Maybe He Was Helping Banana Republicans Fund Terrorists? Or Back at Gitmo, Overseeing Torture?

Via CREW, here’s little Where’s Waldo Chertoff game for you to play. You see, CREW decided to find out where Michael Chertoff was when New Orleans was drowning under the Katrina deluge. The first time they asked, DHS gave them Chertoff’s calendars for every day but the day Chertoff oversaw NOLA’s flood.

To answer that question CREW filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the Department of Homeland Security seeking, among other documents, calendar entries for Secretary Chertoff.

In response, the agency produced pages and pages of calendar entries with one curious omission: August 30, 2005.

So they asked again. And–in spite of the fact they got all these calendars for other dates–they apparently still can’t find one for August 30, 2005.

When pressed by CREW, the agency purportedly redoubled its search, but still came up empty handed. The best it could do was a record of a meeting that it claimed Secretary Chertoff had in Atlanta with the Center for Disease Control and an event with FEMA employees; the document, however, does not even mention the Secretary by name or title.

So here’s a little game, to get you back into the swing of things after the July 4 holiday.

What would be so embarrassing, that DHS has conveniently lost Chertoff’s calendar for that day? 

  1. Petrocelli says:

    “What would be so embarrassing, that DHS has conveniently lost Chertoff’s calendar for that day?” – EW

    Hmmm, was he shopping for Blahniks with Condi ?

  2. wkwf says:

    How about this article:

    Quoting from it:

    But according to a memo obtained by Knight Ridder, Chertoff didn’t shift that power to Brown until late afternoon or evening on Aug. 30, about 36 hours after Katrina hit Louisiana and Mississippi. That same memo suggests that Chertoff may have been confused about his lead role in disaster response and that of his department.

    That can be kind of embarrassing, unless it is already well-publicized. Think of the headlines! “Confusion about responsibility at DHS causes numerous deaths.” or some such. Can’t seem to find the referenced memo, though. Have to do some more googling.

  3. IntelVet says:

    1. He was inspecting the TSA troops in New Orleans but had to leave when the water got too deep? Returned to DC to get dry shoes.

    2. He watched the graveyards to see if any registered voters floated up.

    • Petrocelli says:

      … or worse, that he canceled an important meeting on that day, that might have saved lives …

  4. zAmboni says:

    I have a secret audiotape of Chertoff evaluating an emergency disaster relocation site before the hurricane hit. I have transcribe part of the conversation:

    “I have been informed by the Army Corps of Engineer scientists, that in the unlikely event of Katrina hitting New Orleans, the levees will hold. Thank You. Now watch this drive

  5. rosalind says:

    here’s a photo captioned “Atlanta, Georgia, August 30, 2005 — Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff addresses the media concerning the response to Hurricane Katrina at the FEMA Region IV Regional Response Coordination Center (RRCC) as Secretary of Health and Human Services Mike Leavitt (left) looks on. Hurricane Katrina caused extensive damage along the gulf coast.”


  6. FormerFed says:

    He was in the Bunker with Cheney – Brownie told them that Katrina was headed for DC (the best information Brownie had at the time).

  7. hackworth says:

    Was Chertoff with Bush and McCain and the cake? Did Chertoff have a geetar session with Dubya?

  8. Mary says:

    Meeting with Fuller and Martin in GA to map out how they were going to ‘handle” Siegelman and bury the Sessions tie-in? Charges were refiled against Seigelman in Oct 2005 and if Chertoff was in Georgia (9 – I didn’t click through on the photo) it would have been a good time for some face to face strategerizing, with no phone or email records.

    NOt that such a thing would ever happen or that involvement in a political prosecution would ever taint such a wonderful man. Kumbayah.

  9. maryo2 says:

    Was he talking to lobbyists from Barr Laboratories about FDA approval of Over-The-Counter Plan B contraceptive?

    The reason I ask is that he was with Mike Leavitt in that picture @9 above, so I googled to find out what Leavitt was up to that day. It seems that Plan B was a big topic.

    “The nomination of Lester M. Crawford, the administration’s embattled choice to head the Food and Drug Administration, got a boost yesterday when three senators agreed to lift their holds and allow a vote on the Senate floor.”…..avitt.html

    “In October 2001, after its acquisition of Duramed Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Barr dramatically strengthened its commitment to proprietary product development with the formation of Barr Research, Inc. In August 2005, Barr Research, Inc. became Duramed Research, Inc. The Duramed Research team has extensive brand product experience in clinical trials, toxicology, regulatory affairs, pharmacokinetics, statistics and medical writing. The team’s primary focus is the expansion of a robust strategic proprietary product portfolio through the submission of New Drug Applications (NDAs).…../index.php

  10. perris says:

    I left this question downstairs and it’s a smidge off topic but not too much

    if crew can go after elston and mccdonald’s bar affiliation, why can’t they go after yoo?

    yoo needs to be disbarred so anything and everything he wrote will be discredited…far more important then mccdonald and elston

  11. emptywheel says:

    Reader MJC emailed to suggest:

    Have you ever considered the possibility that Chertoff was in Greece at the wedding of Mark Wallace and Nicolle Devenish? Wallace was, for a time, part of DHS, as principal legal advisor to BICE.

    • maryo2 says:

      I think that this is the answer. Chertoff went to a wedding when a Category 5 hurricane was looming offshore. He flew back to Atlanta to a scheduled CDC event. He didn’t alter his plans at all as Katrina approached.

      I think he got the “dodged a bullet” line from this CNN Weather article run on Sunday, August 28, 2005. It talks about how NO “dodged a bullet in 1998 … Category 2 Hurricane Georges”…..index.html

  12. perris says:

    What would be so embarrassing, that DHS has conveniently lost Chertoff’s calendar for that day?

    having a cigar at the golf club?

  13. perris says:

    oh, wait

    if he knew the levees might fail, (which he did), and he knew the gulf cost would be under pressure, then possibly a meeting with the petro companies

    • perris says:

      does anyone know what the petro companies did before catrina hit?

      did they prepare for a breach of the levees?

