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Context of 'Afternoon August 29, 2005: FEMA Announces Plan to Send 500 Buses to Evacuate Stranded Residents in New Orleans'

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John Magaw.John Magaw. [Source: Public domain]About a week before 9/11, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Director Joe Allbaugh replaces the agency’s acting deputy director, John Magaw, a veteran federal law enforcement agent and experienced counterterrorism official, with Michael Brown, a close friend of his and a long-time political associate with no previous experience in emergency management. [Baker, 2009, pp. 484] Magaw is a former director of the US Secret Service and of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF). In December 1999, Magaw was appointed at FEMA to coordinate the agency’s domestic terrorism efforts. [Market Wire, 12/1999] Allbaugh nominated Michael Brown as the agency’s general counsel upon taking office in January. Brown previously worked as a lawyer for a horse racing association. He has no experience in disaster management (See March 1, 2003). According to Russ Baker, an independent investigative journalist and author of Family of Secrets, a Bush family expose: “One day, Mr. Allbaugh came in and said, ‘I know you’ve got these other things to do. I’m going to ask Mr. Brown to be deputy,’ recalled Magaw who promptly returned to the subordinate position assigned him by Clinton. The timing was remarkable. Just a week before September 11, 2001, Allbaugh replaced a key anti-terrorism official with a crony who had close to zero relevant experience.” [Baker, 2009, pp. 484]

Entity Tags: Joseph M. Allbaugh, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Michael D. Brown, John W. Magaw

Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline

Kathleen Babineaux Blanco (D-LA) is sworn into office as Louisiana’s first woman governor, replacing Governor Mike Foster (R-LA). [Louisiana, 9/28/2005]

Entity Tags: Mike Foster, Kathleen Babineaux Blanco

Timeline Tags: Hurricane Katrina

Around this time, FEMA announces a plan to send 500 commercial buses into New Orleans to rescue the thousands of people still stranded there. Louisiana Governor Blanco will later recall that when FEMA Director Michael Brown personally notifies her of FEMA’s plan, she assumes that the buses are pre-staged near New Orleans. “I assumed that FEMA had staged their buses in near proximity,” she said. “I expected them to be out of the storm’s way but accessible in one day’s time,” Blanco will later recall. [Advocate (Baton Rouge), 9/18/2005]

Entity Tags: Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, Michael D. Brown, Federal Emergency Management Agency

Timeline Tags: Hurricane Katrina

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