Skip to main content

Chertoff is scheduled to testify this morning about his role in the Katrina fiasco.  When I looked earlier, it was only on C-Span Radio

They just swore him in and he is beginning with his opening statement.

I hope that those of you who are listening will help me keep up with this testimony for others who aren't able to listen.

Thanks everyone! Thanks to jlove1982 for letting us know that C-Span is now showing the hearing The hearing with Chertoff is over and it was a major disappointment with only 1 round of questioning. The Select Committee's report is now on C-Span and as long as all agree, we will continue the live thread here.

Originally posted to kisler1224 on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 08:43 AM PST.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  I can't believe this is only on the radio (none)
    I have to go to work in about 1/2 hour.  Damn.

    Just because a person has faith doesn't mean that he isn't full of crap.-- Pastordan

    by Maggie Mae on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 08:46:44 AM PST

  •  Chertoff's excuse is... (none)
    It's not my fault, I wasn't here long enough.  

    He's talking about the reforms he proposed in the month before Katrina.

  •  He's claiming (none)
    in his opening statement that he asked Michael Brown if he had everything he needed.

    He's also saying that he testified last July that they were not prepared and he had designated October 1st as the time he would work to get all the departments more prepared.

    "I remember when the answer seemed so clear. We had never lived without or tasted fear." The Monkees

    by kisler1224 on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 08:52:02 AM PST

  •  "Issues of Personality" (none)
    (I'm paraphrasing here...) "Putting aside issues of personality from when another person testified last Friday"

    aka "Damn you Brownie!"

  •  The Priest-looking guy (none)
    is now my personal hero.
    •  I see he left (none)
      even though Lieberman had invited him to stay if he'd be quiet during the hearing.  I had just turned this on - do you know what he said?

      "You can have your own opinion, but you can't have your own set of facts." - Ellen Tauscher (D-CA) 1/25/06

      by Ellicatt on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 08:57:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wow! (none)
    Did anyone see who that was that just interrupted the hearing to complain about the evictions? That was fabulous!

    "I remember when the answer seemed so clear. We had never lived without or tasted fear." The Monkees

    by kisler1224 on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 09:03:50 AM PST

  •  Lieberman? (none)
    Lieberman seems to be attacking him and listing all the things that Chertoff should have done and did not do!

    "I remember when the answer seemed so clear. We had never lived without or tasted fear." The Monkees

    by kisler1224 on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 09:16:40 AM PST

  •  Thanks kisler1224 (none)
    Please make sure to recommend this before it falls off, people.

    Can we wait even a SECOND longer? SEE GRAPHIC...

    by STOP George on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 09:19:49 AM PST

  •  Lieberman: (none)
    You knew that the President's designation of State of Emergency put you as the person in charge.

    "I remember when the answer seemed so clear. We had never lived without or tasted fear." The Monkees

    by kisler1224 on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 09:21:03 AM PST

  •  Did Chertoff just say (none)
    they did a fabulous job with rescue?

    "I remember when the answer seemed so clear. We had never lived without or tasted fear." The Monkees

    by kisler1224 on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 09:22:48 AM PST

    •  They did. (none)
      I'm not watching (in my own Katrina hearing in Banking), but the folks who were there -- mostly Coast Guard -- did a tremendous job plucking folks off rooftops.  Chopper pilots, etc., deserve medals.  The problem is there weren't enough of them.

      The Commandant, USCG reports to Chertoff.  Whose fault is it there weren't enough of them?  (Take it a step further -- Of Satan reports to Bush.  Whose fault is it there weren't enough of them?)

      The last time people listened to a talking bush, they wandered 40 years in the desert.

      by DC Pol Sci on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 10:54:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Cherkoff moving... (none)
        ...from one side of the Capitol to the other.  Starting a hearing with him in House Appropriations on the DHS budget at 3:00 Eastern.  Sure Katrina will be on everyone's lips.

        The last time people listened to a talking bush, they wandered 40 years in the desert.

        by DC Pol Sci on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 11:35:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Eewwww! Yuk! (none)
          Bug Man is on this Committee, and he's sitting about 10 feet from me!  Cherkoff is 10 feet to the other side of me!  I'm sandwiched between a ghoul and a fool!

          I'm gonna have to take a good, long bath after this one...

          David Obey:  Katrina storm "Max Cleland Memorial Disaster."  Vindicated Cleland's vote against DHS.

          The last time people listened to a talking bush, they wandered 40 years in the desert.

          by DC Pol Sci on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 12:16:29 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Cherkoff: "Coast Guard did a terrific job... (none)
            ...during Katrina."

            Talk about being able to find a silver lining in every cloud...

            The last time people listened to a talking bush, they wandered 40 years in the desert.

            by DC Pol Sci on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 12:19:55 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Sen. John Warner is up (none)
    but he has to talk about how great other members are (yuck..)

    "I remember when the answer seemed so clear. We had never lived without or tasted fear." The Monkees

    by kisler1224 on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 09:25:04 AM PST

    •  Funny all the stroking they do (none)
      I just don't get it. I love watching the Parliament exchanges. A lot of genius eeks out in those. Here, you'd think no one ever took a speaking class as everyone looks down and reads.

      ... we now know a lot of things, most of which, we already knew... (-dash888)

      by Tirge Caps on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 10:41:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  So when will... (none)
    ...folks start saying what NEEDS to be said?

    Louisiana Democratic Governor Kathleen Blanco's been (wrongly) blamed for all the suffering, and her poll numbers are hovering around 40%.  FIND me ANY governor who could've swiftly, smoothly handled a disaster of such magnitude with such federal incompetence to battle, as well?

