James Lee Witt, hired by Governor Kathleen Blanco of Louisiana, stated in one of his first public appearances, on MSNBC on Sunday,
"This was our worst nightmare," Witt said. "You could point the finger at anybody and everybody. ... I don't think they turned a blind eye. I don't think the state did. I don't think the mayor did. I think they worked as fast as they could [to] do whatever they could."
Witt was formerly the Federal Emergency Management Agency director under President Bill Clinton, which was probably why he received current assignment. It was also probably why, in 2004, his organization was a “teaming partner” in “a more than half a million dollar contract with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).”
Here’s the announcement of that employment: “In making the announcement today on behalf of teaming partners Dewberry, URS Corporation and James Lee Witt Associates, IEM Director of Homeland Security Wayne Thomas explained that the development of a base catastrophic hurricane disaster plan has urgency due to the recent start of the annual hurricane season which runs through November.”
Witt’s position in that analysis was that public buses should be used to evacuate low income residents without access to private transportation. But now he is being paid by a Governor to protect local officials from blame (and to extract maximum federal money into the hands of these worthies for the reconstruction effort). So his position has flipped.
Even though both the buses and many of the residents of southern Louisiana are under water, he is being paid to say that local officials did all they could do. And who is paying the salary for Witt (today) to make a liar of Witt (then)? Why it is the grateful taxpayers of Louisiana, even the ones who lie dead and bloated in their flooded homes (don’t forget estate taxes).
Was Witt too dumb to realize that his past is still on record on the Internet? Did he think the blogosphere wouldn’t find out that he is a professional’s professional who would say whatever the occasion, and the paycheck, demanded from him? Is Governor Blanco too dumb to realize that a good buddy and professional associate of Clinton would be an accomplished liar? Or was she counting on that?
If Witt is being paid $1 a year, that’s too much.