1
Okt
2005

Bush seeks to federalize emergencies

By Bill Sammon
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
September 27, 2005

President Bush yesterday sought to federalize hurricane-relief efforts, removing governors from the decision-making process.

"It wouldn't be necessary to get a request from the governor or take other action," White House press secretary Scott McClellan said yesterday. "This would be," he added, "more of an automatic trigger."

Mr. McClellan was referring to a new, direct line of authority that would allow the president to place the Pentagon in charge of responding to natural disasters, terrorist attacks and outbreaks of disease.

"It may require change of law," Mr. Bush said yesterday. "It's very important for us as we look at the lessons of Katrina to think about other scenarios that might require a well-planned, significant federal response -- right off the bat -- to provide stability."

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) accused Mr. Bush of attempting a power grab in the wake of fierce criticism that he responded too slowly to Hurricane Katrina a month ago.

"Using the military in domestic law enforcement is generally a very bad idea," said Timothy Edgar, national security policy counsel for the ACLU. "I'm afraid that it will have unforeseen consequences for civil liberties."

Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour declined the president's offer to federalize the state's National Guard troops in the aftermath of Katrina. So Mr. Bush wants Congress to consider empowering the Pentagon with automatic control. [...] Read the rest at: //tinyurl.com/dwusf


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