    It's HIGH time this woman's reputation was exhonerated.  She's been unfairly pummeled by the media, by the right wing radio babblers, et al, who've judged her on her appearance and demeanor.  Her "emotional" exterior (she didn't cry on camera, just looked distressed - and rightly so, given the magnitude of the storm and countless FEMA let-down) has given pundits fodder to blame her for a "lack of leadership."  Quite frankly, I don't see it that way.

    First of all, anybody who knows Blanco knows she's not a polished podium-piece with political pedigree.  She's a school teacher who became a great school board member, a good lt. governor and befor Katrina, was doing fine bringing jobs to Louisiana.

    Secondly, it took some "leadership" to successfully evacuate 1.2 million New Orleans metro residents in a matter of 36 hours, using only one east-west interstate going into the city.  Unlike in Texas a month later, there was no gridlock, no bottlenecked highway with cars running out of gas.  It was orderly, timely and a huge untold success.

    Were there failures at the state level?  Sure...and they stretch back for DECADES.  Let me remind you, she'd been in office less than two years as governor.  

    And yet she followed a guideline, a game plan to evacuate the area, and did so successfully.  When it came time to turn the page in that game plan to the "coordinate with FEMA" section, things fell apart.  Her biggest failing was believing ANYTHING FEMA was telling her.  It took her a couple of days (a proud American might need some time to believe their great country is neglecting them...I know I would) to realize FEMA wasn't delivering before she cancelled schools and hauled in buses from other parts of the state to evacuate stranded victims.  

    Was she flawless in command of the state?  I'm sure folks can quibble... but I've YET to see a bonafide "here's what she did wrong" come across yet.  It's time for her party to start to rebuild her reputation so she can continue to function as governor in a state that badly needs her to be successful.

    •  "It took...a couple of days..." (none)
      It took her a couple of days (a proud American might need some time to believe their great country is neglecting them...

      It took everyone down here a coupla days to begin to believe that the feds were not coming. Everyone had trouble believing it. Still, some folks got busy.

      Which is not to say that Blanco did not get busy. She was trying. I do not fault her for her actions nor for the barriers that she faced. I feel like she did about as much and about as well as most any governor would.

      I dunno that the Dem priority should be to rebuild Blanco's reputation...but I feel that Dems should damned sure get busy figuring out a way to get truly active in the ongoing situation.

  •  Warner (none)
    (my pc froze up and I had to restart and then I had one heck of a time getting back to here - anyone else having problems like this?  That usually doesn't happen...)

    report out today by house; Confident that our report will be fair and objective.

    Question of people in charge and chain of command. (Chertoff) said "We must have a clear chain for managing incidents."  W: Lessons learned, how do you propose to sort through those situations.  

    C:  you have a lot of different depts w/their own authorities.  idea that we have separate op centers in DHS makes no sense.  we are in process of building process to have simultaneous ability.  we knew in theory that North command and DHS would have to work together as partners.  (are building) for DOD, DHS and state and local planners (to be able to work together).

    "You can have your own opinion, but you can't have your own set of facts." - Ellen Tauscher (D-CA) 1/25/06

    by Ellicatt on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 09:30:31 AM PST

    •  yes (none)
      I had the same problem a few minutes ago and it took a little while to get back on Dkos.

      by the way, thanks for your help!

      "I remember when the answer seemed so clear. We had never lived without or tasted fear." The Monkees

      by kisler1224 on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 09:32:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You are welcome (none)
        I wish I'd been on for Collins - she asked some pretty good questions and Chertoff's response was something I should have written down to type here; alas, I was occupied trying to get back on!

        "You can have your own opinion, but you can't have your own set of facts." - Ellen Tauscher (D-CA) 1/25/06

        by Ellicatt on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 09:35:03 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Chertoff (none)
    is telling the committee that he is trying to get more coordination between DOD and DHS in events like this

    by the way... I'm not all that great at listening and typing so if anyone else is listening I could use some help!

    "I remember when the answer seemed so clear. We had never lived without or tasted fear." The Monkees

    by kisler1224 on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 09:30:54 AM PST

  •  Am I crazy... (none)
    ...or is anyone else looking at Chertoff and seeing John Waters?   http://www.dreamlandnews.com/

    60% of Americans disapprove of the Preznit. WHY DO AMERICANS HATE AMERICA?

    by mischaDC on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 09:31:05 AM PST

  •  Warner (none)
    W: was national response plan followed?

    C:It was a new plan; never been used before.  On Friday,I heard facts that led to choice not to follow it; that was news to me. We need to look at changes.  cumbersome; confusion about elements of plan; need to clarify and simplify it.

    "You can have your own opinion, but you can't have your own set of facts." - Ellen Tauscher (D-CA) 1/25/06

    by Ellicatt on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 09:32:39 AM PST

  •  Sen. Dayton (none)
    is up.

    He had a good statement about if this is what happens when we know a catastrophe is coming I shudder to think what will happen when we don't know.

    "I remember when the answer seemed so clear. We had never lived without or tasted fear." The Monkees

    by kisler1224 on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 09:38:04 AM PST

  •  That's a first (none)
    Senator Dayton just cited Wikipedia.

    60% of Americans disapprove of the Preznit. WHY DO AMERICANS HATE AMERICA?

    by mischaDC on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 09:40:14 AM PST

  •  I sound like a broken record... (none)
    but why is this not on the rec'd list yet?

    I see another "Cheney shooting" diary made it...

    ...JEEZUS!

