Bush 'Knew What Was Coming' Before Katrina

July 7, 2008 - 8:31 PM

(CNSNews.com) - Psst, spread the word: President Bush was "personally briefed" the day before Hurricane Katrina hit land and "he knew exactly what was coming," a liberal advocacy group is trumpeting.

MoveOn.org is urging its many supporters to "help get the word out" to at least five friends, by forwarding an Associated Press article detailing what Bush knew and when he knew it.

The Associated Press on Wednesday released a report based on "secret transcripts and video footage" showing Bush being briefed the day before the hurricane hit.

"The predictions he heard were shockingly precise and accurate-including the failure of the levees," MoveOn.org noted. The group calls the AP article a "smoking gun on Bush's unpardonable failure to keep us safe."

MoveOn.org urged its supporters to spread the AP article far and wide on Wednesday night, before the White House could counter with its own "spin" on Thursday.

"There can now be no mistake: President Bush had a chance to lead, and he failed to keep us safe," MoveOn.org said. "In the next few days, we'll be tracking this story carefully and coordinating our response with partners in New Orleans and around the nation.

"The survivors of Katrina deserve to know why the president left them to suffer the storm," MoveOn concluded. "And the people of the United States deserve leadership we can trust to keep our families safe. We'll work hard together until we have both."

Dire warnings

The Associated Press article that inflamed liberals is based on video footage that shows federal disaster officials warning President Bush that Hurricane Katrina could breach levees, jeopardize the New Orleans' Superdome and overwhelm rescuers.

The AP report says, "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 AP report also quoted Bush as saying, four days after the storm, "'I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees.' But the transcripts and video show there was plenty of talk about that possibility -- and Bush was worried too," the AP reported.

The report describes Bush as confident amid dire warnings; and it quotes former FEMA Director Michael Brown as warning of a "catastrophe within a catastrophe."

In fact, the transcripts seem to vindicate Brown, portraying him as worried -- and vocal about it.

"They're not taking patients out of hospitals, taking prisoners out of prisons and they're leaving hotels open in downtown New Orleans. So I'm very concerned about that," Brown said, according to the transcripts obtained by the AP. Brown also expressed concerns about whether evacuees would be safe at the Superdome.

According to the AP report, the video shows President Bush saying, "I want to assure the folks at the state level that we are fully prepared to not only help you during the storm, but we will move in whatever resources and assets we have at our disposal after the storm."

President Bush thanked his underlings for putting in long hours ahead of the storm and said he expected them to keep at it.

On Wednesday night, White House officials said the transcripts and video obtained by AP don't paint the full picture.

Bush "received multiple briefings from multiple officials...He was engaged," White House spokesman Blair Jones was quoted as saying. Jones noted that Bush issued emergency disaster declarations for the Gulf region even before the storm hit.

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