Following criticism earlier in the week from members of Congress that the White House has been dragging its feet in responding to requests for information by the congressional Katrina investigators, a meeting was held yesterday at the White House with Deputy Homeland Security Advisor Kenneth Rapuano. The New York Times reports on the meeting:
The White House was beset by the “fog of war” in the crucial days immediately after Hurricane Katrina, leaving it unable to respond properly to the unfolding catastrophe, House investigators said Friday after getting the most detailed briefing yet on how President Bush’s staff had handled the events.
The article goes on to detail the timeline by which the White House received information about levee breaks in New Orleans.
The article also notes:
With the House not yet in session, only one lawmaker from the investigative committee â€” its chairman, Tom Davis, Republican of Virginia â€” was present for the briefing. Mr. Rapuano told him and the staff investigators that the White House role had been to monitor the situation. The Federal Emergency Management Agency and its parent, the Department of Homeland Security, were operationally in charge, he said.
It’s disappointing that more members of Congress were unable or unwilling to cut their vacations short and return to DC for this important meeting.