Internal Documents: FEMA Chief Waited Until After Storm Hit

It’s time for resignations and rolling heads… AP News reports that Michael Brown was a little slow in sending a memo to Chertoff requesting help for what he termed a “near catastrophic event”.

Are these people just plain DAFT?

The government’s disaster chief waited until hours after Hurricane Katrina had already struck the Gulf Coast before asking his boss to dispatch 1,000 Homeland Security employees to the region — and gave them two days to arrive, according to internal documents.

Michael Brown, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, sought the approval from Homeland Security Secretary Mike Chertoff roughly five hours after Katrina made landfall on Aug. 29. Brown said that among duties of these employees was to “convey a positive image” about the government’s response for victims.

What was Brown doing for those five hours… Sitting at his desk tapping his fingers and mulling over how to make certain that the rescue teams were perky and positive? Actually something far more crass comes to my incredibly aggravated mind at the moment, but as always, I’m too polite to spit it out here.

FEMA response and recovery operations are a top priority of the department and as we know, one of yours,” Brown wrote Chertoff. He proposed sending 1,000 Homeland Security Department employees within 48 hours and 2,000 within seven days.

Knocke said the 48-hour period suggested for the Homeland employees was to ensure they had adequate training. “They were training to help the life-savers,” Knocke said.

Employees required a supervisor’s approval and at least 24 hours of disaster training in Maryland, Florida or Georgia. “You must be physically able to work in a disaster area without refrigeration for medications and have the ability to work in the outdoors all day,” Brown wrote.

The same day Brown wrote Chertoff, Brown also urged local fire and rescue departments outside Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi not to send trucks or emergency workers into disaster areas without an explicit request for help from state or local governments. Brown said it was vital to coordinate fire and rescue efforts.

Hello? Hello? Michael Brown — what the hell were you thinking? Oops, I’m sorry, I know you weren’t thinking. The world knows you weren’t thinking.

Get the hook, show this man the door… And then start lining up everyone above him who failed this nation. They all need to go — from the bottom of the barrel to the top!

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About Pamela Leavey

Pamela Leavey is the Editor in Chief, Owner/Publisher of The Democratic Daily as well as a freelance writer and photographer. Pamela holds a certificate in Contemporary Communications from UMass Lowell, a Journalism Certificate from UMass Amherst and a B.A. in Creative Writing and Digital Age Communications from UMass Amherst UWW.
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10 Responses to Internal Documents: FEMA Chief Waited Until After Storm Hit

  1. Ray says:

    The bigger question your so blind to see is because of your hate of Pres Bush is this:

    1. Why did Mayor Nagin not use close to 500 buses to evacuate the low lying areas.

    2. Why did Gov Blanco and still continue not allow the LA Nation Gurad fall under FEMA.

    We could gone on and on.

    A couple of hours after WE are ALL sure where the hurricane did make land fall and what PATH it ultimately took was more import than a couple of hours.

    The mayor and the governer wasted 48 hours before the hurricane made landfall . Wrap your warped little brain around that sunshine.

  2. Indie Liberal says:

    I smell something fishy.

  3. Ray… Ray…

    My, my you do not think that people here believe the Noise Machine sipn do you? I honestly think you must have missed Gov Blanco’s letter to the Resident… oh well, no biggie, the Resident proved himself, and the Spin Machine is breaking. Thanks for sharing, we’re not buying that here.

  4. Indie

    Me too… like a big old stinky tuna left out in the sun too long!

  5. Ron Chusid says:

    Ray shows the typical Republican mentality in distorting the facts and attacking others. Even if there is reason to criticize the mayor and governor, this would not excuse the incompetence seen from the Bush Administration.

    Attacking others, whether with valid criticism or (as is more often the case) fabricated charges does not alter the fact that Bush’s response to Katrina is clear demonstration that he is one of the most incompetent leaders ever.

  6. Ron

    It was nice of Ray to stop by and remind us that people STILL don’t get it.

  7. Ron Chusid says:


    I also commented elsewhere about how there are people who will support Bush no matter how strong the evidence is of his incompetence. It was nice of Ray to help prove my point.

  8. Ron

    I feel sorry for the sheeple of the world. There’s so much they are missing.