    Can we wait even a SECOND longer? SEE GRAPHIC...

    by STOP George on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 09:40:53 AM PST

  •  Dayton (none)
    this failure to respond continues to this day.  utilities, electricity; everyone is waiting for the FEMA maps (to rebuild) - not probably to be released until August.  incredible waste of money (for trailers to be sitting in Hope, Arkansas).  talks about problem since 2003 in Minnesota that is still not resolved.  need chain of command for immediate emergencies; dysfunctional/non-functional.  

    Katrina failure of initiative, leadership. Previous director of FEMA resigned (Brown - resume); former director Allbaugh was president's director of 2000 campaign and brought about reorg to shrink FEMA in size and scope.  Two of his (current) clients - KBR and Shaw group (now have NO projects).  Dayton is listing the projects awarded to these two companies.  You got situation where he downsized agency and turning around and getting big contracts that they haven't performed on and are continuing; some awarded in just the last couple of weeks.  political scandal of enormous proportions; opportunistic greed.  needs to be routed out and eliminated.  put in key positions because of prior campaign experience and now making (big money).

    "You can have your own opinion, but you can't have your own set of facts." - Ellen Tauscher (D-CA) 1/25/06

    by Ellicatt on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 09:43:00 AM PST

  •  Dayton (none)
    Chertoff:  (about the trailers) sometimes matter of problems w/FEMA, sometimes no one wanted to give occupancy permits, sometimes problems w/utility companies.  names people who are currently helping - have skills to run the components.  

    "You can have your own opinion, but you can't have your own set of facts." - Ellen Tauscher (D-CA) 1/25/06

    by Ellicatt on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 09:44:54 AM PST

  •  I just lost (none)
    C-Span.  Did anyone else?

    "I remember when the answer seemed so clear. We had never lived without or tasted fear." The Monkees

    by kisler1224 on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 09:48:40 AM PST

  •  Dayton (none)
    D:  talking about the levee breaks; picture from 5:30pm monday afternoon showing  80% flooding that has already occurred; yet had testimony last week that (he) left office monday evening that said he had conflicting reports.  6am next moring ;didn't tell Stefan until 11:30 that morning that (flooding) had already been identified (the day before)  how much more situational awareness (could you) have had?

    C:  the 6am report did get to me.  the fact that talking in FEMA and not to us is lack of integration; part is culture. stove-pipe in the intelligence community - this is irresponsible in matters of life and death.

    "You can have your own opinion, but you can't have your own set of facts." - Ellen Tauscher (D-CA) 1/25/06

    by Ellicatt on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 09:49:52 AM PST

  •  Coleman is shameless... (none)
    just shameless!

    He's scapegoating Brown again.

    Can we wait even a SECOND longer? SEE GRAPHIC...

    by STOP George on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 09:56:19 AM PST

  •  FACTOID... (none)
    Chertoff said:

    "it was midday Tuesday [August 30] that I became aware of the fact that there was no possibility of plugging the gap and that essentially the lake [Pontchartrain] was going to start to drain into the city."

    According to Chertoff, this "second catastrophe really caught everybody by surprise" and was a major reason for the delay in the government's emergency response.

    Can we wait even a SECOND longer? SEE GRAPHIC...

    by STOP George on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 09:57:09 AM PST

    •  This is in direct contradiction to THIS (none)
      D:  talking about the levee breaks; picture from 5:30pm monday afternoon showing  80% flooding that has already occurred; yet had testimony last week that (he) left office monday evening that said he had conflicting reports.  6am next moring ;didn't tell Stefan until 11:30 that morning that (flooding) had already been identified (the day before)  how much more situational awareness (could you) have had?

      C:  the 6am report did get to me.

      Can we wait even a SECOND longer? SEE GRAPHIC...

      by STOP George on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 09:58:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  they are finally (none)
    asking more questions about the trailers

    "I remember when the answer seemed so clear. We had never lived without or tasted fear." The Monkees

    by kisler1224 on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 10:00:59 AM PST

    •  Sorry; wasn't watching. (none)
      Is this the $330 million in trailers sinking into the mud in Hope, Arkansas?  Paul Sarbanes tore FEMA Acting Recovery Division Director Paul Garratt a new one in the Banking Committee over the issue this morning.

      The last time people listened to a talking bush, they wandered 40 years in the desert.

      by DC Pol Sci on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 11:42:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Coleman (none)
    Chertoff:the shame is we were not made aware to do things a little bit earlier.

    Cole: one issue is when did you know NO under water?  indicated you didn't know monday; is that correct?
    CH: thats correct.
    COLE: from the Russert interview: you woke up (tues); thought NO dodged bullet; were you saying (you knew) Tues midday?  

    Chertoff: no--knew by mid morning that it was irrepairable.  email 1230 monday - email by brown that it was overtopping; at that point he did not tell me about a levee breech.  idea of using email is a huge mistake (should) have an operation center; its got to come to one place.  

    Cole:  brown was over his head;..

    chertoff:  on weds in cabinet meeting about this; he did communicate w/me on weds; thursday incident with coast guards/bus/convention center.  thurs night i asked myself was this an overwhelming challenge - is brown not up to this.  when I came back, I solicited suggestions and began process of bringing in allen (to be) PFO on monday.  

    cole:  is suggested that as head of DHS, you failed president [when you allowed president to be with him (brown)].

    Chertoff: my job is to manage and take responsiblity for this.  it was not WH responsibility  to direct operations or operator.  I feel that acutely (that we failed the president).  I reevaluated brown during that time.

    Cole: by weds night/thursday am, most of america knew that FEMA failed; had a director that did not provide leadership.  you were still evaluating (brown) at that time.

