Ex-FEMA chief: State caused Katrina mess

Sept. 27, 2005 at 3:05 PM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 27 (UPI) -- The ex-director of the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency says Louisiana's governor is responsible for bungling the Hurricane Katrina response.

Testifying before a House select committee investigating the preparation for and response to Katrina, Michael Brown Tuesday said his agency's approach to the deadly Aug. 29 storm worked in Mississippi and Alabama, but said: "The only variable was the state government officials involved."

The storm killed more than 1,000 people, most of them in the New Orleans area, which flooded soon after the category 5 storm came ashore.

The Washington Post said Brown took responsibility for two mistakes: not setting up a system of media briefings instead of granting interviews and "not being able to persuade" Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin "to sit down and coordinate their response."

Brown was relieved of command, then recalled from the field Sept. 9 amid criticism that he or department officials had embellished his resume. He resigned three days later.

Brown was replaced as Katrina response chief by U.S. Coast Guard Vice Adm. Thad Allen and by David Paulison, FEMA acting director.

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