After Levees Failed, Bush Had “A Sense of Relaxation”

President Bush, after being asked whether he was ‘misinformed’ by his advisors before he said that no one anticipated the breach of the levees:

What I was referring to is this: When that storm came by, a lot of people said we dodged a bullet. When that storm came through at first, people said, Whew. There was a sense of relaxation. And that’s what I was referring to.

And I myself thought we had dodged a bullet. You know why? Because I was listening to people probably over the airwaves say, The bullet has been dodged. And that was what I was referring to.

Of course, there were plans in case the levee had been breached. There was a sense of relaxation at a critical moment.


President Bush’s story doesn’t hold up.

As our timeline shows, Bush learned of the serious potential that the levees could be topped as early as Sunday, well before the storm hit, during a briefing with the National Hurricane Center director. More importantly, water was flowing over the levees before Katrina hit land at 6:30 a.m. (By late Sunday night, waves were crashing over the levee walkway. By 3 a.m. on Monday, they had failed.)

So Bush’s “sense of relaxation” came long after the levees had been breached.