    "You can have your own opinion, but you can't have your own set of facts." - Ellen Tauscher (D-CA) 1/25/06

    by Ellicatt on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 10:03:02 AM PST

    •  "...irreparable..."??? (none)
      ...what is this "irreparable"?

      Give me a break. Please. A couple of three-to-five hundred foot breaches in levees? Irreparable? Irreparable???

      That's just total nonsense. The "irreparable" part, I mean. Those breaches could have and should have been patched by dark on Tuesday.

      BushCo did not even begin to make the resources available to patch the breaches until later in the week. Sure, they putzed around with a few half-measures, but they could have made it happen much earlier.

      Irreparable???

      •  It really is incredible (none)
        how much they're trying to whitewash this.

        Can we wait even a SECOND longer? SEE GRAPHIC...

        by STOP George on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 10:21:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  this was reviewd at the time (none)
        There was no way to repair the breaches because the water pressure was too powerful.  Anything put in the breach would have been blasted out again due to the water pressure.  They had to wait for the water level to equalize before they could mend the levees and pump the water out.

        Basically, the minute there was a substantial break in the levee, the water blasted through carving out a huge hole that couldn't be plugged.  

        We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never let them take it from us.

        by Fabian on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 10:33:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No. (none)
          It was a matter of resources available to do the job.

          To me, it was a matter of choices, not impossibilities.

          Folks can argue about the water pressure and whatnot as much as they care to, but to me it comes down to excuses. The feds did not find a way, and there are ways. There were constraints of a variety of natures - but there were also choices that were selected, and those choices - at least to me - did not include the most extreme measures that could have slowed the flow and begun the patching several days sooner than it was.

          I do not accept that it was impossible.

          •  The laws of physics beg to differ. (none)
            My best guess is that in order to withstand the water pressure, some large and massive(heavy, dense) object would have had to be placed in the breach and anchored so that it didn't move.  Then the process would have to be repeated over and over again, carefully so that the water flow was directed so that it didn't continue to erode the levees.

            This would have taken heavy equipment and engineers - on the day after the hurricane hit.  I really can't see how they would have managed to fix even one of the breaches.

            Really, they were SOoL the minute a major breach happened.  This is exactly the reason that all those documentaries and studies were talking gloom and doom and catastrophe.

            If you can find civil engineers and hydrology experts to suppport your assertions, I'd be glad to listen.  

            We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never let them take it from us.

            by Fabian on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 10:59:12 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  My perspective... (none)
              ...is fed by experience in a field where the extremely difficult is done immediately, the impossible takes a bit longer.

              I do not buy into the "impossible" explanation. I understand the physics involved. I know the area under question. And I am confident that if the resources had been made available - perhaps most importantly, a can-do-gotta-do attitude - it could have been done.

              •  Perhaps Mayor Nagin (none)
                would have an answer.  I was under the impression that resources were tight and the overall situation was pretty messed up but I wasn't there.

                We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never let them take it from us.

                by Fabian on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 11:40:48 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Nagin couldn't repair the breaches... (none)
                  ...and that would not have been his bailiwick at any rate.

                  I'm not sure what "resources were tight" means.

                  To me, there were federal resources that were held back in slowing/patching the flooding, federal resources held back in rescue, federal resources held back in evacuation, and federal resources held back in accomodating evacuees. All the way down the line...

                  The overall situation was about as messed-up as it gets. And some of that is understandable. Still, the people in the middle of it didn't have the resources, and the people with the resources didn't get involved.

                  It is difficult to convey how folks were trying to make-do with what was on-hand during the first few days after the storm - and how absent the federal govt was.

                  •  I agree with you here. (none)
                    In the first few days, Nagin was on his own.  Had he known that was going to be the case, I'm sure he would have done things differently.  By the time any substantial state and federal resources showed up, most of the damage was done and Nagin really couldn't have prevented much of it.  

                    We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never let them take it from us.

                    by Fabian on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 12:07:13 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Repairing the breaches... (none)
                      ...in some respects, speaks more to property damage than to rescue. In Orleans Parish, most officials were trying to manage rescue, accomodation, and civil order - with damned few resources.

                      The problems kept getting worse - remember, it was happening. It kept happening. Ongoing for days. All around, and it kept getting worse. And the feds kept staying out. For days.

                      Yes, repairing the breaches in, say, 72 hours or so - this would have helped with cutting down on the size of the rescue efforts necessary - and how long the resuce would have taken. Still, there was no evacuation going on - rescuees were piling up without services.

                      Nagin did about as well as most mayor would have. I don't fault him for the actions he took and the constraints he faced - except that there could have been quite a bit more in emergency supplies available - City govt is at fault there. But the real problem was that there was nothing coming in except some bits and pieces from the State...and that gets laid at the feet of the feds.

                      Nagin could not have done a thing about the halting the flooding itself, or the breaches. He rightfully focused on what could be done by City govt - he tried.

                      In my thinking, the feds did not even try.

                      •  In the beginning Nagin (none)
                        was protecting both lives and property.  By the time it became apparent that the cavalry was taking its sweet time to come charging in, Nagin switched to protecting lives.   If Nagin had known in advance that he was on his own, he could have focussed strictly on protecting lives and started an organized resource procurement(aka official looting) effort to help people.  I believe the people who came to the Dome were told to bring two days supplies, not nearly enough.

                        We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never let them take it from us.

                        by Fabian on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 12:44:05 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Exactly... (none)
                          ...I am confident that many many more local officials would have commandeered at least some of the resources needed for accomodating rescuees - and what alotta local officials needed to know was "how we're gonna get these folks outa the Dome and Convention Center and somewhere at least marginally more appropriate?" The people were in effect held there - and it was equally as unbelievable that no alternative sites were being prepared outside of the immediate area - and that no supplies were coming in to accomodate the people there.
                •  THAT is the 64 million dollar question (none)
                  WHY were 'resources tight'? When a cat 5 hurricane is bearing down on you, and you KNOW that a break in the levee will flood the city, you GET the resources. You DEMAND the resources.

