February 11, 2006

When did the White House know New Orleans was flooding?

After Hurricane Katrina hit on Monday, Aug 29, Dubya and other administration officals maintained that they didn't get news of the levee breaks until sometime on the 30th. The New York Times has reported that the White House knew about the disaster in New Orleans by midnight on the 29th, yet didn't act on that news. [Dubya stayed on vacation; Homeleand Security head Michael Chertoff went off to a conference.]

Now it turns out that the administration was even slower on the uptake than even the Times story showed. According to an AP report, the White House knew about the levee breaks on the morning of the 29th — just hours after the breaks happened.

"The first communication came at 8:30 a.m.," said Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., top Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. "So it is inexplicable to me how those responsible for the federal response could have woken up Tuesday morning unaware of this obviously catastrophic situation."

The first internal White House communication about levee failures came at 11:13 a.m. on Aug. 29 in a "Katrina Spot Report" by the White House Homeland Security Council.

"Flooding is significant throughout the region and a levee in New Orleans has reportedly been breached sending 6-8 feet of water throughout the 9th ward area of the city," the internal report said.

This magpie is anxiously waiting to hear how Dubya's minions will try to explain this story away.

Posted by Magpie at February 11, 2006 12:29 AM | US News | Technorati links |

Personally, I think they should have a lot of explaining to do as to why it took even hours for the Whitehouse to find out about the levees. If an emergency like a massive hurricane is about to strike a major US city, the Whitehouse should be getting live updates on the situation for the duration.

Posted by: felice at February 13, 2006 05:45 PM