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 Katrina response investigation 
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Post Katrina response investigation
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Absolutely ridiculous.


Quote:
Investigators slam Katrina response

By Donna Smith



Fraud and abuse in the emergency response to Hurricane Katrina cost taxpayers millions of dollars, government investigators told a Senate panel on Monday ahead of a scathing congressional report that faults all levels of government for their handling of the disaster.
Officials appearing before the Senate Homeland Security Committee said investigations showed that many of Katrina's victims received erroneous double payments and that thousands of manufactured houses purchased for the homeless are sitting in storage.

The revelations were the latest in a barrage of criticism directed at both the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Gregory Kutz, managing director of Government Accountability Office's special investigations, told the Senate committee that nearly half of the 11,000 people who received an emergency $2,000 debit card also mistakenly received a second emergency payment by check or electronic funds transfer.

The debit cards were intended to help storm victims buy food, water, clothes and other necessities but some of the survivors used the money for adult entertainment, tattoos and weapons, Kutz said.

Controls by FEMA, which distributed the emergency aid, were lacking and people used phony Social Security numbers to get extra money, he said.

Richard Skinner, the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security, told the committee that FEMA purchased 24,967 manufactured homes at a cost of $857.8 million to temporarily house Katrina victims. But most of those homes are unused and the government is paying to store them, he said.

Nearly 11,000 are sitting are sitting at a government site in Hope, Arkansas, and are deteriorating because they were improperly stored, he said.

TWO INVESTIGATIONS

The Senate committee is one of two congressional panels investigating the federal government's botched response to the storm that devastated states along the Gulf of Mexico and flooded New Orleans.

A special committee in the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to release a critical report on Wednesday outlining a failure of government at all levels to respond properly to the destructive storm.

"Our investigation revealed that Katrina was a national failure, an abdication of the most solemn obligation to provide for the common welfare," according to a preliminary copy of the House report.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, meanwhile, responded to the criticism in a speech to the National Emergency Managers Association conference in Alexandria, Virginia.

"As secretary of Homeland Security, I am accountable and I accept responsibility for the entire department, good and bad," he said. "I also have the responsibility to fix what went wrong."

The House investigation headed by Rep. Tom Davis, a Virginia Republican, said President George W. Bush failed to get good advice on the extent of the storm and singled out Chertoff for his role in the botched response.

"Secretary Chertoff executed these responsibilities late, ineffectively, or not at all," the report said.

Chertoff said the focus was on June 1 at the beginning of the hurricane season to have a "fully integrated and unified" operations center that would integrate all the operational center into "single virtual operation center."

Chertoff also responded to criticism last Friday by former FEMA director Michael Brown who said the agency was too focused on terrorism and not enough on natural disasters.

"I unequivocally and strongly reject this attempt to drive a wedge between our concerns about terrorism and our concern about natural disasters," he said.

(additional reporting by Vicki Allen)

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February 13th, 2006, 6:23 pm
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Somewhat OT -- regarding Hurricane Katrina, check out the March issue of Popular Mechanics. There's a fantastic article about the "Hurricane Katrina Myths." It's definately worth the $4 for the issue (or $12 for a 12 issue subscription).

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February 13th, 2006, 6:36 pm
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conversion02 wrote:
Somewhat OT -- regarding Hurricane Katrina, check out the March issue of Popular Mechanics. There's a fantastic article about the "Hurricane Katrina Myths." It's definately worth the $4 for the issue (or $12 for a 12 issue subscription).


I used to get that mag, and they had a good article debunking 9/11 myths. I'll have to get it from the library though.

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February 13th, 2006, 6:40 pm
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