Chertoff Says FEMA's Lack of Planning to Blame
By Mary Curtius, Times Staff Writer
WASHINGTON -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency's lack of planning, not the failures of state and local officials, was to blame for much of what went wrong with the government's response to Hurricane Katrina, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told member of Congress today.
The assessment by the most senior administration official to answer legislators' questions since the hurricane struck in late August contrasted sharply with testimony offered earlier by former FEMA Director Michael Brown. Brown had blamed the "dysfunction" of Louisiana state and local officials for the problems that hobbled the relief effort.
"From my own experience, I don't endorse those views," Chertoff said.
He told lawmakers that he found the governors and mayors of the region to be responsive as the crisis unfolded...