You knew they knew, but you couldn’t bring yourself to believe it was possible. Hell, you knew yourself two days in advance what was going to happen, just from watching “The Weather Channel.”
The Washington Post is reporting this morning that the White House was fully briefed up to 48 hours in advance on the effects Hurricane Katrina would have on New Orleans.
In the 48 hours before Hurricane Katrina hit, the White House received detailed warnings about the storm’s likely impact, including eerily prescient predictions of breached levees, massive flooding, and major losses of life and property, documents show.
The information, in a 41-page assessment from the Department of Homeland Security’s National Infrastructure Simulation and Analysis Center (NISAC), was e-mailed to the White House “Situation Room” at 1:47 AM Aug. 29th (early Monday morning, the day Katrina hit NOLA).
President Bush, in a televised interview three days after Katrina hit, suggested that the scale of the flooding in New Orleans was unexpected. “I don’t think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees. They did anticipate a serious storm,” Bush said in a Sept. 1 interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
The NISAC paper “predicted economic losses in the tens of billions of dollars, including damage to public utilities and industry that would take years to fully repair. Initial response and rescue operations would be hampered by disruption of telecommunications networks and the loss of power to fire, police and emergency workers…”
The Post also obtained copies of a second document, a FEMA slide presentation given 9 AM August 27 (Saturday) that said the result of Katrina would be worse than that of the fictional Hurricane Pam” used in their disaster preparation exercises. And again: Katrina hit the following Monday.
The hurricane’s Category 4 storm surge “could greatly overtop levees and protective systems” and destroy nearly 90 percent of city structures, the FEMA report said. It further predicted “incredible search and rescue needs (60,000-plus)” and the displacement of more than a million residents.
The NISAC analysis accurately predicted the collapse of floodwalls along New Orleans’s Lake Pontchartrain shoreline, an event that the report described as “the greatest concern.” The breach of two canal floodwalls near the lake was the key failure that left much of central New Orleans underwater and accounted for the bulk of Louisiana’s 1,100 Katrina-related deaths. [And thousands more unaccounted for to date – KP]
The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will convene hearings today into the federal government’s response to Katrina. Sen. Lieberman is the committee’s ranking Democrat. He responded to the new Post documents by saying the administration’s failure to fully heed the warnings it had up to 48 hours in advance of landfall from its analysts “compounded the tragedy.” Leave it to Joe to come out with a hard-hitting response appropriate to these revelations </snark>
From this revelation it’s but a small mental step to believing these people could allow 9-11 to happen. One wonders how many Americans will cross that threshold after this.