Bush’s Story: No One Predicted Katrina’s Devastating Impact

Bush Said “I Don’t Think Anybody Anticipated The Breach Of The Levees” Despite Receiving “Eerily Prescient Warnings.” According to the Washington Post, “In the 48 hours before Hurricane Katrina hit, the White House received detailed warnings about the storm’s likely impact, including eerily prescient predictions of breached levees, massive flooding, and major losses of life and property, documents show. A 41-page assessment by the Department of Homeland Security’s National Infrastructure Simulation and Analysis Center (NISAC), was delivered by e-mail to the White House’s ‘situation room,’ the nerve center where crises are handled, at 1:47 a.m. on Aug. 29, the day the storm hit, according to an e-mail cover sheet accompanying the document. […] The documents shed new light on the extent on the administration’s foreknowledge about Katrina’s potential for unleashing epic destruction on New Orleans and other Gulf Coast cities and towns. President Bush, in a televised interview three days after Katrina hit, suggested that the scale of the flooding in New Orleans was unexpected. ‘I don’t think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees. They did anticipate a serious storm,’ Bush said in a Sept. 1 interview on ABC’s ‘Good Morning America.’” [Washington Post, 1/24/06]

DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff Argued That Katrina “Exceeded The Foresight Of The Planners, And Maybe Anybody’s Foresight.” According to CNN, “Defending the U.S. government’s response to Hurricane Katrina, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff argued Saturday that government planners did not predict such a disaster ever could occur. But in fact, government officials, scientists and journalists have warned of such a scenario for years. Chertoff, fielding questions from reporters, said government officials did not expect both a powerful hurricane and a breach of levees that would flood the city of New Orleans. ‘That ‘perfect storm’ of a combination of catastrophes exceeded the foresight of the planners, and maybe anybody’s foresight,’ Chertoff said. He called the disaster ‘breathtaking in its surprise.’” [CNN, 9/5/05]