                  FEMA and DHS didn't want to GIVE them the resources. If they had heavy equipment and stone, concrete slabs, etc. parked a couple of hours away, they should have been able to drop a few tons of concrete barriers in the canals or levees as soon as the storm passed.

                  Not 5 days (or however many it was) later. HOURS.

                  •  oh, there were demands... (none)
                    ...some of them were quite public. even public demands didn't seem to have any effect. Even pleading that "we are Americans" didn't seem to have any effect.

                    Days mattered. Hours mattered. For some people, minutes mattered.

                    It wasn't very nice to feel that the feds weren't coming. It was not very nice at all to feel that.

            •  Related Question from Simulations-- (none)
              Did the Hurricane Pam exercise yield a quick-repair strategy for major breeches?

              I'm guessing not or else we'd long ago have heard the screaming that The Dutchboy Patch had been left sitting in warehouses.

              We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

              by Gooserock on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 11:31:21 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  I Agree with Fabian... (none)
              ...that once the breech occured, engineers needed to wait until the pressure equalized before any repair work could be performed.  Patching a 300 foot levee hole during 130 MPH+ winds with a height differential of 20+ feet on either side is the stuff of SciFi movies.

              Emergency work PRIOR to the levees breeching is a different story.  As I understand, one breech ocured due to a large barge breaking loose and drifting into/through a section of levee (I believe it's still sitting on some houses).  Preventive measures to get that barge more securely tied down, or even moved the hell out of the area prior to the storm could have prevented this particular breech.

              Other preventive measures would have been making sandbags available at stratgic locations so sections of the levees could be reinforced as waters rose.

              I can't follow the hearings (non-work friendly stuf for where I work) but questions that should be getting asked include such items as:

              If FEMA analysis indicated that the storm might cause levees to breech, what was being done in preparation?

              •  130mph+ winds ended... (none)
                ...by maybe mid-morning on Monday. Not much of an excuse on Tuesday or Wednesday - there was no wind at all after late afternoon on Monday.

                You're not thinking about going "upstream". Where was the water coming from - the Lake. What is at the intersection of a Lake and a canal? The mouth of the canal.

                Question: If water is flowing out of the Lake and up the canal and out of the breach, what can be done to keep the water out of the breach?
                Answer: Seal off the breach...or...Seal off the mouth of the canal.

                Sounds crazy? Couldn't have been done?

                They did it. A coupla weeks after the storm, after the breach, after the flooding. They sealed-off the mouth of the canal to relieve the pressure on the patch. The Lake was still high when they drove the sheet pile to cut the water. It wasn't a water-tight seal - it served to reduce the pressure from the Lake up the canal.

                If they had done that earlier - and again, I don't buy into the excuse that it couldn't have been done within say 24-48 hours of the breach on the 17th Street Canal and the London Avenue Canal - that would have reduced the flow through the breaches and made patching more do-able.

                And that's just one thing that could have been done.

                Again, for me, it comes down to choices and that there was no can-do-gotta-do attitude. Maybe someone wanted it to just continue. Maybe it was just easier to say, "oh well, SOOL."

      •  I wonder if they would have responded (none)
        different had it been a terrorist attack, like a bomb set off to sabotage the city. I wonder if they would have seen it as irreparable? I don't know, but if they would have been the same response to a terrorists attack on the levees, then we are all screwed should something happen again.

        ... we now know a lot of things, most of which, we already knew... (-dash888)

        by Tirge Caps on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 10:45:57 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Pretty much the same... (none)
          ...I figure that the BushCo crony-pack will respond to any emergency in pretty much the same fashion. With overwhelming incompetence and priorities determined by CYA and crony contracts.

          And even tho' I was down here, in the middle of this, and I know how hard it was to get things done, I'd have to point out that this emergency might have sorta be the "easy" one on the list of worst-case scenarios that could go wrong - the list that FEMA had already contrived. Think a bit about a dirty-bomb or a mini-nuke, or a huge earthquake in a heavily populated West Coast city - do these folks inspire any confidence that they could even marginally address the situation?

        •  A little different (none)
          But if a levee was blown, the first thing the authorities would do is evacuate the affected areas as fast as possible.  You might be able to plug the hole but you damned well better get people out of danger.

          We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never let them take it from us.

          by Fabian on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 11:03:36 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Remember: NO Republican Policy Is Ever (none)
          intended to operate as sold.

          If they oppose a program then it's staffed with cronies and incompetents for payback, with the eventual failure supporting privatization.

          If they favor a program, it's to accomplish something wildly different than what it's sold and named for. For example, Iraq.

          We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

          by Gooserock on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 11:33:37 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Pryor about contracts (none)
    after this hurricane you started at ground zero and had to do negotiations after the storm occured

    Chert: I'm not sure that is correct - will get back to you on that.  allowed some purchases locally to meet needs.  

    P: contracts competitive?  

    Ch: not sure, will get back to you.  the right answer is to prearrange contracts up front.  timeline for procurement.
    =
    CH:we need to start thinking now for upcoming hurricane season.

    P:  talking about hurricane pam simulation and new madrid fault simulation.  New madrid exercise has never been done.  seems to me we see total lack of planning; could be enormous national disaster; appears FEMA and DHS not prepared for that.  Spend the money to do that exercise.

