FEMA Director Offers New Spin On Broken Levees

Yesterday, Bush said “I don’t think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees.” Today, FEMA director Mike Brown was asked about that comment on ABC’s Good Morning America:

GIBSON: Mike, with all due respect to you and with all due respect to the president, I was amazed to hear him say to Diane yesterday, We didn’t know the levees were going to break. We didn’t know the dams wouldn’t hold.

We all were talking about that on Monday morning, that the levees were only built to withstand a category 3 hurricane. There’s batches of reports that say that. And you knew a 4 or 5 was coming all weekend long.

BROWN: I think we were all taken aback by the fact that the levees did break in so many places and caused such widespread devastation. And so we’re responding the best we can to help those people that are stuck in this ongoing disaster.

So the new story is: that administration knew the levees would break but didn’t think it was going to cause so much devastation. How could the administration not know that the flooding of a major city would cause massive devastation?

(The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette headline on 10/17/04: New Orleans In Danger of Drowning; Hurricane Ivan Passed It By, But a Direct Hit By Another Storm Would Swamp Its Levees and Leave Thousands Dead.)