7
Sep
2005

Leader of Federal Effort Feels the Heat

By ERIC LIPTON and SCOTT SHANE
The New York Times
Published: September 3, 2005

WASHINGTON, Sept. 2 - On Thursday night, Michael D. Brown, the federal government's point man for managing the response to Hurricane Katrina, made a remarkable confession on live television.

Speaking of the thousands stranded at the convention center in New Orleans without food or water, Mr. Brown said that his agency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, had just learned of their plight.

CNN's Paula Zahn was incredulous. "Sir," she said, "you aren't just telling me you just learned that the folks at the convention center didn't have food and water until today, are you? You had no idea they were completely cut off?"

"Paula," Mr. Brown replied unequivocally, "the federal government did not even know about the convention center people until today."

The comment symbolized what some have described as a deeply flawed federal response. President Bush praised Mr. Brown's performance on Friday, but Mr. Brown's remarks prompted Representative Bennie Thompson of Mississippi , the ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Homeland Security, to call on President Bush to fire Mr. Brown or Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. [...] Read the rest at: //www.nytimes.com/2005/09/03/national/nationalspecial/03fema.html


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