    "You can have your own opinion, but you can't have your own set of facts." - Ellen Tauscher (D-CA) 1/25/06

    by Ellicatt on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 10:09:27 AM PST

  •  Robert Bennet (none)
    ...another apologist, it seems.

    Can we wait even a SECOND longer? SEE GRAPHIC...

    by STOP George on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 10:13:25 AM PST

  •  Bennet: (none)
    "I still have confidence in your ability to manage this department"

    "I remember when the answer seemed so clear. We had never lived without or tasted fear." The Monkees

    by kisler1224 on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 10:17:37 AM PST

  •  Bennett (none)
    CH: coast guard is part of DHS.  

    Bennett: we want to know what happened, whats going on w/trailers, and future  - where are we going to solve the department's problems.  knew would not function properly for the first five years; has to do w/challenge of creating dept.  largest reorg of exec branch since creation of DOD and unfortunately the first secretary of defense committed suicide; ridge cut though that; never really functioned for the first 20 years; took goldwater/nichols act to (fix it)  the coast guard handled transfer to DHS virtually without a ripple; that is a  tribute to dept and coast guard.  FEMA did not (make smooth transition); found it staggering that under secy would testify that he deliberatly would not call you and discuss because he considered it a "waste of my time".  it is staggering to me that a subordinate could be that insubordinate and hide it from you to the degree that he apparently did.  isn't a hint in his answers of his attitude that we saw on friday.  that is an incredible demonstration of dysfunction and the difference between FEMA's and coast guards' performance.  your description of what you did in Atlanta; accurate description of engaged official.  just because you're in atlanta (doesn't say) you had no connection w/what was going on.  still have confidence in your ability to run this department.  
    ===
    Chert: I reject brown's statement (more focused on terrsm than on natural disasters, homeland..)

    "You can have your own opinion, but you can't have your own set of facts." - Ellen Tauscher (D-CA) 1/25/06

    by Ellicatt on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 10:20:53 AM PST

  •  Bullshit. Bullshit. Bullshit. (none)
    Chertoff is now lying through his teeth about what "it means" when he and the prez were "surprised".

    That's right.  He's "assuming" the prez was surprised about the same thing.

    Reeeeeallly!

    Can we wait even a SECOND longer? SEE GRAPHIC...

    by STOP George on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 10:24:28 AM PST

    •  It's another one of those (none)
      "he didn't mean it literally" answers

      "I remember when the answer seemed so clear. We had never lived without or tasted fear." The Monkees

      by kisler1224 on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 10:26:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  what is this "surprised"...??? (none)
      I believe that the job descriptions of both a president and an emergency manager include something fairly specific about NOT being surprised by worst-case scenarios during rare but predictable events that occur during their tenure.

      It seems that they misunderstimate the nature of their jobs.

  •  woohoo (none)
    we made the recommended list!!! My first ever!

    "I remember when the answer seemed so clear. We had never lived without or tasted fear." The Monkees

    by kisler1224 on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 10:25:06 AM PST

  •  Chertoff (none)
    is lying through his teeth.  He's not even looking at the Senator Levin now.

    Can we wait even a SECOND longer? SEE GRAPHIC...

    by STOP George on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 10:25:28 AM PST

  •  They caught him!!! (none)
    They've just caught him on perjury methinks.

    Can we wait even a SECOND longer? SEE GRAPHIC...

    by STOP George on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 10:27:31 AM PST

  •  Chaffe on "AVIAN FLU" (none)
    WHAT THE FUCK?!!

    Can we wait even a SECOND longer? SEE GRAPHIC...

    by STOP George on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 10:33:52 AM PST

  •  Leviin (none)
    L: fact that levees broke that you referred to (caught by surprise..)

    C: what surprised me is when I went home 10-12 hours after storm passed - then learned levees breached.

    L:  statement that (about wouldn't have guessed that levees broke...YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN!).

    ch: My understanding is that he (president) meant what I meant.
    ===
    CH: I did not anticipate getting a report tues am that the (levees breached).  I think that what I referred to was the particular (occurrance) of events.

    L: when you went to bed monday night not knowing levees breeched, communications said they had been breeched; email to Lauter(sic) on monday levees breeched through 9th ward, another fire department reported breech from Heath to Lauter, another, coast guard report.  committee received another CG email said a levee in NO breched 3-8 ft water into city - this went directly into your operation.

    CH:received oral reports but not from my op center people.  

    L:your op center notified several times there was a breech.  something is not working well in your shop.  you said you could be contacted within seconds but went to bed not aware of the most significant event.  who is responsible for not getting that info to you

    C: let me be fair - i spoke to broderick - he was dismayed that we didn't know.  internal emails is not the way to organize and communicate information.  there was info flowing in that was imperfect, conflicting; he made decision to pass up to leadership of the dept.;  saw email from brown to lauter (that said) water was over, but not a breech.  

    L:  was known mon morning.  have infor from helicopter; those pictures were there;  how does these screw ups happnen?

    C:some never got to op center - some did; conflicting stories.  problem; effort did not proceed the way it should have proceeded.  We should have had capability on mon to put trained officer who would have done a survey.

    L:agree but message comes in monday that never got to you.  Is anybody held accountable for failing to do what should have been done to get info to you except for you coming before us to accept responsibility?

    C: yes; not issue of message not being conveyed.  6:00 report - levee not breeched.  Broderick unhappy about that and have made adjustments to deal with.  I would rather he reached me earlier with less perfect information; i have held people accountable and have a process now that is better.