  9. I heard this story on Air America a while ago. It’s all over the place now. It’s was breaking when I posted it.

  10. Ginny in CO says:

    I actually found it on Comcast and came over to check the posts. What still gets to me is that people don’t get the limits of local and state governments to prepare or respond to a catastophe of this order. Especially an area of the country that is well known for it’s poverty levels. I mean all three states. It is exactly why FEMA exists

    What the H— was this doing in a MEMO? They should have been in an HSA situation room with video/phone links to the weather service, Govenor’s, Mayors, field FEMA etc Starting no later that when the weather service issued it’s horrific warning on Sunday, One of the first assumptions you make in disaster planning is that you will lose power and communication. You will need backup communications that will work. And generators, fuel, flashlights. People who can get around in their own vehicles. Vehicles and other transportation that will be necessary depending on surface conditions ( Boats, snowmobiles, 4WD, amphibious)

    Do they not realize how many of us were involved in plans for Y2K? We had dry runs too. It doesn’t take a lot of sophisticated computer programming to tally up the # of nursing home residents, home care patients, other patients (children , MS… ) that will need special and extraordinary assistance to evacuate. And the city disaster managenent planner asked and asked for Federal assistance. I would really love to see Ted Stevens lose his next election on this. We need a COMPLETE tally of how much Alaska got the last 4 years. And a few other states.

    Ray, do the math: 500 buses would move how many people in how much time? I think a lot of folks are not looking at the actual numbers, It is a lot of people, and yet, compared to even Denver Metro area, NO is half the size ( and a LOT poorer) I suspect they don;t use as many school buses there as other cities – per capita. And they have a train/trolley system in town. It might have been reasonable to have done it just because it would have reduced the number to move by 15,000. It also would have been a huge problem to determine which 15,000 out of 115000 (or more).

    Methinks Gov Blanco may have had a clue that the LA National Guard might do better if not under FEMA. You can have liasons without losing individual control. Besides, the Federal Government has the ability to take over – BushCo knew it – in order to protect US citizens. Just like the Mayor has had to insist that everyone leave. The Federal state of emergency/disaster went in to effect on Saturday in LA, 24 hours ahead of MS and AL. FEMA could have been making plans, coordinating offers of help and prepositioning a lot more stuff during that 48 hours (getting it enroute so that it was arriving by the time the hurricane blew through. A thousand FEMA workers, + 2000, for 2 weeks? They knew better) They didn’t need to be in control of the LANG to do that much. At least half, if not more, would be needed in other areas.

    Once the reality of the disaster hit, the cooperation was there. FEMA wasn’t. The reporters were, Walmart semis were, I have to compare this preparation with what was outlined in Woodward’s ” Plan of Attack” in the build up to prepare for that war. The money, time, manpower, resources were astronomical. Even if they were concerned that they really didn’t know whether the stuff would be needed in NO or some other place, it was clear the storm was going to do a lot of damage to a large area, Not only has NO had to wait, All the outlying towns waited – and they are not under water, They are still waiting,

    YOU NEED A RADIO SYSTEM THAT EVERYONE CAN USE. One of the bitter lessons of Columbine and WTC that is STILL not getting funding. The control issue is one of the things that FEMA clearly blew out of proportion or hid under. The training, legalities of using regular military, and refusing other offers of aid, not to mention telling neighboring states not to send help until someone asked for it. Do these people realise the kind of chaos that a disaster creates? There is not enough time to act quickly on what you have prepared for. Stuff you didn’t anticipate takes over,

    Personally, I think the local government officials, given the overwhelming catastrophe they were experiencing personally, probably did an amazing job, Too much adrenalin and stress hormones can shut down the cortexes pretty well. True, it is in their job description. We have a whole policy on bomb threats, how to react to the caller, search for the bomb. How would any of us do if it progressed to taking that call, having the bomb actually go off? Some would keep the others on track, not necessarily the leaders or management.

    Did the mayor and govenor waste 48 hours before landfall? I think so, I bet they do to. It was wasted because all the predictions of the disaster, and all the help they would need to be prepared for it, were not considered a high enough possibility or priority to fund. It’s got to be horrible to know that you are so helpless to do what could have been done, what you have time to do; but not the resources and preparation you knew you would need.

    Will the mayor, the govenor, the city disaster management director, the police chiefs and sherrifs lose countless nights of sleep over this for the rest of their lives?

    Will W?