Friday, October 21, 2005

"You are doing a heck of a job Brownie"

Those were the words of President Bush, describing the now ex-FEMA head, Michael Brown. Marty Bahamonde, a FEMA representative in the city of New Orleans disputed this bitterly yesterday in front of the bipartisan senate investigation.

Citing e-mail sent to Brown and other top officials in Baton Rouge, Bahamonde testified that he told Brown that things were critical and needed immediate attention.

In a series of increasingly dire, angry e-mails and phone calls, Bahamonde updated Brown, aides and top spokesmen for FEMA beginning Aug. 28 from the New Orleans emergency operations center and then from the Superdome across the street.

"Issues developing at the Superdome. The medical staff at the dome says they will run out of oxygen in about two hours and are looking for alternative oxygen," Bahamonde wrote to FEMA Region VI spokesman David Passey on Aug. 28.

About 7 p.m. Aug. 29:

Bahamonde said, he called Brown and warned him of "massive flooding," that 20,000 people were short of food and water at the Superdome and that thousands of people were standing on roofs or balconies seeking rescue.

Brown replied only: "Thank you. I'm going to call the White House," Bahamonde said.

No one can say if he ever actually did call the White House.

At 11:20 a.m. Aug. 31:

Bahamonde e-mailed Brown, "Sir, I know that you know the situation is past critical . . . thousands gathering in the streets with no food or water . . . estimates are many will die within hours."

At 2:27 p.m., however, Brown press secretary Sharon Worthy wrote colleagues to schedule an interview for Brown on MSNBC's "Scarborough Country" and to give him more time to eat dinner because Baton Rouge restaurants were getting busy: "He needs much more that 20 or 30 minutes."

Bahamonde e-mailed a friend to "just tell [Worthy] that I just ate an MRE . . . along with 30,000 other close friends so I understand her concern."

So, let me get this straight. The city is flooding. People are trapped. The people on the ground are running out of food, water, and medical equipment and Brown has to go out for dinner? I got one word for you - Delivery.

Aide Says FEMA Ignored Warnings

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