  14. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Mr. Chertoff was making sure the sandbags at the Naval Observatory were high and firm enough to keep its undisclosed occupant safe no matter how high the wind or hard the rain. He was also making sure the shredders and incinerators were working at full tilt, as usual.

    Or, he was home spending more time with his family, and didn’t bother answering the phone to find out what all the fuss was about.

    Final guess, he was in the bunker with Cheney and Rove. Since there were no Republicans left in New Orleans, they played a little strip poker with Cheney’s SS detachment before tottering home after midnight.

  15. austintex says:

    On Sunday September 4, 2005, six days after Katrina drenched New Orleans, Michael Chertoff appeared on the Sunday talk shows. Both Tim Russert and Wolf Blitzer asked the Director of Homeland Security why he flew to a conference in Atlanta on Tuesday August 30, one day after the levees broke. Chertoff defended his obliviousness with a key phrase, which he repeated for good measure:

    [I]f you look at what actually happened, I remember on Tuesday morning [August 30] picking up newspapers and I saw headlines, ‘New Orleans Dodged The Bullet.’.

    Tuesday morning, I opened newspapers and saw headlines that said ‘New Orleans Dodged The Bullet,’ which surprised people.…..56121.html

    • JimWhite says:

      Tuesday morning, I opened newspapers and saw headlines that said ‘New Orleans Dodged The Bullet,’ which surprised people.

      Uhhhmmm. You’re tellin’ me the freakin’ Secretary of the Do’freakin’HS got his news on this from a newspaper? They had nobody on the ground in LA? They lost the phone number the the National Hurricane Center? You don’t want Chertoff’s calendar for those days, you need his phone log.

      • JTMinIA says:

        I don’t know why people are surprised that Chertoff learned of Katrina by reading a newspaper. After all, Rove learned about Siegelman the same way.

        • Rayne says:

          That’s their story and they’re sticking to it.

          Never mind that both Rove and Chertoff work for the administration of what is supposed to be an advanced society that uses cell phones and other forms of personal electronic communications devices.

          Like Blackberry handheld devices that allow one to not only make phone calls but check emails and surf the internet for updates from fine commercial sites like…

          I suppose on 30-AUG-05 that Chertoff accidentally picked up a rock and stuck it in his cellphone/Blackberry holster that day. I can see where one might make that kind of mistake when a massive hurricane has been bearing down on one of the oldest and largest cities in the country for days.

        • Leen says:

          Rove said he learned about the “prosecution” of Siegelman in the newspapers. In that clip of Rove he sure hemmed and hawed before he spit out more lies. He never answered whether he had “directly or indirectly” influenced the push for this prosecution

          • BayStateLibrul says:

            Wexler just lobbed this grenade

            Arrest Karl Rove
            The House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed Karl Rove to testify on July 10, but on July 1 Rove announced he would defy the subpoena.
            Could you or I get away with defying a Congressional subpoena? Of course not. So why can Karl Rove? Like George Bush and Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, believes he is simply above the law.
            It’s time for Congress to prove them wrong by using its power of “inherent contempt” to send the Sergeant-at-Arms to arrest Karl Rove (as imagined in photoshop at left) and bring him before the full House to answer to the charge of Contempt of Congress, and to punish him to the maximum extent allowed by law, including prison.
            Before Democrats won Congress in 2006, Nancy Pelosi said the most important reason to put Democrats in control of Congress was “subpoena power.” But now Pelosi is quietly blocking the use of inherent contempt.
            Tell your Representatives to Arrest Karl Rove:

            • Leen says:

              All right Wexler! Now if only he would withdraw his co-sponsorship of the warmongering H Con Resolution 362.

              go Wexler…go justice

  16. selise says:

    What would be so embarrassing, that DHS has conveniently lost Chertoff’s calendar for that day?

    has chertoff and/or the dhs actually ever been embarrassed by anything?

    i think you-all are on the wrong track. gotta think what would chertoff find embarrassing – not what would embarrass us. hmmmm… this is really hard but i’ll try to come up with a few:

    chertoff was volunteering at the local soup kitchen?
    chertoff was visiting with a family of a soldier who died in iraq?
    chertoff was teaching dance to middle school kids as a volunteer at poor deecee school?
    chertoff was at his neighborhood’s weekly peace vigil?

  17. rosalind says:

    from michael chertoff’s testimony before House Select Committee on Hurricane Katrina Preparation and Response October 19, 2005:

    Congressman Shuster: There were also reports that you couldn’t get in touch with Michael Brown for a period of maybe 48 hours. Is that accurate?

    Secretary Chertoff: On Tuesday [August 30, 2005] I had difficulty reaching him and was not reach him until shortly before 8 o’clock in the evening.

    Congressman Shuster: Was that something that was occurring prior to this communication breakdown?

    Secretary Chertoff: I don’t think I had any, it’s always difficult to reach people when they are moving around, but the period of time that I was having particular difficulty in reaching him was on Tuesday [August 30, 2005] when I and the deputy tried to reach him and were not successful in reaching him until shortly before 8 o’clock in the evening.

    Congressman Shuster: There wasn’t a chronic communications breakdown between you and…?

    Secretary Chertoff: …Well it was difficult to communicate…

    Congressman Shuster: …prior to…

    Secretary Chertoff: Prior to Tuesday, I don’t recall any problem, specific problem communicating with him.


    evidently whatever ate chertoff’s calendar entry also disabled the entire telecommunication network at dhs.

  18. austintex says:

    But when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and its levees collapsed, Mr. Chertoff was, by his own later admission, slow to focus on the domestic disaster as it developed, even flying off to Atlanta for a terrorism conference as the city flooded.…..l?s=oldest

  19. austintex says:

    They have now talked to us a bit in generalities about his schedule. One of the things that is of interest in his schedule is, while they say that he was very actively involved in monitoring what was going on with Hurricane Katrina, we were able to find out that after the storm struck, he went to the C.D.C. in Atlanta for a previously scheduled briefing on avian flu. And it wasn’t until he was on his way back that he started crafting the language for the memo that declared it an incident of national significance.….._not_brown

    • antibanana says:

      How was Alison Young able to determine that Chertoff went to Atlanta? Are there any contemporaneous accounts of him going to Atlanta? If there are, why would DHS not provide his calendar for the day?

