Tape: Bush, Chertoff Warned Before Katrina
In dramatic and sometimes agonizing terms, federal disaster officials warned
President Bush and his homeland security chief before Hurricane Katrina struck that the storm could breach levees, put lives at risk in New Orleans' Superdome and overwhelm rescuers, according to confidential video footage.
Video Shows Bush Being Warned on Katrina
- WaPoOfficials Detailed a Dire Threat to New Orleans
"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," Bush said.
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Later in the conference call, according to the transcript, Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco is asked by Joe Hagin, the deputy White House chief of staff, about the status of the New Orleans levees. Blanco replies: "We keep getting reports in some places that maybe water is coming over the levees - I think we have not breached the levee. We have not breached the levee at this point in time. That could change, but in some places we have floodwaters coming in New Orleans East and ... St. Bernard Parish where we have waters that are eight to 10 feet deep, and we have people swimming in there. That's got a considerable amount of water itself."