    "You can have your own opinion, but you can't have your own set of facts." - Ellen Tauscher (D-CA) 1/25/06

    by Ellicatt on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 10:37:30 AM PST

  •  Isn't this supposed to be about Katrina? (none)
    Why is he asking about Hawaii

    "I remember when the answer seemed so clear. We had never lived without or tasted fear." The Monkees

    by kisler1224 on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 10:47:05 AM PST

  •  Akaka (none)
    Natl Resp Plan:  PFO; Rhode said he was unaware of provision and unaware that he became acting FEMA director when brown was PFO; were you aware of this provision; did you communicate to Rhose

    C: requries to be fulltime PFO; brown and FEMA was doing nothing but working on katrina.  in terms of who is running (this) back at HQ, person who was chief op officer was very experienced; he and his team is who we looked to for actual managing agency while brown in gulf.  (Ken Burrs is the person)

    A: food, water ice - why was logistic system not up to handling catastrophic event?

    C: they ordered a lot for initial staging.  dont contract directly but through army corp of engineers.  there are a lot of companies that can tell you by the minute where package is.  required to put communication on trucks that tell you (where they are).  I don't know  - who originally set up the arrangements to do contracting through other agencies.  business model involved contracting through other people, not a (good) businss model.  

    A: DHS does not have point of contact; may have prevented some of the catastropic response.  could have provided point of contact (w/state, local, etc.)  in Hawaii we don't have neighboring states that could help.  outside help would come from fed.  Regional structure office in DHS (now)?

    C: not fully formed; we look to have regional DHS linked up w/milit and FEMA regions; continuity of relationship and prepared within states within region

    A: Hawaii - Northcom doesn't include Hawaii. regional office would serve Hawaii with the pacific.

    C: as we roll out details..critical we be aligned on how we do these things.

    "You can have your own opinion, but you can't have your own set of facts." - Ellen Tauscher (D-CA) 1/25/06

    by Ellicatt on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 10:49:59 AM PST

  •  Lautenberg (none)
    talking about president's "brownie - heck of a job".  "Could he have been as bad as everyone said or is he the designated scapegoat?"

    pepole are interested and legitimate questions have been raised.  where you aware of  transportation's decision on Amtrak - trains sitting there?

    C: became aware of that; don't really know reason for that.  I can't tell you why that train moved out with empty spaces.

    "You can have your own opinion, but you can't have your own set of facts." - Ellen Tauscher (D-CA) 1/25/06

    by Ellicatt on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 10:54:06 AM PST

  •  total bullshit AGAIN (none)
    Chertoff is playing the "unconfirmed reports" card on the levee breaches.

    There were multiple emails sent to his office about the levee breaches that day.

    Can we wait even a SECOND longer? SEE GRAPHIC...

    by STOP George on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 10:58:11 AM PST

    •  He's even comparing (none)
      the confusion with 9/11 with Katrina.

      Even if there were "unconfirmed reports" as he says (which is false), why did he go to the avian flu conference on Tuesday?

      Can we wait even a SECOND longer? SEE GRAPHIC...

      by STOP George on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 11:00:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  This has been DHS' line all along. (none)
      Reports were unconfirmed, and we didn't get them anyway.

      Well, whose fault is that?

      Coast Guard, whose helicopters were in the air, is DHS and reports to Chertoff.
      Marty Bahamonde, who got a report out saying the levees were breached, was FEMA, which reports to Chertoff.

      The $64 billion (and more) question:  "Secretary Chertoff, why was the communication in your Department so bad that you didn't get any of these reports?"

      Of course, he'll weasel on that one by saying he had only been Secretary for a few months...

      The last time people listened to a talking bush, they wandered 40 years in the desert.

      by DC Pol Sci on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 11:53:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Do these guys not even (none)
      watch TV? Listen to their people THERE? HAVE anybody there?

      What a bunch of incompetent morons.

  •  Head of DHS states (none)
    that the department can not disclose to the public details of plans to deal with emergencies. I guess they don't want to tip their hand to terrorist(?)
    Chertoff says if the public wants tips on what to do during or after an emergency they can log on to Ready.gov.
    I'd like to know how many of the people directly effected by the storm and flood had internet access available to them during that time.
    I'd also like to know what kind of bubble wrapped world does this administration live in?
  •  Lautenberg (none)
    taking about email; 9:00 am monday; Lewis(?) sent to Waters and others at DHS; getting bad, people trapped in attics; most of area lost electricity.

    C: (that's talking about the flooding right after the storm) critical issue was the breech of levee. this particular communication didn't reach me...
    =
    L:this email was sent to DHS; this was general distribution to people at top of DHS.  was there a "don't disturb the secretary" that this didn't come to you?  one of the complaints was brown didn't (come to you) but went directly to WH.  I find it astonishing that you didn't learn about the severity.  whether breech of levee or just water coming in - unless there is protocol that you don't disturb secy until X or Y...

    C: quite the contrary; i think challenge was "is the report based on reliable observation" - what are the facts on the ground.  I've been through (situations) where reports coming in are not true.  (my) criticism most often is why did you not call me earlier.  

    "You can have your own opinion, but you can't have your own set of facts." - Ellen Tauscher (D-CA) 1/25/06

    by Ellicatt on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 11:01:06 AM PST

    •  Do they not watch TV? (none)
      Where ARE these morons? Were they too busy watching reruns of Seinfeld? Friends? They can't be bothered to turn on the Weather Channel, CNN, MSNBC, Fox, or call the STATE emergency agency?

      You know, somebody who might actually have PEOPLE THERE, who might know WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?

  •  Collins (none)
    asking that additional questions from members to be submitted by tomorrow night.  Requests response from Chertoff by 2/28.