  20. Lindy says:

    rosalind, not just at dhs. We were able to call our neighbor, who had stayed with his mother through the storm, right after the storm. He told us there was very little damage in our neighborhood. Several TIMES we spoke to them that day. Then, the next day, the communications died. No towers were blown down in the storm, as witnessed by our conversations with our neighbor. The next day, communication died.

  21. rosalind says:

    on “meet the press” sept. 4 2005 chertoff’s story is he picked up his morning paper, saw the headline ‘New Orleans Dodged a Bullet’ and went about his day.


    • emptywheel says:

      You know, that might support hte argument that he was in Italy. Scottie McC, in his book describes reading the press and describing it as “A worst-case scenario in New Orleans.”

      If Chertoff read the news in Italy, as opposed to DC, those headlines would have reflected the initial belief that, bc the hurricaine hadn’t directly hit NOLA, NOLA had been spared.

      • antibanana says:

        If I’m not mistaken, Scottie McClellan was actually a direct report to Devenish.

        This, of course, is all speculation. It might explain the complete breakdown of communication from the Administration in the early aftermath of the storm, though.

  22. NCDem says:

    ”The Department of Homeland Security has refused repeated requests to provide details about Chertoff’s schedule and said it couldn’t say specifically when the department requested assistance from the military. Knocke said a military liaison was working with FEMA, but said he didn’t know his or her name or rank. FEMA officials said they wouldn’t provide information about the liaison.”

    This is from the article that you gave. I find this interesting. Do we now know who the military person working with Chertoff was? Was it a female? Is the second use of liaison a subject or a verb? Jonathan Landy who was one of the writers for this story can be unusually revealing in his writings at times but the articles are always written with a possible double meaning. We borrowed this double entendre from the French, I believe. Since they would not reveal the name and rank of the military liaison, my only answer to EW’s question is that Chertoff and this unnamed person may have been working undercover to protect our nation.

  23. WilliamOckham says:

    Everbody is missing the real story here. We know what Chertoff was doing on Aug. 30, 2005. Go on over to the NYT’s site and take a look at Michael Brown’s email during Katrina. Go to pages 11 & 12 of the .pdf. It’s the designation of Michael Brown has the administration’s official fall guy Principal Federal Officer for Katrina. Now, look at page 13 of the .pdf. Sharon Worty is complaining that PFO is a demotion for Brown. This was a big shock and probably the point at which Brown realized he was being set up.

    I think that what they are now hiding is the meeting where Rove, et. al., decided to let the disaster response fail and blame Brown.

    • Peterr says:

      I think that what they are now hiding is the meeting where Rove, et. al., decided to let the disaster response fail and blame Brown.

      We have a winner!

      Knowing who comprised the “et al.” would be very interesting.

    • rosalind says:

      to supplement the brownie e-mails, from my link at 25:

      “Chertoff: When I actually formally designated him PFO it was essentially formalizing something that had occurred in practice and I did it also in part to make sure that, I knew we were going to have some Cabinet discussion, that it was a clear message to everybody that he was the person I was looking to to [sic] manage this operation in the Gulf. Why somebody may view that as a demotion, you have to ask them.”

      (my bold)

      might also explain why brownie spent the day ducking chertoff’s calls.

    • emptywheel says:

      Well, and look at page 9.

      7:56 Brownie emails Altschuler and Rhode, saying he needed to talk to them ASAP about CHertoff

      8:00 Altschuler tries to call Brownie

      8:22 (your doc) Chertoff announces the change

  24. JohnLopresti says:

    rosalind’s photo of that meeting is clear, and interesting. August 31, 2005 CNN reports at length on Chertoff’s appearance on neoConLarryKingLive. For anyone interested in the Susan Collins, JoeMentum nomination hearing February 2, 2005 for Chertoff, complete with transcript and endorsement letters, that link is available at GPO [caveat 13 MB]; On p.320 there is a friendly letter from the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities which lauds Chertoff’s pro bono work for the poor. One of the rapid solutions to housing displaced people was settled in a September 5, 2005 contract for $236. MM USD. with a tourism boat company whose principal office was in FL; maybe Chertoff was involved in finalizing that contract, as the linked somewhat-lurid journalistic item depicts; the arrangement involved 7,000 dock mooring occupancy reservations for a protracted period of time. Seems creative to have devised impromptu, but there were critics of various stripe.

  25. MarieRoget says:

    What would be so embarrassing, that DHS has conveniently lost Chertoff’s calendar for that day?

    Perhaps it’s not so much the “where” Chertoff was that is embarrassing but the where he wasn’t- heading to LA, establishing a command post, organizing a solid Fed response, coordinating w/local/parish/state response teams, TAKING CHARGE.

    Figuratively, the DHS calendar is 100% correct- Michael Chertoff was nowhere on 8/30/05.

    Chertoff’s lack of leadership, typified by citing the “NOLA Dodged a Bullet” headline to excuse his incuriosity as to what was really happening that day, remains stunning. Happy digging, CREW.

  26. freepatriot says:

    maybe he was spending time with one of vito fossella’s families ???

    coulda been toe tapping in a Minneapolis airport

    I could go on …

    • MarieRoget says:

      I had been going to suggest that Chertoff donned his Skeletor togs (doesn’t need the mask, does he) & was @ ComiCon, but I like yours better.

  27. bmaz says:

    Skeletor was in the throes of a three way monster mash with Alex Rodriquez and Madonna. It all took place in a pit of lime green jello made with kaballah water.

  28. Loo Hoo. says:

    OT, from [email protected]:

    Last week videos emerged on the internet of Mexican police being taught torture training methods by a U.S. security firm instructor. In one video a man was pulled through his own vomit, in another a man is subjected to carbonated water being shot up his nose. Human rights investigators are up in arms but local officials are defending the training, saying that their police need aggressive training methods to confront the threat of drug cartels that have been responsible for over a thousand killings already this year.

