BREAKING: Michael Brown, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is being sent back to Washington from Baton Rouge, from where he has been overseeing the federal government’s response to the disaster, according to two unnamed federal officials.
Brown will be replaced, according to the officials, by Coast Guard Vice Adm. Thad Allen, who has been overseeing New Orleans relief and rescue efforts.
In addition to complaints about slow response to needs generated by disastrous Hurricane Katrina and subsequent flooding, questions have been raised about whether Brown padded his resume regarding previous emergency management work.
Brown was by the president’s side during Bush’s first visit to the hurricane zone last week — “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job. The FEMA Director is working 24 — they’re working 24 hours a day,” Bush said — but Brown remained behind the scenes while Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff was front and center when the president went back on Monday.
Asked if he was being made a scapegoat for a federal relief effort that has drawn widespread and sharp criticism, Brown told AP, “By the press, yes. By the president, No.”