Video reveals pre-Katrina posturing

March 2, 2006 at 8:57 AM
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WASHINGTON, March 2 (UPI) -- Newly released tapes of a teleconference the day before and when Hurricane Katrina struck the U.S. Gulf Coast indicates officials ignored an expert's warning.

In an Aug. 28 recording, Max Mayfield, head of the National Hurricane Center in Miami, warned that Katrina was "much larger than Hurricane Andrew ever was."

President George Bush was in on the call while vacationing at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, and heard Michael Brown, then-director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency say: "This is, to put it mildly, the big one."

The videos were requested by the Senate Homeland Security Committee in its investigation of where the response to the storm fell short, CNN reported.

In response to the Aug. 28-29 videotapes, the White House said the briefings represented only a snapshot of what went on behind the scenes before the storm struck.

White House spokesman Trent Duffy told The New York Times the footage showed that Bush was heavily engaged while leaving "battlefield" decisions to his commanders.

The storm flooded 80 percent of New Orleans and killed more than 1,000 people in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi.

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