    These videos emerged just days after the U.S. Congress signed a $1.6 billion aid package to Mexico that included conditions for human rights.

    Should Mexico be allowed to continue torture training for its law enforcement officials? Is it fair to tie U.S. security and aid packages to Mexico to human rights issues? Should the U.S. be exporting torture training to the police forces of other countries?

    Please make sure you include your NAME and LOCATION so that we can put your e-mail on air. If you do not wish to continue to receive e-mails from Al-Jazeera TV please reply with the word “UNSUBSCRIBE” in the subject line.

  29. masaccio says:

    Chertoff probably flew to Atlanta on some private plane, which left him incommunicado for hours in the middle of the disaster.

    Well, it would humiliate me.

  30. SaltinWound says:

    I’ve been searching around a little, finding reports of Chertoff not being able to reach Brown until 8:00. But the articles I’ve read never make clear that Chertoff kept trying to reach him. Is it possible it was Brown trying to reach Chertoff?

  31. rkilowatt says:

    photo @9–clock shows abt 2 pm and Dir DHS giving speech at Atlanta CDC?…doesn’t yet know levees seriously breached and flooding?…and still several hours before dellegates authority to FEMA Brown?

    Possibly Mrs. Chert played a role?: [from RumorMillNews 2-15-06]
    “To increase overall preparedness, particularly for catastrophic events,” Chertoff announced a reorganization of FEMA on July 13, 2005. He dismantled the Emergency Preparedness and Response Directorate, of which FEMA comprised the bulk and was headed by a full under secretary.

    Chertoff then split FEMA into two parts. The first part kept the name FEMA and had a director, not an undersecretary, who reported to Chertoff. It was, however, stripped of any preparedness functions, and dealt solely with response and recovery.

    With the rest, Chertoff created the Directorate for Preparedness. The new directorate was tasked with facilitating grants for responder training, citizen awareness, public health, infrastructure, and cyber security.

    In 2002-2003, Chertoff’s wife, Meryl Justin, worked at FEMA as disaster response branch chief and facilitated the agency’s transition into DHS. During her tenure at FEMA, Meryl briefed members of Congress and their staffs on response and recovery efforts following natural and technological disasters, including Hurricane Lili and the Shuttle Columbia disaster.

    Meryl also served as director of New Jersey’s office in Washington under governors Donald T. DiFrancesco and James E. McGreevey. As director, she represented the state’s interests before Congress, White House staff and federal executive agencies. After 9-11, Meryl was responsible for securing grants for New Jersey homeland security and transportation projects from Congress and federal agencies as part of the state’s relief and recovery efforts.

    Gov. McGreevey resigned in November 2004 after it was reported that his homeland security aide, an Israeli named Golan Cipel, planned to file a sexual harassment suit.

    • TheOtherWA says:

      The clock looks like it’s 10:10 to me, fwiw. I’m assuming it was am, because he’d dropped the hot potato in Brownie’s lap by 8pm, so he wouldn’t go in front of cameras after that.

  32. JohnLopresti says:

    Amy Goodman interviewed Knight Ridder reporter Alison Young September 28, 2005 regarding Chertoff’s schedule on August 30, 2005; transcript.

  33. MarieRoget says:

    OT Heads Up- just noticed that FDL In Justice Book Salon w/David Iglesias has been moved from tomorrow to Friday 7/11 (or am I the last one to hop the clue train on this?)

    Iglesias q&a on Friday, Richard Clarke on Sat.- think I’d better actually jot down some questions for a change, as I did for Juan Cole.

  34. kspena says:

    Here are a couple of tidbits suggesting he had both making money and expanding surveillance on his mind:

    Department of Homeland Security Announces Science & Technology’s 2005 Private Sector Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, August 22-25, 2005

    For Immediate Release
    Office of the Press Secretary
    Contact: Donald Tighe, 202-282-8010

    August 10, 2005: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate today announced it will be hosting its 2005 Private Sector Research and Development Conference August 22-25, 2005, in Atlanta, Georgia.

    This conference will provide an opportunity for companies and entrepreneurs to gain a better understanding of the research, development, testing, and evaluation (RDT&E) needs of the Department; of the potential business opportunities in current and upcoming solicitations; and of the research and development priorities being addresses under DHS S&T sponsorship.

    Full story:

    Security czar: More traveler ID no threat to privacy

    USA TODAY: Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said yesterday that Americans need to ease their concerns about turning over personal information to the government – especially if they want to fly safe from terrorism.

    Full story:…..1_chertoff…..gust05.htm

    • yonodeler says:

      [Note: The links below are to .gov sites.]

      Among Remarks by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff on 2007 Achievements and 2008 Priorities is this self-congratulatory paragraph:

      The year was not without its challenges. While there were no successful terrorist attacks here in the homeland, we did continue to face serious threats, including plots against Fort Dix, N.J. and JFK Airport. These plots were disrupted by our partners and ourselves through sound intelligence, including, in one case, information provided by an alert citizen in N.J.; and all by working in partnership at the federal, state and local level, and with the private sector.

      What DHS is undertaking behind the purportedly reassuring face put forward by Chertoff creeps me out at least as much as anything else I’ve been able to learn about domestic surveillance and personal information programs within the IC (Intelligence Community).

    • yonodeler says:

      Not many “web sites, forums, chat rooms, blogs, social networking sites, videos, virtual world [sites], etc.” are identified by their owners as promoting international terrorism. Dark Web operational administrators wouldn’t dare analyze web sites, forums, chat rooms, blogs, social networking sites, videos, virtual world sites, etc. generally, would they? If so, knowing how to write in various styles with various word and phrase usages might come in handy, and English class might have even more practical value than many students recognize.

      • yonodeler says:

        Not only English class, but instruction teaching any language in which one may choose to write.

  35. earlofhuntingdon says:

    DHS, of course, is the gang that keeps tabs on all of us and all our foreign visitors, weeds out who might be “of concern” to police authorities, builds needless and needlessly expensive “walls” on our southern border, tracks and prepares to deal with potential natural and manmade disasters, etc.

    Does it strike anyone as ominous that such an organization can’t determine where its fearless leader is 24/7, that it claims to have lost him for an entire day?

