You are here

fema

What the WaPo isn't telling you about multilevel contracting

The WaPo reports on the many sub and sub-sub contractors required to perform contracts in "Multiple Layers Of Contractors Drive Up Cost of Katrina Cleanup". One example they present is that of the FEMA buses.
Now, here's what the WaPo isn't telling you. In the article, they refer to "Spanish-speaking crews" doing roofing work. That's the WaPo's euphemism for "federal money is going to those who have an 80% chance of being illegal aliens".
By using multiple layers of subcontractors, prime contractors are able to employ illegal aliens with an even greater deal of impunity than they would if they employed them directly.
The trickle-down contracting is bad enough, but what makes it even worse is that many of the jobs were given to those here illegally rather than to American hurricane victims.
The Washington Post supported illegal aliens taking rebuilding jobs from American hurricane victims, so it's understandable that they would want to avoid discussing this side of things.

Pictures of FEMA's wasted trailers

There are some pictures inside a lot in Hope Arkansas where unused FEMA trailers are stored here. Row upon row upon row. Now, of course, I have no way to verify the report, and it comes second-hand. However, a trucker who delivered some of them claims that they're deluxe units, complete with microwave ovens, new furniture, etc. And, FEMA is stacking them close together... in soft soil... so when it rains they sink and move into one another causing damage.

Michael Brown: Bush knew levees could breach; Chertoff should quit

From this March 3 CNN transcript come these claims from former FEMA head Michael Brown:
- FEMA had been marginalized.
- He thinks Michael Chertoff should quit or be fired.
- He thinks Chertoff was misleading the American public about Brown appearing on TV and characterizing it as show-boating.
And, this:

MESERVE: In the transcripts of the 29th briefing, you talk about conversations you had that morning with the president. This is the day of landfall. And you say you talked to him about a number of things. He's asked questions breaches of the levees. How did the president know to ask about breaches of the levees? Did he have reports in hand at that time already that that had happened in New Orleans?
BROWN: There's no question in my mind he probably had those reports, because we were feeding in the Homeland Security Operations Center, into the White House sit room, all of the information that we were getting. So he had to have had that information. Plus, I think the president knew from our earlier conversations that that was one of my concerns, that the levees could actually breach.
MESERVE: So are you saying when you said recently that it was baloney that the White House didn't know about the breaches on Monday night -- are you saying that the president knew about the breaches on Monday morning?
BROWN: He knew that was a potential, because my testimony has been...
MESERVE: And he knew there were reports of them?
BROWN: Well, yes. He knew about the reports of potential breaches. Now, I think we're drawing a fine line here. Because even I have testified that I didn't know whether we had a breach of the levees or the levees had been topped. But somehow in the 11:00 to 1:00 timeframe, that became clear because we had sent someone out to actually look at them and see.

Much more at the link, and a summary in the article about the interview.
In other skull news, reports are that Chertoff might be leaving, but those have since been denied.

Blanco said levees were safe (Aug 29 at noon)

Around noon on the day when Katrina hit New Orleans, Louisiana governor Kathleen Blanco told the Bush administration that the levees were safe:

"We keep getting reports in some places that maybe water is coming over the levees... We heard a report unconfirmed, I think, we have not breached the levee. I think we have not breached the levee at this time."

However:

In fact, the National Weather Service received a report of a levee breach and issued a flash-flood warning as early as 9:12 a.m. that day, according to the White House's formal recounting of events the day Katrina struck.

And:

She reported that floodwaters were rising in parts of the city "where we have waters that are 8 to 10 feet deep, and we have people swimming in there."
"That's got a considerable amount of water itself," the governor said. "That's about all I know right now on the specifics that you haven't heard."
Blanco spokeswoman Denise Bottcher said Thursday that "our people on the ground were telling us that there could be overtopping and breaching, but it was hard to tell" by the noon briefing.
Another official who was heard but not seen on the video was then-Federal Emergency Management Agency Michael Brown, who was at the federal emergency operations center in Baton Rouge, La. He implored officials to "push the envelope as far as you can," noting that he had already spoken to President Bush twice that day and described the president as "very, very interested in this situation."
"He's very engaged, and he's asking a lot of really good questions I would expect him to ask," Brown said of Bush. "I say that only because I want everyone to recognize ... how serious the situation remains."

