Monday, January 04, 2010

"Thorough Investigations" by White House and Congress

On a cold Christmas evening Americans sat in front of their television sets, only to find a known terrorist attempted to bomb a Detroit bound airliner. Officials shared the Nigerian terrorist smuggled enough material onto the plane to take it down. Passengers were saved only by the man's incompetence.

President Obama promised a thorough investigation, followed by an echo from both houses of Congress. This last triple investigation occurred after Hurricane Katrina, when Americans witnessed similar haplessness by those charged with protecting citizens. (Or was it the Thanksgiving week State dinner crashing by the Salahi's and a third person, yet to be revealed?)

Bush's Homeland Security adviser Frances Townsend jumped on a plane to Saudi Arabia as New Orleans hospital patients sweltered in toxic gumbo. When Fran returned from delivering a Katrina letter to the Saudi King, Bush charged her with conducting a "thorough investigation." Fran crafted a whitewash, frequently citing the "unprecedented" nature of the disaster. Her report omitted the hospital with the highest death toll, Memorial Medical Center. It left medical evacuation priorities in limbo.

Congress conducted their own charades. Committees asked for internal documents. The White House refused to share Andy Card's or Fran's e-mails, many of which turned up "missing." Townsend resigned in 2007 citing the fear of subpoena. Three years after refusing to testify before the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Townsend did just that, as a private risk management consultant for Baker Botts. She spoke on the Major Nadal Hasan shooting attack at Fort Hood.

No long serving Senator asked Fran about her Katrina snub, nor did they question her under oath on that long sore subject. My questions grew in number and scope since Fran released her "thorough investigative" Lessons Learned report. None have been answered.

Maybe I should take Fran's most recent advice?

The time for polite diplomacy is long past.

Does a nearly five year wait qualify, Mrs. Townsend? When and how should I get impolite? Please tell me expert risk manager, because I am completely at a loss.

Update: A New Orleans investigation charged someone with covering up despicable behavior during Hurricane Katrina. The story stated "investigators discussed how they could blame their failed investigation on Hurricane Katrina and 'use the storm to help make the entire situation 'go away.'" Dang, it wasn't Frances Fragos Townsend.

Update 2: Karl Rove defended President Bush's "heckuva job" comment to FEMA Chief Mike Brown.
"Bush was responding to compliments others had offered to Brown." Who? Fran Townsend? She went to Saudi Arabia before crafting the sorriest investigative report in history. Andy Card? Neither he or Fran would release their "Brownie complimenting" e-mails. Joe Hagin? He ran the White House response, while nearly every top official was on vacation. Few people know the role the junior staffer played and Karl isn't telling.

Rove's "other people said" comment is patently laughable for an aware President, however, it's completely believable for an insulated fool.
Karl the Pink insulated. Apparently that role continues. President Obama does his best part to help.

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