Breaking from NewsMax
The Associated Press on Wednesday claimed that "federal disaster officials warned President Bush and his homeland security chief before Hurricane Katrina struck that the storm could breach levees."
The Democratic National Committee attempted to make political hay out of the AP report, stating that "during the briefing, National Hurricane Center Director Max Mayfield told the president that the integrity of the levees was ‘a very, very grave concern’ that the president appears to have ignored."
However, the tape shows that what Mayfield actually told Bush was: "I don’t think any model can tell you with any confidence right now whether the levees will be topped or not, but that’s obviously a very, very grave concern."
Mayfield told NBC News on Thursday that he warned only that the levees might be topped – that is, the storm surge could push water over the top of the levees – not breached/, and that on the many conference calls he monitored, "Nobody talked about the possibility of a levee breach or failure until after it happened."
Mayfield even told Bush: "The forecast now suggests that there will be minimal flooding in the City of New Orleans itself."
The Washington Times, commenting on what it called a "hit job" on the president, opined: "If it were true that Mr. Bush heard predictions of levee breaches before the storm hit, then that makes a despicable and costly lie of his statement four days after the hurricane.
"The truth, instead, is that no adviser warned the president of the possibility that the levees could fail. Of course, it makes a juicier story to suggest that the president was warned."