Sunday, August 13, 2006

Those Terrorist Loose Ends May Just Dangle Awhile

White House Homeland Security Advisor Frances Fragos-Townsend said in the case of the homegrown British terror bombers that leads so far found no evidence linking their U.S. contacts to terrorist activities. She indicated the investigation would be ongoing to tie up any loose ends.

I never, and I don’t think anybody else in this business ever assumes when you take a case down that you’ve gotten everybody. I think it’s pretty clear in this case we don’t have everybody.”

While her words may sound inspiring, Frances has been known to leave loose ends before in an investigation, the White House Lessons Learned Report crafted post Hurricane Katrina. Despite my informing her and the President shortly after the report’s issue, a loose end remains.

Fact: The White House Lessons Learned report omits any mention of the 24 patient deaths in a LifeCare hospital in New Orleans post Hurricane Katrina. The report explicitly mentions a nursing home where 6 or 7 patients expired.

Fact: LifeCare Hospitals was acquired by The Carlyle Group in August 2005 shortly before Hurricane Katrina struck. The Carlyle Group brags about its "insider political connections" in its news releases. The President's father has done work for the company and many of key Republican leaders currently are employed by The Carlyle Group.

Fact: Two LifeCare executives, Donald M. Boucher and David LeBlanc, have been charged with illegal campaign contributions between April 1997 and December 2002.

Questions/Need for an Investigation:

1. Why was LifeCare omitted from the Lessons Learned report?

2. Why did the report do such a poor job of identifying responsibility for pre and post hurricane patient evacuations?

3. Why did it not assess performance of those responsibilities?

4. Does LifeCare gain by the poor quality of the LL report, from the absence of mention?

5. Do they have a better chance of defending the company in any civil suits with the federal government silent on their actions?

6. If so, did any members of LifeCare, historically known for buying influence, solicit actions or omissions from federal representatives?

7. Did any members of the famously insider connected Carlyle Group do likewise?

I have yet to hear boo from her, the President or any of the investigative organizations I contacted in this regard. Let’s hope Frances does better with the terrorist investigation than she did with my questions.

However, I am not optimistic as this administration repeatedly has proven its inability to conduct a credible investigation. Should a group of terrorists get apprehended in the follow up, my guess it will occur around a critical point in the election process. It happened in 2004 and given this bunch, it likely will occur again.

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