Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

February 13, 2006

House Dems release their Katrina report annex

Filed under: Congress and HLS,Preparedness and Response — by Christian Beckner on February 13, 2006

The minority report of the House Katrina Committee is now available on Congressman Charlie Melancon’s (D-LA) website. It largely agrees with the full committee report (which will be released on Wednesday), but argues that the full committee did not go far enough in its critiques:

For all it accomplished, however, the Select Committee adopted an approach that largely eschews direct accountability. The majority report rarely assesses how these problems occurred, why they were not corrected sooner, and who in particular was responsible. Instead, the report uses the passive voice to describe generic “institutional” failures, general “communications problems,” and vague “bureaucratic inertia.” It seldom holds anyone accountable for these failures.

Melancon and William Jefferson (D-LA) describe Sec. Chertoff as “strangely detached” during the crisis and recommend that he should be replaced as DHS Secretary:

As the majority findings make clear, Secretary Chertoff provided ineffective leadership at a time of great crisis. We therefore recommend his replacement. We believe the President should appoint an official familiar with emergency management to the nation’s top homeland security post.

Finally, they criticize the House majority for their decision not to support an independent commission with subpoena powers, and argue that the committee received insufficient responses to their document requests from the White House and the Department of Defense as a result.

Melancon has also posted a 160-page compendium of documents related to the investigation, which includes letters to government officials requesting information and interim summaries of the committee’s efforts.

Update (2/13): Here’s the Times-Picayune story on the minority report.

Update 2 (2/13): The majority report for the Katrina Committee seems to have been leaked all over the media this weekend, but I can’t find it yet online. Readers are encouraged to send me a copy.

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Comment by William R. Cumming

February 13, 2006 @ 8:13 pm

Somewhere there is a quote concerning good people trapped in bad systems. There does seem to be a consensus that the systems and processes undermined what initiative and effort was made. The war fought was the war prepared for. In this case Category IV or V or whatever was off the table as far as realistic effort at preparedness. OMB is long-ago in writing telling FEMA that it would not fund worst-case planning or preparedness. Will Secreetary Chertoff succeed if the climate at OMB does not change. NSDD-47 in 1982 mandated a single federal domestic response system to be mobilized if necessary. Perhaps the OMB Budget Examiners and leadership are the real party at fault. Actually it may be brainpower not money that is required now. Money may be needed later.


Comment by Brian

February 14, 2006 @ 2:26 pm

Why doesn’t America look to the voters of Louisiana for blame; they after all voted for two incompetents in the position of Governor and Mayor. One is a school teacher and the other is a Bourbon Street conniver. They got what they elected.
The American people keep falling for this idea that “talk” in an election will produce results when the chips are down. The Mayor, Governor, and President are nothing more than chief executive officers that run a not-for-profit business. If you cannot execute you have no business being elected. But Louisiana is America’s shining example of political folly! They got what they voted for! Lets place some real blame on their shoulders.

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