White House given early warning of Katrina fury

By Lara Jakes Jordan
February 12, 2006
FORMER US federal disaster chief Michael Brown has testified that he told top White House and Homeland Security officials on the day Hurricane Katrina roared ashore that "we were realising our worst nightmare" and New Orleans was seriously flooding.

He dismissed as "just baloney" and "a little disingenuous" claims by agency officials that they didn't know about the severity of the damage until the next day.

Testifying before a Senate committee on Friday, Mr Brown said he agreed with members who characterised him as a scapegoat. "I feel somewhat abandoned," said Mr Brown, who quit under fire as chief of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) just days after the storm hit.

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