Today, answering questions before a special congressional panel set up to investigate Katrina, Michael Brown tried to resuscitate his reputation. The facts didn’t back him up so Brown engaged in some revisionist history.
BROWN CLAIM: “FEMA doesn’t evacuate communities.”
FACT: Brown Said FEMA Was Engaging In Evacuations During Katrina
If there is still floodwaters around there, they shouldn’t be trying to evacuate those patients by themselves. The Coast Guard, FEMA, all of those continue to do those rescue missions and we continue to do those evacuations and we’ll certainly continue to evacuate all of the hospitals. [CNN, 9/1/05]
BROWN CLAIM: FEMA Was Stretched Beyond It Capabilities
“Mr. Chairman, this event stretched FEMA beyond its capabilities. There’s no question about that. It did it in several ways. One is FEMA, over the past several years, has lost a lot of manpower. At one point during my tenure, because of assessments by the Department of Homeland Security, FEMA has lost — at one point, we were short 500 people in an organization of about 2,500. You do the math. That’s pretty significant… FEMA has suffered from the inability to grow to meet the demands.”
FACT: Brown Said FEMA Had All The Manpower It Needed
BLITZER: Are you ready? Is FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, ready to deal with this new hurricane?
BROWN: We absolutely are. We have all the manpower and resources we need. President Bush has been a very great supporter of FEMA. [CNN, 9/26/04]
BROWN CLAIM: “I can’t discuss with you my conversations with the president’s chief of staff and the president.”
FACT: Brown Spoke to New York Times About Conversations With Chief of Staff
“Hours after Hurricane Katrina passed New Orleans on Aug. 29, as the scale of the catastrophe became clear, Michael D. Brown recalls, he placed frantic calls to his boss, Michael Chertoff, the secretary of homeland security, and to the office of the White House chief of staff, Andrew H. Card Jr. “¦ ‘I am having a horrible time,’ Mr. Brown said he told Mr. Chertoff and a White House official — either Mr. Card or his deputy, Joe Hagin — in a status report that evening. ‘I can’t get a unified command established.’” [NYT, 9/15/05]