But who knew it was going to be so direct.
George Bush with Diane Sawyer, September 1, 2005:
"I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees. They did anticipate a serious storm. But these levees got breached. And as a result, much of New Orleans is flooded. And now we are having to deal with it and will."But now according to a new tape unearthed by the AP, we see Bush being advised by experts the day before the storm hit:
"I also make absolutely clear to everyone that there is the potential for a large loss of life in the coastal areas from the storm surge" and "I don't think anybody can tell you with any confidence right now whether the levees will be topped or not, but that's obviously a very very grave concern."Despite this, George Bush made a decision to stay on vacation in Crawford.
From the AP:
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.Hoping to counteract the damage of the story, the White House leaked Newsweek transcripts from daily noon FEMA conference calls during and after Katrina to show how engaged and concerned Dubya was. Trouble is, these are transcripts that they had initially refused to provide to congressional investigators:
[T]he administration initially told Congress that the transcript for the Aug. 29 call -- the call congressional investigators were most curious about, given that it occurred as the hurricane was actually battering the Gulf Coast -- did not exist, with officials initially telling Capitol Hill that someone at FEMA or Homeland Security forgot to push the button on a tape recorder.I can't recall offhand how many times the Administration has invoked the "dog ate my homework" excuse this year, but I'd have to take off my shoes to count them.
"Everybody has been looking for that transcript," former FEMA chief Michael Brown said Wednesday.
A White House official unexpectedly e-mailed the transcript to NEWSWEEK earlier today Wednesday morning -- initially without explaining that it was the missing transcript. Two officials familiar with congressional investigations said that the document was turned over to Capitol Hill investigators Tuesday night. Administration officials told both Congress and NEWSWEEK that FEMA officials in Atlanta had taped the Aug. 29 conference call by aiming a video camera at a TV screen rather than following the usual recording procedure. The videotape was subsequently discovered and transcribed.
They really had to weigh the benefits of this one -- in order to try and prove that a narcissistic, elitist frat boy actually gave a shit about a bunch of dying poor people they had to bust their own lies:
Under questioning by congressional investigators as to why he went home at 10 p.m. on Aug. 29 amid conflicting reports about flooding and levee breaches, Rapuano indicated that the administration did not believe the White House was supposed to be a command center. He says he went home believing that FEMA's Michael Brown had all the resources he needed and that extensive search-and-rescue efforts were under way in New Orleans. Trent Duffy, a White House spokesman, said earlier this year: "The White House is not an operational institution. It doesn't run the nitty-gritty in natural disasters, and it doesn't direct bombing sorties in Iraq."Once again, the White House proves that when Congress asks for documents for the purposes of a legitimate investigation -- well, that's just beyond the pale, executive privilege, national security, blah blah blah, fill in the blank. But leaking those very same documents to spin the press in a convenient moment of CYA, or if something needs to be declassified as part of a larger PR smear campaign, well that's just fine and dandy.
Some congressional investigators say it now seems somewhat ironic that having belatedly found the Aug. 29 conference-call transcript, the administration is now touting it as evidence of deep presidential -- and White House -- involvement in the crisis.
I don't know what deity might be brewing up this perfect storm of payback for Dubya but he does not seem to be interested in having a friendly conversation with the Boy King at the moment.
(graphic by Dark Black)