Bush admin knew levees could fail

Four days after Katrina, George W Bush said:

"I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees."

However, videos obtained by the AP shows internal Bush administration briefings, including one in which Bush and DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff were told that the levees might breach:

In dramatic and sometimes agonizing terms, federal disaster officials warned President Bush and his homeland security chief before Hurricane Katrina struck that the storm could breach levees, put lives at risk in New Orleans' Superdome and overwhelm rescuers, according to confidential video footage.
Bush didn't ask a single question during the final briefing before Katrina struck on Aug. 29, but he assured soon-to-be-battered state officials: "We are fully prepared."
The footage - along with seven days of transcripts of briefings obtained by The Associated Press - show in excruciating detail that while federal officials anticipated the tragedy that unfolded in New Orleans and elsewhere along the Gulf Coast, they were fatally slow to realize they had not mustered enough resources to deal with the unprecedented disaster.
Linked by secure video, Bush expressed a confidence on Aug. 28 that starkly contrasted with the dire warnings his disaster chief and numerous federal, state and local officials provided during the four days before the storm...

Shown the tape, Ray Nagin says:

"I have kind of a sinking feeling right now in my gut. I mean, I was listening to what people were saying and I was believing them that they didn't know. So therefore it was an issue of a learning curve... From this tape it looks like everybody was fully aware."

However, DHS spokeshole Russ Knocke says:

"I'm not sure what is shocking about this video. There's really nothing new or insightful from it,"

There's some kind of video here, but I didn't watch it.
UPDATE: I should have watched the video. According to this, the AP report is wrong: Bush was warned the levees might overtop (water flowing over the top), not that they might breach (rupture). Since I still haven't watched the video, I'm forced to take his word for it, and something about breaching might be elsewhere on the tapes available.
UPDATE 2: Here's another video link. And, Dan Froomkin goes around the bend here, tying this latest example of Bush incompetence with his initial response to 9/11. Apparently Froomkin is one of those expecting Bush to immediately jump up and start barking orders, Harrison Ford style.
UPDATE 3: Democratic apostate Mickey Kaus says:

"Is the despised, self-parodying MSM intentionally glossing over this important difference in order to exaggerate the anti-Bush shock value of the video? I don't know--but I do know that the actual "topped" quote was hard to find in print, lending some of the stories an eerie, undocumented quality. Do reporters not print the quote because then they couldn't justify the charge that Bush lied about the "breach"? You make the call. I'm too paranoid at this point. P.P.S.: Shouldn't Bush's press operation, rather than Powerline and Patterico, be forcefully pointing all this out?"

Jeb Bush involved in Carnival Cruise Lines issue

President Bush's brother Jeb was involved in helping Carnival Cruise Lines get their massive contract to provide ship-side housing for evacuees. Most of that housing went unused but was still paid for by FEMA.
Rep. Henry Waxman has written a letter to Jeb:

I am writing to request information about your role in the award of a $236 million federal contract to Carnival Cruise Lines in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. This boondoggle contract, which comes to an end this week, has cost federal taxpayers an enormous amount to provide temporary six-month housing aboard Carnival's ships...
Emails recently provided to Congress by Michael Brown, the former FEMA Director, indicate that you intervened at a key moment to support the efforts of Carnival to win this lucrative federal contract. These emails reveal that you forwarded to Mr. Brown on August 31 an email from Ric Cooper about the Carnival proposal. Mr. Cooper is an advertising executive who represents Carnival. He is also a major political donor to the Florida and national Republican parties. According to the Florida Division of Elections, Mr. Cooper donated $65,000 to the Republican Party of Florida in advance of the 2002 gubernatorial election in which you were running for reelection.[2] In addition, Mr. Cooper contributed $50,000 to the Republican National Committee in advance of the 2004 presidential elections in which your brother was running for reelection.[3]
Apparently, Mr. Cooper sent you an email proposing that Carnival ships be used to provide housing to hurricane evacuees. At 6:18 p.m. on August 31, two days after Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the Gulf Coast, you responded: "thank you Ric. I will pass on to Mike Brown. I can't believe they haven't asked as of yet but Mike will respond quickly. Jeb." You copied Mr. Brown on this email...