    What does that say for DHS’s ability to handle its more challenging assignments? Conversely, what does that say about the truthiness of its compliance with federal law mandating public disclosures? That is, its blatant lying about not knowing the location of its chief executive. The answer to which question they might have obtained by asking Mikey himself.

    Yes, the demotion of FEMA’s CEO – charged with preparing for and responding to multiple disasters throughout the US at any one time – to be the officer in charge of a single disaster was not a good sign either for the handling of Katrina or FEMA in general. It was a classic bureaucratic set-up – disclaim all responsibility while simultaneously placing all blame on a loser or enemy.

    What does it say of Chertoff’s priorities that that was his principal contribution to the management of the federal government’s response to Katrina. And it suggests that that was Rove, Bush and Cheney’s principal contribution as well. Now if Katrina had hit Greenwich or Dallas….

  36. WilliamOckham says:

    Here’s an interesting tidbit. On pg 3 of the emails I linked to, there is an email (dated Aug 28) from Michael Lowder to Patrick Rhode (and others) that says:


    Just received a call from Matt Broderick, who said that the WH is pressuring him to stand up an IIMG. He wanted to let you know, that they will activate the IIMG tomorrow for an “orientation” on the hurricane, for the purpose of looking at potential “Long Range Strategic Economic Impacts” if there is catastrophic flooding in and around New Orleans.

    He said that he wanted to let you know, that it was not to “get into our knickers”.

    [Italics mine]

    When DHS later released these to CREW as part of the FOIA, they redacted everything I put in italics. According the the NRP (National Recovery Plan), an IIMG doesn’t get formed until after the DHS secretary designates the disaster as an “Incident of National Significance” (which didn’t happen until Aug. 30, the missing day). Did you notice that Brown wasn’t even on the email for the IIMG? As Brooks Altschuler points out in response to the email above, long-term impacts were FEMA’s responsibility. The IIMG was supposed to be the inter-agency coordination point for the immediate response. Remember who was supposed to be in charge of long-term recovery? Wasn’t it Karl Rove?

    Here’s what I think happened. As early as August 28, Rove & Company saw an opportunity to turn the recovery spending into the worldest biggest political graft. They knew that the immediate response would be inadequate, so they set Brown up as the fall guy, while they planned out how to reward their friends (can you say Haley Barbour?) and punish their enemies (Blanco). There must be a meeting on Chertoff’s schedule for August 30 that has a title that is incriminating.

    • bobschacht says:

      Remember the Shock Doctrine? I wonder if they looked at Katrina as an opportunity for a social experiment to remake NOLA from a stronghold for Democrats to haven for White Republican entrepreneurs which– remember– just happens to be a major port for oil refineries?

      I recall also that these guys were not short of chutzpah, considering the ease with which they thought they could convert Iraq into a blooming garden of entrepreneurs and oil capitalists. Iraq was to be their overseas experiment with the shock doctrine; NOLA was going to be their domestic equivalent.

      Hmm, what’s that funny taste in my coffee…?

      …and why am I wearing a tinfoil hat???

      Bob in HI

  37. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Gov. Barbour certainly got a lot of federal money devoted to building high-end condos rather than lower income housing, while much of New Orleans remains in ruins. His consulting firm – the one in DC that he visits monthly by first class private transport, but claims that he’s resigned from running while governor of MS – seems to have gotten its cut of every federal dollar spent in his state.

    Clearly, folding FEMA into DHS and then naming someone with Brownie’s abundant lack of qualifications to run it were demotions for FEMA and for Main Street USA.

    As was demonstrated by CheneyRumsfeld’s “planning” for Iraq, these guys just wish away what they don’t want to deal with, behavior that would land an entry-level business analyst in the unemployment line. Perhaps the Katrina response was not incompetence. Perhaps it was merely an expression of Rovian priorities.

    They knew there would be a lot they couldn’t do or do well and that didn’t interest them, but which might interest the taxpaying public. So they did plan for it.

    Plan A: Ignore it.

    Plan B: Focus on only two things: using the entire federal government to promote the partisan interests of the GOP, and spending its money exclusively on GOP supporters, whether or not that’s an effective use of funds.

    Plan C: When shit happens and Plan A fails, refer to Plan B.

    Gov. Barbour and his real estate cronies have certainly benefited as if that was the plan for preventing and relieving Gulf Coast natural disasters.

    • kspena says:

      IIRC, of the 80 or so elementary schools in NO, only one is now private; the rest have be reconstituted as private. This has been a longtime repugs goal….privatize education. Also Neil Bush’s reading program is tied to federal dollars. I don’t know about NO, but lots of schools have been forced to buy this quackery. I remember vividly dubya saying years ago that “we know how to fix the reading problem in this country and we have the programs to do it.” I wondered at the time what idiotic mumblings, and realized later that he was talking about his brother’s nonsense program.…..022-02.htm

  38. timbo says:

    Well…at least we’re sure he wasn’t shopping with Condi! Er…on second thought…hmmm….

  39. Recluse says:

    I’m not sure if it was the 30th or the first but I saw Chertoff on C-span kicking off “National Preparedness Month”. My head exploded after hearing that so I didn’t see much of it.

  40. Rayne says:

    Went through numerous Katrina timeline sites late last night, from TPM to ThinkProgress, to ePluribusMedia to Cooperative Research.

    Nothing on Chertoff — except for his declaration of a national incident at some point in the day. I cannot find anything that gives the exact timing of this declaration, or from where the declaration was made.

    The Times-Picayune no longer has the articles from that period linked to any of their Katrina content, which seems rather odd.

    Michael Brown sends an email to Chertoff on the 29th, but the timing of the email isn’t clear according to the site.

    Is it just me, or is Scotty’s press gaggle on the morning of the 30th ridiculously brief, to the point of absurdity? (

  41. wavpeac says:

    Coco…nutty…all of ya!!

    The only rational guess is that whatever he was doing was “what he was supposed to do”.

    • skdadl says:

      I am torn between thinking, on the one hand, that Fitzgerald is so smart, and on the other, that being that smart really slows things down.

