Bush aide testifies on Katrina response

Jan. 28, 2006 at 12:07 AM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- A White House official told a congressional committee Friday he was getting mixed messages about the levees in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Kenneth Rapuano, deputy domestic security adviser to President George W. Bush, testified at a closed meeting, the New York Times reported. But those who attended the meeting said the White House was told at about midnight on Monday, Aug. 29, the levees had broken -- and was told a few hours later that FEMA was still evaluating the situation.

"We are left with a picture of a White House that was plagued by the fog of war," said David Marin, the Republican staff director to the committee investigating the government's response to Katrina. "The committee is likely to find a disturbing inability by the White House to de-conflict and analyze information -- and that had consequences."

Bush was on vacation at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, when Katrina struck and apparently continued to believe that New Orleans had "dodged the bullet" as the flood waters rose.

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