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Townsend: feds failed to prepare adequately

From Bush Adviser Acknowledges Lack of Preparation for Katrina:

White House homeland security adviser Frances Fragos Townsend acknowledged yesterday that the government failed to prepare adequately for the consequences of Hurricane Katrina, noting studies of New Orleans's vulnerability to flooding and lessons from flawed U.S. responses to past natural and terrorist disasters.
Discussing the administration's internal inquiry into the response to the Aug. 29 hurricane at length for the first time, Townsend told reporters that the broad review she is leading is incomplete but that some initial findings are clear. U.S. officials thought before Katrina's arrival that "we were appropriately positioned and we had the right mechanisms in place," but the long-feared rupture of the New Orleans levee system and the inundation of the sub-sea-level city belied such confidence, she said.

And, trying to keep Team Bush together and behind Our Leader:

"It's clear we want to quickly identify and fix problems and not play a blame game. . . . Lessons are what the president wants, not finger-pointing... He is less interested in last time. . . . His concern is with the next time."


Townsend's remarks signaled a change from the administration's early blaming of New Orleans and Louisiana officials for the Katrina failures, and from Bush's early statement that "I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees."
"There were prior [congressional] reports about emergency preparedness and response. There have been a number of studies," Townsend said, citing a 2004 FEMA planning scenario that considered what would happen if a major cyclone hit and flooded New Orleans. "If there were lessons that should have been taken from that, why weren't they?"

Should the Bush administration probe itself?

Rep. Christopher Shays (R-CT) says no thanks:

"Anyone who has basically had responsibilities to respond to this should not be the folks looking at it, in my judgment... I don't think [Homeland Security Adviser Frances Townsend] can be objective because, frankly, I would want to know what was she doing in that time, before the storm, during the storm, after the storm. She is going to be one of the people that, in a sense, is being investigated. So I'm not sure that she's the logical choice."

For instance, see "Frances Townsend took call from Blanco". Her other activities related to the storm are not known, but perhaps her investigation will tell us more.
Rebecca Kirszner, communications director for Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada says:

"There is a huge conflict of interest here... As the President's homeland security adviser, Townsend certainly was part of the Administration's response to Katrina."

Frances Townsend took call from Blanco

According to this Sep. 12 entry:

...there was one phone call that Gov. Blanco made to the President and he wasn't available to take it - so it was fielded by White House National Security Advisor Frances Townsend...

Previously: "Bush advisor to investigate Bush administration response". The advisor in question is Townsend.
What they discussed in the call or other details are not known.

Bush advisor to investigate Bush administration response

Despite the Banana Republicesque appearance of the move, the Bush administration has selected his homeland security advisor, Fran Townsend, to lead in internal probe into the federal response to Katrina, Reuters says.

...A separate congressional inquiry will also investigate what went wrong with the federal response. But Bush so far has refused to back calls from Democrats for an independent commission to look at the disaster response.
"The president said he wanted to hold people accountable. This is one of the many ways in which he will do that," the [spokesman Trent Duffy] said.

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