    "You can have your own opinion, but you can't have your own set of facts." - Ellen Tauscher (D-CA) 1/25/06

    by Ellicatt on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 11:02:37 AM PST

  •  off the hook (none)
    1 round of questions ? make anyone mad ?
    •  I've gotta say... (none)
      with the exception of a couple of senators (like Levin), this was wasted time.

      And yes, I'm pissed that there isn't another round.

      I really hope that there is a whistleblower that comes out and confirms that he DID, in fact, know about the levees breached on Monday.

      Nobody from his own department (who knew) or anyone from the White House (who also knew) bothered to inform the DHS secretary?

      Give.  Me.  A.  Fucking.  Break!

      Can we wait even a SECOND longer? SEE GRAPHIC...

      by STOP George on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 11:09:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  oh now that's not fair (none)
    They don't get a second round to ask questions, and he gets to leave.  Why wasn't he attacked as much as Brownie was?  

    Does anyone know if we will get to find out what those questions are and what his answers are?  Will they be in the report?

    "I remember when the answer seemed so clear. We had never lived without or tasted fear." The Monkees

    by kisler1224 on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 11:03:23 AM PST

  •  OK. Collins wrapping it up here (none)
    with compliments all around.

    Good job boys.

    ... we now know a lot of things, most of which, we already knew... (-dash888)

    by Tirge Caps on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 11:04:18 AM PST

  •  Heck of (none)
    Brown-nose Job Lie-berman.
  •  After a little (none)
    kissing up by Lieberman, the committee adjourns

    "I remember when the answer seemed so clear. We had never lived without or tasted fear." The Monkees

    by kisler1224 on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 11:08:57 AM PST

  •  Select Committee's findings (none)
    are now on CSPAN-1

    Please continue this live blog with this presentation!

    Can we wait even a SECOND longer? SEE GRAPHIC...

    by STOP George on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 11:11:36 AM PST

  •  Georgia ran threads to 200 (none)
  •  Charlie Melancon (D) -LA (none)
    Moving speech. The essence is that none of these hearings have helped one citizen move back home.
    The Gulf Coast is broken, and with hurrican season not too far off, they're scared

    if you can remember the sixties, you weren't there...

    by meagert on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 11:20:21 AM PST

  •  Report Identifies (none)
    13 failures? Only 13?

    "I remember when the answer seemed so clear. We had never lived without or tasted fear." The Monkees

    by kisler1224 on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 11:21:41 AM PST

  •  McKinney (none)
    She's Good!!!

    Can we wait even a SECOND longer? SEE GRAPHIC...

    by STOP George on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 11:25:11 AM PST

  •  Ha! (none)
    Halliburton sweetheart no bid contracts!

    I think I kind of like that description

    "I remember when the answer seemed so clear. We had never lived without or tasted fear." The Monkees

    by kisler1224 on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 11:25:51 AM PST

  •  McKinneyChertoff should (none)
     resign!!!!

    if you can remember the sixties, you weren't there...

    by meagert on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 11:26:25 AM PST

  •  While people waited... (none)
    people died.

    Christopher Shays - R.

    Can we wait even a SECOND longer? SEE GRAPHIC...

    by STOP George on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 11:31:42 AM PST

    •  and the feds were late... (none)
      In a certain respect, the Monday-Tuesday-when-did-Chertoff-know is a bit irrelevant.

      The feds didn't really arrive for resuce until later in the week.

      When it comes to rescue, whether the levee breaches could have been patched is also, in a certain respect, totally irrelevant. The feds weren't   here with a significant resuce effort until Thursday or Friday, depending on what one calls "significant".

      And that's some kinda late.

      And then with the people in the Dome and the Convention Center - the feds were all kinda late in figure out just about everything.

      That much incompetence seems kinda willful, to me.

  •  Jefferson... (none)
    lambasting the chairman for it not being a 9/11 like commission.

    Can we wait even a SECOND longer? SEE GRAPHIC...

    by STOP George on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 11:33:17 AM PST

  •  Why are there kids.... (none)
    doing 10-20 in US prisons for smoking a joint, and these men are walking free, instead of being brought before the International Court for Crimes against Humanity?

    if you can remember the sixties, you weren't there...

    by meagert on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 11:36:07 AM PST

  •  Jefferson: (none)
    we weren't able to make a full report because we didn't get enough information...

    What?  

    "I remember when the answer seemed so clear. We had never lived without or tasted fear." The Monkees

    by kisler1224 on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 11:40:19 AM PST

  •  we just got knocked (none)
    off the recommended list

    "I remember when the answer seemed so clear. We had never lived without or tasted fear." The Monkees

    by kisler1224 on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 11:43:20 AM PST

  •  Rep. Buyer (none)
    "We can have the best plan in the world but if you don't have the right people running it then you've got nothing"

    "I remember when the answer seemed so clear. We had never lived without or tasted fear." The Monkees

    by kisler1224 on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 11:45:50 AM PST

  •  Is anyone still here? (none)
    it's been kind of quiet

    "I remember when the answer seemed so clear. We had never lived without or tasted fear." The Monkees

    by kisler1224 on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 11:49:58 AM PST

  •  Did Rep. Gene Taylor (none)
    just say that he hadn't read the full report?

    "I remember when the answer seemed so clear. We had never lived without or tasted fear." The Monkees

    by kisler1224 on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 11:56:12 AM PST

  •  they're setting up for a quick (none)
    press conference about the report and that's it.  Everybody got to say a few words, there was a vote to file the report which passed, and the meeting was adjourned.

    When will we get to see the report?

    "I remember when the answer seemed so clear. We had never lived without or tasted fear." The Monkees

    by kisler1224 on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 12:27:15 PM PST

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site