White House Knew of Levee’s Failure on Night of Hurricane
Posted on Feb 10, 2006
New York Times: WASHINGTON, Feb. 9—In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Bush administration officials said they had been caught by surprise when they were told on Tuesday, Aug. 30, that a levee had broken, allowing floodwaters to engulf New Orleans.
But Congressional investigators have now learned that an eyewitness account of the flooding from a federal emergency official reached the Homeland Security Department’s headquarters starting at 9:27 p.m. the day before, and the White House itself at midnight.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency official, Marty Bahamonde, first heard of a major levee breach Monday morning. By late Monday afternoon, Mr. Bahamonde had hitched a ride on a Coast Guard helicopter over the breach at the 17th Street Canal to confirm the extensive flooding. He then telephoned his report to FEMA headquarters in Washington, which notified the Homeland Security Department.
Marty Bahamonde / FEMA via The New York Times
A photo taken by a federal emergency official the day Hurricane
Katrina arrived showed the broken 17th Street Canal levee in New Orleans.