Previously:
Henry Waxman: are we overpaying Carnival Cruise Lines?
Carnival Cruise Lines defends FEMA contract
The 10 biggest FEMA contracts, and the contractors' connections

"White House Cites Katrina Response Failures"

From this:

Flawed government planning for major disasters led to rampant confusion during the slow federal response to Hurricane Katrina, the White House concluded Thursday in a report focusing more on fixing shortfalls before the next storm season than on assigning blame.
The review described poor communications systems, delays in delivering supplies and overall tumult within the Bush administration, but revealed little new about the plodding federal effort in the days just before and after the storm socked the Gulf Coast last Aug. 29.
The 228-page document, including 125 recommendations for improvement, adopted a far softer tone than a scathing House report issued last week and offered scant criticism of
That House review, written by a Republican-led committee, blamed all levels of government for the lackluster response that it said contributed to the deaths and suffering of thousands of the region's residents.
...The report's recommendations span from dramatic reforms - including potentially giving the
Pentagon control over the federal response in worst-case disasters - to smaller changes. It calls for a public awareness campaign on individual preparedness similar to the successful "Stop, Drop and Roll" slogan for fire safety information.
It says the government should improve its evacuation preparations, its plans for swifter medical aid and its overall blueprint for coordinating federal response efforts, calling it confusing. It also calls for state tax breaks to encourage citizens to purchase disaster gear and requirements that students take courses in first aid, starting next year.
The review singles out the Homeland Security Department for most of the breakdowns. They included failure to understand the scope of Katrina's damage, delays in passing information to the White House and emergency workers, and a system for delivering water, food and other supplies that was ensnared in red tape.
In one example of the department's failures, the report noted that Homeland Security's operations center was still dithering about whether New Orleans levees had been breached nearly six hours after a National Weather Service reported a break in at least one floodwall.
The report also cited several examples in which the Federal Emergency Management Agency rejected help from other federal agencies - including boats, aircraft, maintenance crews and housing for evacuees - because of miscommunications and misunderstandings. It said Brown, who was heading the federal response at the scene, was still organizing his chain of command nearly 60 hours after the storm struck...

ACE screwed on blue tarp contracts

Way back in September, we offered "Is FEMA overpaying for roofing?".
Now, months later, NOLA has looked into this, specifically the ACE angle. A snippet:

Though Army Corps of Engineers officials say they did not overpay for the tens of thousands of blue roofs [temporary tarps] across the Gulf Coast, a review of their documents shows that a company required to compete for its contract did the work for half of what others charged...
...Although [Archie Ringgenberg, a contracting official in the Army Corps of Engineers St. Louis office] said it may be a long time before the paperwork on the blue roof program is complete, the spending on it already has been so vast it appears many federal officials are unable to keep track of it. In an interview earlier this month in Baton Rouge, the Federal Emergency Management Agency's top coordinating officer in Louisiana and a corps contracting official both said they were certain Shaw was paid around $1 a yard and $100 a square -- an estimate off by 75 percent.

Nola.com did not look into how many of those hired to install the roofs were illegal aliens rather than, oh, just as an example, American hurricane victims.

FEMA aid fraud: 40% might be duplicates

From Auditors Find Huge Fraud in FEMA Aid:

Thousands of applicants for federal emergency relief money after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita used duplicate or invalid Social Security numbers or bogus addresses, suggesting that the $2.3 billion program was a victim of extensive fraud, a Congressional auditor will report Monday.
The examination of the so-called Expedited Assistance program determined that the Federal Emergency Management Agency failed to take even the most basic steps to confirm the identifies of about 1.4 million people who sought expedited cash assistance, leaving the program vulnerable to the "significant fraud and abuse," the Government Accountability Office intends to report.
The auditors did not try to estimate the total dollar amount of fraudulent claims. But the report says that FEMA itself had found that 900,000 of the 2.5 million applications for all forms of individual assistance were "potential duplicates."

More on Michael Brown's testimony

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - fema