The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Breaking: Video exists of Bush being warned of levee breach prior to landfall

I'm hearing this on the Ed Schultz show right now.

President Bush was being briefed on the potential devastation of Katrina the day before it made landfall. Warned that it could breach the levees and destroy the city, the president did not ask a single question, but assured those addressing him that the government was fully prepared.

Video footage and transcripts are in the hands of the press, the AP has reported.

Keep in mind that 4 days after the damage was done, Bush claimed that "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees."

Another lie from the president to the people of the United States. And it wasn't about an intern-- it was about a disaster that killed more than 1,000 Americans.

I'll update this story as it inevitably turns into a huge shitstorm. But if you heard it hear first, tell your friends. And consider me to now be fully behind the impeachment of George W. Bush. Which is also the new talking point from the right-wing noise machine. "All the lefties care about is impeachment. They don't have any ideas." Here's an idea: install a president who actually gives a damn about the future of the Republic.

UPDATE: This is the original story (link at the top), via the San Jose Mercury News.

Here is the story in its entirety:

In dramatic and sometimes agonizing terms, federal disaster officials warned President Bush and his homeland security chief before Hurricane Katrina struck that the storm could breach levees, risk lives in New Orleans' Superdome and overwhelm rescuers, according to confidential video footage of the briefings.

Bush didn't ask a single question during the final government-wide briefing the day before Katrina struck on Aug. 29 but assured soon-to-be-battered state officials: "We are fully prepared."

Six days of footage and transcripts obtained by The Associated Press show in excruciating detail that while federal officials anticipated the tragedy that unfolded in New Orleans and elsewhere along the Gulf Coast, they were fatally slow to realize they had not mustered enough resources to deal with the unprecedented disaster.

Linked by secure video, Bush's bravado on Aug. 29 starkly contrasts with the dire warnings his disaster chief and a cacophony of federal, state and local officials provided during the four days before the storm.

A top hurricane expert voiced "grave concerns" about the levees and then-Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Michael Brown told the president and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff that he feared there weren't enough disaster teams to help evacuees at the Superdome.

"I'm concerned about ... their ability to respond to a catastrophe within a catastrophe," Brown told his bosses the afternoon before Katrina made landfall.

Some of the footage conflicts with the defenses that federal, state and local officials have made in trying to deflect blame and minimize the political fallout from the failed Katrina response:

Homeland Security officials have said the "fog of war" blinded them early on to the magnitude of the disaster. But the video and transcripts show federal and local officials discussed threats clearly, reviewed long-made plans and understood Katrina would wreak devastation of historic proportions. "I'm sure it will be the top 10 or 15 when all is said and done," National Hurricane Center's Max Mayfield warned the day Katrina lashed the Gulf Coast.

"I don't buy the 'fog of war' defense," Brown told the AP in an interview Wednesday. "It was a fog of bureaucracy."

Bush declared four days after the storm, "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees" that gushed deadly flood waters into New Orleans. But the transcripts and video show there was plenty of talk about that possibility - and Bush was worried too.