      Those are both great letters, though.

      • emptywheel says:

        Fitzgerald’s a chess player. It just took Waxman a little bit of time to figure that out–though having Alberto Gonzales touching the pieces on your chess game is surely a distraction, so as bad as Mukasey is, I’m sure he’s more fun to play 3-way chess with.

        • bmaz says:

          AGAG is like a little yip-yip dog (of the Paris Hilton variety) than runs through the room scattering all the chess pieces, yipping at them incessantly and then dumping on the chess board.

  42. SaltinWound says:

    I can’t believe I didn’t remember this right away (I might put it up on the next thread if this one is dying). Chertoff was at CDC dealing with the overstated avian flu threat. The big player in avian flu was RUMSFELD.

  43. JamesJoyce says:


    Just re watched your 07′ appearance on Off The Record, OTR Michigan, with fellow bloggers… Have to say…. you were awesome! Simply asking the hard questions today stings likes an antiseptic on open wounds. The underfunded investigative divisions of corporate owned media are compromised as sure as the DOJ is compromised, in addition to the limitation of content due to print space and advertisements. You seek simple truths while others obscure the truth…

    “The protection of the legitimate expression of political speech is the first charge and responsibility of good government.” Paraphrasing Jefferson. You rock madam! Keep asking those questions!!!!!

  44. JamesJoyce says:

    I see… just because “the creeps” asked you to violate the law, you are immune from the constitution??

  45. BayStateLibrul says:

    If Mukasey does turn over the docs, and they are damaging (think
    way damaging), can Mukasey being indicted for obstruction of justice?

  46. JohnLopresti says:

    August 31 was last day of FY05 for Carnival Corp, who detailed 3 ships of a fleet of approximately 80, to military for Katrina housing relief accommodations, though I have yet to look at full 10-Q, however, technically, if the $236. million contract signing was September 5, 2005, the Carnival Corp 10-Q 1Q06 should provide specifics. So far, a look at the consolidated 10-K (offshore entity, combining UK’s Carnival plc (includes Cunard)with Panama’s Carnival Corp (includes Princess), both sharing same CEO/Chairman) reveals already in 4Q05 mention of the deal without specific cash figures seen on first skim. This $2BN company was growing rapidly over 04-06. I also found that Carnival Corp has at least one shared director with an oil co. I am finding some of their reports thru SEC, their investor webpage is not in existence currently, though it is a principal cruiseline in the industry, yet there is a hosted site with some, maybe all, of the financials over several years, including proxy and prospecti, all skewed needing OCR. So, how about an August 30 meeting with Carnival to put part of the $238.MM contemplated figure in 4q05, then the rest over ensuing FY.

  47. bmaz says:

    My recollection is that there really was a lot of “dodged the bullet” talk in the news. Katrina did not hit NO as square and as hard as had been feared. There was wholesale damage to be sure, but the real problem came when the levees and flood walls gave way and the massive pumping capacity failed. The first person I saw on or in the news to start saying “Hey, this isn’t over, look what is happening here with Lake Ponchatrain etc., I think New Orleans has real problems” was the head meteorologist at CNN, a dude named Chad Myers. He is really pretty good and he was the first person I saw, and I was fascinated by the hurricane and watching a lot of coverage, to get it as to what was happening. But there was “dodged a bullet talk”.

  48. TheOtherWA says:

    You know what’s odd? I looked at both the CDC’s and DHS’s webites for a transcript from the Aug 30, 2005 (from the photo @9) press conference but there isn’t one. They both skip over Aug 30 completely.

    Tried the Internet Archive too, but got the dreaded “Robots.txt Retrieval Exclusion.”

  49. ltgra says:

    lurker late as usual.

    I just wanted to point out to my best blog buddy mtwheel that the picture of Chertof in Atlanta on 8 30 05 has a clock in the background which reads 10 to 2:00 . If some one could blow up the picture to show the digits on the watch of the guy picking his nose next to chertoff we could verify the date.

    • ltgra says:

      On further review their are two people picking their noses but only one has a watch dial that can be seen.

  50. maryo2 says:…..trina.html
    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.

    “FYI from FEMA,” said an e-mail message from the agency’s public affairs staff describing the helicopter flight, sent Monday night at 9:27 to the chief of staff of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and recently unearthed by investigators. Conditions, the message said, “are far more serious than media reports are currently reflecting. Finding extensive flooding and more stranded people than they had thought — also a number of fires.”

  51. rkilowatt says:

    re photo @ 9,127,120,122…already magged photo and clock abt 1:50 and watch arguably same. BUT, photo actually captioned 1:47 pm 8/05 taken w Nikon D70JPEG image 96.2kb.

    Since upthread emails note WH formed WH Taskforce On Hurr Kat Response, eay to posit Rovian/political orders from aboveinput down to DHS/FEMA. Also, emails pin demote of Brown to PFO abt 8:20pm/IIRC on 8-30.

    Return Atlanta from euro wedding easily possible by 30th afternoon. And photo etc estab presence can be orchestrated cover ruse.

  52. greenbird4751 says:

    8/30/05 conference on:
    avian flu?
    Well, first I thought I’d find something here:
    “US-VISIT is in place at 115 airports, at 15 seaports, and in the secondary inspection areas of 154 land ports of entry. US-VISIT exit procedures are operating at 12 airports and two seaports. At land border ports of entry, visitors who have a foreign passport or are required to complete Form I 94 are enrolled in US-VISIT at the secondary inspection area. This process does not apply to most Canadian citizens or to Mexican citizens who use their Border Crossing Cards or “laser visas.” If visitors leave from one of these ports, they must confirm their departure using US-VISIT exit procedures. The visitor’s visa or passport and fingers will be scanned and the exit confirmation added to travel records to demonstrate compliance.

    In August 2005, the program began a test of radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology at five land border ports of entry with Canada and Mexico to record the entry and exit of visitors who are required to carry a Form I 94 and enroll in the US-VISIT program. The test is expected to continue until spring 2006. RFID technology can detect a visitor at a distance of up to 100 feet and provide entry information quickly and accurately without requiring visitors to stop or even slow down to check out. The RFID technology protects sensitive information by reading a randomly generated number that links to a visitor’s information stored securely in a database. RFID is tamper proof and difficult to counterfeit or be surreptitiously read.”

