This statement by Frances Townsend, the person leading the White House’s review of the emergency response after Katrina, intrigues me:
Townsend offered no explanation of why the president appeared to have bad information about levee breaches that ultimately swamped 80 percent of New Orleans and forced hundreds of thousands from their destroyed homes. But, she said, the timing of when the White House was informed about the levee breaches would have made little difference.It intrigues me because I see no difference in levees breached by a hurricane or levees breached by a terrorist attack. And neither does Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff:
“Levees like those in New Orleans cannot be repaired in a matter of hours or even days, so knowing exactly when they deteriorated from 75 percent efficiency to 35 percent to 0 percent would not have dramatically changed our response posture at the time,” Townsend said. “Our priority was finding and moving to safety those people who, for whatever reason, did not or could not evacuate, and were caught by the rising flood waters.”
Because one of the things that was evident to me -- and I know it’s evident to you -- whether it’s a natural disaster or a disaster caused by a terrorist, our response is often going to be the same. The concept of operations is going to be the same, our capabilities are going to have to be the same, our training is going to have to be the same, and therefore, we ought to look at these as a single set of problems.FEMA is in charge of the federal response to both natural and human-caused disasters, which includes terrorist attacks. Chertoff knows his agency botched the response to Katrina:
As the President has said, the results of our response to Katrina were unacceptable.Something I actually remember from math class is if A = B, and B = C, then A = C. Therefore, if FEMA can not respond effectively to a catastrophic natural disaster, and FEMA’s response to a natural disaster is the same as their response to a terrorist attack, then FEMA can not respond effectively to a catastrophic terrorist attack.
We haven’t had a terrorist attack in a while. I hope they aren't planning something big.