will confess that my views are no doubt colored by the fact that I am rapidly loosing (have lost) much of my confidence in the administration on a host of issues.

    Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Thursday, March 2, 2006 @ 10:43 am

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