    “Engaging the Private Sector: Homeland Security R&D Directions and Opportunities (22-25 August; Atlanta) The Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate is sponsoring a conference to gain a better understanding of the research, development, testing, and evaluation needs of the department; potential business opportunities; and R&D being pursued under DHS S&T sponsorship. Meet senior management from the S&T Directorate, including portfolio managers from the Office of Plans, Programs, and Budget and program managers from the Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Office of Research and Development, and the Office of Systems Engineering and Development; learn how to participate in the challenge to bring innovative homeland security solutions to reality. Discuss and obtain information on innovative technologies from industry, the national and federal laboratories, and academia. For more information, contact Kimberly Owen. Update! Please note: a draft agenda for the DHS S&T Directorate’s 2005 Private Sector Conference is now posted on the site. [View conference website]”
    But nah.
    So then there’s cnn transcript:…..=firefox-a
    Notsie totsie.
    So I go to WaPo archive:…..01475.html
    “I’m sure we’ll get into the question of why I didn’t hear about e-mails that came later that night. But I will tell you, at least when I went to bed, it was my belief — and it was somewhat fortified by things I saw on TV — that, actually, the storm had not done the worse that had been imagined.”

    “And I determined not to do it, because I was concerned about coming in and actually interfering with the operators in the first 24 hours of the post-hurricane operation.

    I will tell you that I have a respect for the difference between the operator and the person who’s leading the organization. The operator’s very much involved in immediate decisions of what goes on. I have been an operator. I was an operator on 9/11. And I know the way I dealt with the attorney general on 9/11.

    So I tried to be sensitive to not getting in his hair, but also be supportive. The decision I made was not to go to an avian flu conference, but to do two things on Tuesday [8-30-05]. Go down to a meeting at the CDC about avian flu with Secretary Leavitt.

    And I want to make it clear, this is not like a conference, like you go to in a hotel. This was a meeting among the top leaders of the department to kick-start our preparedness for avian bird flu.

    But secondly, to go to the emergency operations center in Atlanta, which is where Region 4 is located. Region 4 had half the responsibility for coordinating the response for Katrina. My thought was that that would be a way of my getting another perspective and visibility on what was going on on the ground, talking to operational people, without getting into a situation where Mike Brown felt someone was coming and now actually creating a question about who’s running the immediate incident management in the field.

    On Tuesday morning [8-30-05], at around 7:00 a.m., I got the spot report that indicated there had been a substantial levee breach. I made a determination, since I was going to go to the operations center, I ought to continue with the trip.

    And I need to make clear that the federal government spends a considerable amount of effort providing me with 24-hour communications. There is never a moment that I am not within a hand’s reach of a secure telephone, a secure fax, and literally what I have in my office. So my the hardware and the ability to communicate is that full capability was with me at every moment that I went down. And I frankly spent a lot of time on the phone and in communication back with headquarters during Tuesday.”
    So, the question is “where was he on 8/29? or 8/30?” and it looks like he really doesn’t know. Even though he is never more than a hand’s reach …
    except in the emergency operations center/region 4? and while in a CDC meeting on bird flu (but not the conference).…..BiotID=384
    And, coz I like ya, there’s a link to more so have at it:
    “Secretary Chertoff: “Let me separate two questions. If you’re asking me why I didn’t go down to Katrina itself, because my judgment was that we had a battlefield commander. For me to go down to Baton Rouge, I would be doing Michael Brown’s job at that point, but there wouldn’t be a Secretary of Homeland Security in Washington. So I felt that my role was then, at least in the initial days, required me to not go down and try to sit down as the battlefield commander myself, which, as I said, I am not a hurricane expert, but rather do my job as Secretary. As far as the trip to, and just to correct the record here, I obviously was deeply involved on Monday [August 29, 2005] dealing with all of the hurricane issues getting reports. The last report I got on Monday [August 29, 2005] was that the levees, there had not been a significant breech in the levees. It appeared that the worst was over. Obviously, it was going to be a tremendous challenge. First of all, Mississippi was devastated and it was as if, um, a giant had walked along and crushed all the houses. So that was a huge challenge. And of course New Orleans was a huge challenge. But it looked like the event was over, the actual peril was over and now it was going to be a question of response.

    “At the same time, I, I, obviously my responsibilities involve other things, I had a long-scheduled trip with Secretary [Michael] Leavitt [Department of Health and Human Services] to go to the CDC [Centers for Disease Control] in order to discuss preparing for avian flu. So what I determined to do was to go down and do that and also stop at the Region IV Headquarters of FEMA in Atlanta so I could get a first-hand sense from the operations center for the group that was dealing with Mississippi and Alabama, because the main had hit Mississippi about their perspective on things. Tuesday morning [August 30, 2005] when I, we took off, I learned that there was a significant irreparable levee breach. At that point I was in constant communication back with my office by telephone. The deputy secretary obviously fully engaged there. I had dealt with the issues that I had to deal with in terms of the biological question and I went on to the briefing center to talk to people there about what was going on the ground and then came back.” (7)”
    That’s all I got.

  53. greenbird4751 says:

    THE END.…..wanted=all
    “Level 4 labs for research on human pathogens are at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta and Fort Detrick in Frederick, Md. More than 10 Level 4 labs are operating or planned elsewhere.”
    “In a Level 4 lab, scientists studying deadly human and animal diseases would wear full-body protective suits fitted for piped-in air, and security would be tightened.”
    “The Department of Homeland Security announced in August that it would study a biological and agriculture defense facility to replace Plum Island, but the department did not specify whether it would be on the island or somewhere else.

    A new center researching bioterrorism and agroterrorism, the use of biological agents to harm the nation’s food supply, would almost certainly have Level 4 status, the highest security designation for labs.

    Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Bishop said in a telephone conference with reporters after the meeting that they told Mr. Chertoff that they and the vast majority of their constituents opposed a Biosafety Level 4 laboratory on the 840-acre island. Level 4 status would allow research on diseases fatal to humans and animals and with no known cure.

    Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Bishop said Mr. Chertoff had not renewed a pledge by Tom Ridge, the former secretary of Homeland Security, that Plum Island would remain at Level 3. But they said they argued that the work done at Plum Island now was crucial and warranted upgrading the 50-year-old laboratory to continue at Level 3 designation.

    ”The calculus changes dramatically if you get a Biosafety Level 4 that is looking at human diseases and even looking at how animal viruses and pathogens jump from the animal world to the human world, and it just is very hard to justify putting that kind of facility in the midst of one of the most populated areas where workers would be going back and forth all the time,” Mrs. Clinton said.

    Mr. Bishop said a Level 4 lab on Plum Island could allow study of diseases like avian flu, which has killed millions of birds in nearly a dozen countries and infected more than 100 people, including 60 who died.”…..0829a.html
    “The HHS Operations Center which operates 24 hours a day has been staffed up since last Friday and in constant communication with state and local emergency management operations, as well as other federal departments, including Homeland Security and the White House.”
    “HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt today declared a federal public health emergency and accelerated efforts to create up to 40 emergency medical shelters to provide care for evacuees and victims of Hurricane Katrina.” [but not one word about FEMA or DHS]

    FIRST >….._0723.shtm
    “United States Government Response to the Aftermath Of Hurricane Katrina
    Release Date: 08/30/05 00:00:00
    For Immediate Release
    Office of the Press Secretary
    Contact: 202-282-8010
    August 30, 2005
    The federal government is supporting state and local authorities by leading one of the largest disaster response mobilizations in United States history to respond to Hurricane Katrina.

    President George W. Bush declared major disasters for impacted areas in Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, and Alabama, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is actively managing federal assistance to these affected communities in an effort to expedite response efforts and save lives. With these disaster declarations, we are able to bring the full resources of the federal government to bear in helping the residents in the impacted states with emergency needs and recovery support.

    Hurricane Katrina has proved to be one of the most dangerous storms in U.S. history. Although the eye of the hurricane has passed, hazards from weakened and damaged trees, downed power lines, high water, and other dangers remain. We urge citizens to be mindful of instructions from state and local officials who have asked that individuals remain in shelters, homes or safe places until given further notice.

    Working with federal, state and local agencies through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), DHS continues to coordinate disaster relief and life-saving efforts. Individuals in declared counties can register online for disaster assistance at or call FEMA’s toll free registration line at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) – TTY 800-462-7585.”

    SECOND >….._0721.shtm
    “United States Government Response to the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina
    Release Date: 08/31/05
    For Immediate Release
    Office of the Press Secretary
    Contact: 202-282-8010
    August 31, 2005
    The federal government is continuing to support state and local authorities in leading one of the largest disaster response mobilizations in United States history to respond to Hurricane Katrina.

    “At this time, we are directing the full range of federal resources and capabilities to assist and protect those who have born the brunt of this catastrophe,” said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. “We will ensure that citizens in areas affected by Hurricane Katrina have the sustained support and aid necessary to recover and reclaim their homes and communities.”

    Hurricane Katrina has proven to be one of the most dangerous storms in U.S. history. Hazards from weakened and damaged trees, downed power lines, high water, and other dangers remain. We urge citizens to be mindful of instructions from state and local officials who have asked that individuals remain in shelters, homes or safe places until given further notice. Individuals in declared counties can register online for disaster assistance at or call FEMA’s toll free registration line at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362); for the hearing impaired TTY 800-462-7585.

    President George W. Bush declared major disasters for impacted areas in Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, and Alabama. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is actively managing federal assistance to these affected communities to expedite response efforts and save lives. With these disaster declarations the federal government is able to bring its full resources to bear in helping residents in the impacted states with emergency needs and recovery support.

    Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Under Secretary Michael Brown is currently in the region directing efforts under the National Response Plan. The primary activities remain focused on life saving and life-sustaining efforts. FEMA is currently coordinating with a number of their state and voluntary organization partners to help meet basic shelter and emergency needs.”

    Again, it just seems that someone’s arm’s reach was out of reach FOR SOME REASON on 8/30/05.…..=firefox-a
    “7:30 AM CDT — BUSH ADMINISTRATION NOTIFIED OF THE LEVEE BREACH: The administration finds out that a levee in New Orleans was breached. On this day, 28 “government agencies, from local Louisiana parishes to the White House, [reported that] that New Orleans levees” were breached. [AP]”

    So I give up. Unless it was Depends.

  54. maryo2 says:

    So Chertoff’s Chief of Staff and the White House were notified by midnight Monday [August 29, 2005], but Chertoff was not notified until 7:00 Tuesday morning. And he won’t tell us why he got “the spot report” … “at around 7:00 am” … “when I, we took off.”

    He also does not tell us where he flew to Atlanta from. My guess is tax payers paid for his trip to a wedding in Greece as a “leg” of his planned business trip to Atlanta. My second guess is that there were other GOP big wigs on that plane who wish to not be identified.

    • antibanana says:

      It would be interesting to know who exactly attended, even in Chertoff didn’t.

      But look at this:

      But investigators have found the e-mail message referring to Mr. Bahamonde’s helicopter survey that was sent to John F. Wood, chief of staff to Secretary Chertoff at 9:27 p.m. They have also found a summary of Mr. Bahamonde’s observations that was issued at 10:30 p.m. and an 11:05 p.m. e-mail message to Michael Jackson, the deputy secretary of homeland security. Each message describes in detail the extensive flooding that was taking place in New Orleans after the levee collapse.

      Given this chain of events, investigators have repeatedly questioned why Mr. Bush and Mr. Chertoff stated in the days after the storm that the levee break did not happen until Tuesday, as they made an effort to explain why they initially thought the storm had passed without the catastrophe that some had feared.

      White House Knew of Levee’s Failure on Night of Storm, New York Times, 2/10/06

      Is the reason that Chertoff ( and others?) said that the levee didn’t break until Tuesday because they were in a different time zone? How many hours ahead of DC is Greece?