“Smoking gun” documents nail FEMA, Chertoff, and Bush


Richard Moore

FYI, first report, unverified.


"Smoking gun" documents nail FEMA, Chertoff,  and Bush 
by Sharon Jumper 
Fri Sep 9th, 2005 at 11:03:04 PDT 

Rep. Waxman does it again! 

He's just posted a letter to Secretary Chertoff from Ranking
Member Waxman and Chairman Davis which describes documents
from the Department of Homeland Security that show that FEMA
was aware in 2004 that a "catastrophic hurricane" could hit
New Orleans and "trap hundreds of thousands of people in
flooded areas and leave up to one million people homeless."
FEMA officials wrote: "the gravity of the situation calls for
an extraordinary level of advance planning."

Here's the letter that was sent to Chertoff today.
The House Committee on Government Reform has obtained from the
Department of Homeland Security a document describing the
"Scope of Work" of a contract issued by the Federal Emergency
Management Agency for the development of a "Southeastern
Louisiana Catastrophic Hurricane Plan."  We are writing to
request any plans and other documents that were developed
under this contract.

FEMA's Scope of Work contemplated that a private contractor,
Innovative Emergency Management, Inc. (IEM), would complete
the work under the contract in three stages.   "Stage One"
called for a simulation exercise involving FEMA and the state
of Louisiana that would "feature a catastrophic hurricane
striking southeastern Louisiana."   "Stage Two" called for
"development of the full catastrophic hurricane disaster
plan."   And "Stage Three" involved unrelated earthquake

A task order issued under the contract called for IEM to
execute "Stage One" between May 19 and September 30, 2004, at
a cost of $518,284.   On June 3, 2004, IEM issued a press
release announcing that it would "lead the development of a
catastrophic hurricane disaster plan for Southeast Louisiana
and the City of New Orleans under a more than half a million
dollar contract with the U.S. Department of Homeland
Security/Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)."   A
second task order issued on September 23, 2004, required IEM
to "complete the development of the SE Louisiana Catastrophic
Hurricane plan."    The cost of this task order was $199,969.

The "Background" section of the Scope of Work stated that "the
emergency management community has long feared the occurrence
of a catastrophic disaster," which the document describes as
"an event having unprecedented levels of damage, casualties,
dislocation, and disruption that would have nationwide
consequences and jeopardize national security..."

...According to the Scope of Work, the contact "will assist
FEMA, State, and local government to enhance response planning
activities and operations by focusing on specific catastrophic
disasters:  those disasters that by definition will
immediately overwhelm the existing disaster response
capabilities of local, State, and Federal Governments."   With
respect to southeastern Louisiana, the specific "catastrophic
disaster" to be addressed was "a slow-moving Category 3, 4, or
5 hurricane that ... crosses New Orleans and Lake
Pontchartrain."   The Scope of Work explained:

Various hurricane studies suggest that a slow-moving Category
3 or almost any Category 4 or 5 hurricane approaching
Southeast Louisiana from the south could severely damage the
heavily populated Southeast portion of the state creating a
catastrophe with which the State would not be able to cope
without massive help from neighboring states and the Federal

The Scope of Work further stated:  "The Federal Emergency
Management Agency (FEMA) and the Louisiana Office of Emergency
Preparedness (LOEP) believe that the gravity of the situation
calls for an extraordinary level of advance planning to
improve government readiness to respond effectively to such an

The specific disaster scenario contemplated under the contract
is strikingly similar to the actual disaster caused by
Hurricane Katrina.  The contract envisioned that "a
catastrophic hurricane could result in significant numbers of
deaths and injuries, trap hundreds of thousands of people in
flooded areas, and leave up to one million people homeless."  

The Scope of Work expressly directed the contractor to plan
for the following specific conditions:

*    "Over one million people would evacuate from New Orleans.
 Evacuees would crowd shelters throughout Louisiana and
adjacent states."

*    "Hurricane surge would block highways and trap 300,000 to
350,000 persons in flooded areas.  Storm surge of over 18 feet
would overflow flood-protection levees on the Lake
Pontchartrain side of New Orleans.  Storm surge combined with
heavy rain could leave much of New Orleans under 14 to 17 feet
of water.  More than 200 square miles of urban areas would be

*    "It could take weeks to `de-water' (drain) New Orleans:
 Inundated pumping stations and damaged pump motors would be
inoperable.  Flood-protection levees would prevent drainage of
floodwater.  Breaching the levees would be a complicated and
politically sensitive problem:  The Corps of Engineers may
have to use barges or helicopters to haul earthmoving
equipment to open several hundred feet of levee."

*    "Rescue operations would be difficult because much of the
area would be reachable only by helicopters and boats."

*    "Hospitals would be overcrowded with special-needs
patients.  Backup generators would run out of fuel or fail
before patients could be moved elsewhere."

*    "The New Orleans area would be without electric power,
food, potable water, medicine, or transportation for an
extended time period."

*    "Damaged chemical plants and industries could spill
hazardous materials."

*    "Standing water and disease could threaten public

*    "There would be severe economic repercussions for the
state and region."

*    "Outside responders and resources, including the Federal
response personnel and materials, would have difficulty
entering and working in the affected area."

It appears that IEM completed the task order for "Stage One,"
the hurricane simulation.  An exercise know as "Hurricane
Pam," was conducted by FEMA and IEM in July 2004, bringing
together emergency officials from 50 parish, state, federal,
and volunteer organizations to simulate the conditions
described above and plan an emergency response.   As a result
of the exercise, officials reportedly developed proposals for
handling debris removal, sheltering, search and rescue,
medical care, and schools.  

It is not clear, however, what plans or draft plans, if any,
IEM prepared to complete "Stage Two," the development of the
final catastrophic hurricane disaster plan.  The task order
for "Stage Two" provided that the "period of performance" was
September 23, 2004, to September 30, 2005.

The basis for the award of the planning work to IEM is also
not indicated in the documents we received.  The task orders
were issued to IEM by FEMA under an "Indefinite Delivery
Vehicle" (IDV) contract between IEM and the General Services
Administration.  According to the Federal Procurement Data
System, FEMA received only one bid (from IEM) for the task

The documents from the Department raise multiple questions
about the contract with IEM and the planning for a
catastrophic hurricane in southeastern Louisiana.  To help us
understand these issues, we request that the Department
provide the following documents and information:

(1)    Any documents relating to the "Stage One" simulation
exercise, including documents prepared for exercise planners
and participants, transcripts or minutes of exercise
proceedings, participant evaluations, and after action

(2)    Any final or draft plans for a catastrophic hurricane
in southeastern Louisiana prepared under "Stage Two" of the
contract, including any final or draft Catastrophic Hurricane
Disaster Plan, Basic Plan Framework, Emergency Support
Function Annex, or Support Annex; and

 (3)    An explanation of the procurement procedures used in
selecting IEM for the contract and task orders, as well as a
description of IEM's qualifications and the justification for
selecting IEM.

We recognize that Department officials are engaged in ongoing
relief efforts, and we do not want to impair those efforts in
any way.  For this reason, we have tailored our request to the
discrete set of documents and information set forth above.  To
expedite your response to this request, we have enclosed
copies of the Scope of Work, task orders, and other documents
cited in this letter.


Rep. Tom Davis                

Rep. Henry Waxman 
Ranking Minority Member 

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Richard Moore (rkm)
Wexford, Ireland
blog: http://harmonization.blogspot.com/

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