FOX News asked former FEMA Director Michael Brown last Thursday if he thought that he deserved an apology after pre- Hurricane Katrina videotapes were released showing that he held a series of meetings with high-level officials from the FEMA Operations Center.
In the meetings, Brown explicitly cited concerns he had with the Superdome being used as a shelter after Katrina hit among other things. Brown told "there are no mandatory evacuations," "they’re not taking patients out of hospitals" and "they’re taking prisoners out of prison." He warned them, "My gut tells me — I told you guys my gut was that this is a bad one and big one. I still feel that way today."
This afternoon at Majority Leader John Boehner’s session with reporters in his Capitol Hill office, I asked him whether former FEMA Director Mike Brown deserved an apology. His answer? That he "ought to be convicted of malfeasance."
Here’s the exchange below:
Me: Do you think Mike Brown deserves an apology?
Boehner: I think Mike Brown, Mike Brown, we’re talking about FEMA?
Boehner: I think that somebody ought to put him in his place. You have a guy who ignored the national plan, the emergency plan, did everything he did to cause problems and I don’t think that he deserves an explanation. He should have been fired long before he was. As a matter of fact, I told the Secretary that earlier this morning. This is irresponsible the noise that he’s making and nobody is standing up to say that if he had followed the plan, the plan that was rehearsed a month or two before the storm all of this could have gone a lot better than it did. And, his lack of cooperation with the Secretary, his lack of cooperation with the White House was, well he ought to be convicted of malfeasance.
The Committee on Government Reform released The Final Report of the Select Bipartisan Committee to Investigate the Preparation for and Response to Hurriance Katrina on February 15. In it, no charges of malfeasance were brought to Michael Brown.
According to the report, the blame rested on a multi-level "failure of initiative." In the conclusion of the report, it says:
Former FEMA Director Michael Brown told the Select
Committee one of his biggest failures was failing to
properly utilize the media as first informer.
“I failed initially to set up a series of regular briefings
to the media about what FEMA was doing throughout the
Gulf coast region,” Brown said at the Select Committee’s
September 27 hearing. “Instead, I became tied to the news
shows, going on the news shows early in the morning
and late at night, and that was just a mistake. We should
have been feeding that information to the press…in the
manner and time that we wanted to, instead of letting the
press drive us.”