Thursday, October 20, 2005


Don't You Feel Safer With Republicans in Charge?

How many bad apples does it take before the public perception of Republicans as competent leaders goes away?
Chertoff says ex-FEMA director was `commander' during Katrina
(Wed, Oct. 19, 2005)

By Alison Young

Knight Ridder Newspapers

...Chertoff also deflected an aggressive string of questions by Rep. Steve Buyer, R-Ind., about why Chertoff waited to designate Brown the "principal federal official" in charge of the response until nearly 36 hours after the storm hit.

According to the National Response Plan and a 2003 Presidential Directive, the secretary of Homeland Security is the principal federal official responsible for handling major and catastrophic disasters. It's the secretary's responsibility to coordinate the federal government's resources in responding to these events.

Only after Buyer left his seat and directly approached Chertoff at the witness table with a section of the plan did Chertoff acknowledge that he was the principal federal official until he transferred that title to Brown.

But Chertoff said the title made no difference and that, as director of FEMA, Brown had full authority to take action without it.

Michael Greenberger, a law professor and director of the University of Maryland's Center for Health and Homeland Security, disputed that Brown had adequate authority prior to Chertoff's designating him the principal federal official.

"I think to this day Michael Chertoff still doesn't know what the National Response Plan calls for," Greenberger said. "Look, if Michael Brown was supposed to be effectively the principal federal official in charge of this, the National Response Plan would have made the PFO the FEMA director."
(Emphasis added.)

It's like watching retired union members talking about how the public "doesn't want to pay for retirees' pensions" without asking why that same public doesn't mind paying billions for bloated executive salaries, golden parachutes, pensions, etc. General Motors' executives claim sky-high salaries while running their company into bankruptcy, yet nobody blinks. Bizarre.


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