Tape: Bush Warned on Levees Before Katrina
Posted on Mar 1, 2006
WASHINGTON - 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.
Watch the video
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This frame taken from secure government video obtained by the Associated Press shows then-Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Michael Brown, center, at the Homeland Security emergency operations center in Washington Aug. 28, 2005, taking part in a government video briefing the day before Hurricane Katrina struck on Aug. 29.