Harry Smith Hammers Ray Nagin Over New Orleans' (Lack Of) Recovery

Unlike Tuesday’s "Today Show," where Matt Lauer advanced a conspiracy theory that the levees were blown up intentionally, on today’s "Early Show" on CBS, co-host Harry Smith pounded Ray Nagin with the notion that nobody has done enough to help the people of New Orleans recover from Hurricane Katrina. Smith challenged Nagin’s leadership abilities:

‘...And, quite frankly Mr. Mayor, a lot of folks in this town have lost faith in you. Can you lead this city to the future?"

Smith complained at the slow pace of cleaning up the city and rebuilding and suggested the city is unlivable:

"You know, as we walk around this city, we're in a neighborhood where there is one house that's been restored next to five houses that haven't been restored. There is still debris around. There have been so many tens of thousands of people displaced. They're making a new life in Atlanta or Houston or even Salt Lake City. What argument would you give to them to come back to a place like this?"

And Smith promoted his theory that the levees will not hold up against a category two hurricane, but he didn’t identify his experts, just lumped all experts together, leading his question with "the experts say":

"The experts say these levees won't even protect folks here in a level 2, category 2, hurricane. How can you expect people to come back to this city if they don't have faith in the levee system?"

Which experts are Mr. Smith referring to? According to an AP article which appeared in "The Buffalo News" on August 28, cites Don Powell, the administration’s coordinator for Gulf Coast rebuilding, as saying the levees are back to pre-Katrina strength:

"I believe that the levees are ready for hurricane season," Powell said. "The levees are back to where they were pre-Katrina, and they're on their way to being the best, better and stronger then they have ever been."

The article goes on to note that even Louisiana’s Democratic Senator, Mary Landrieu, believes the levees are back to category 3 status:

"They're back up to Category 3," she said. "We need to get them up to Category 5, and we are working to do that."

Additionally, A CBS News report on August 26, alludes only to a vague possibility that the levees could fail:

"Despite aggressive efforts to repair the system following the destruction of Hurricane Katrina, the head of the Army Corps of Engineers conceded Saturday that it isn't clear yet whether it could withstand a hurricane with a heavy storm surge this year."

Given the fact that a Democratic Senator believes the levees are back to pre-Katrina levels, and that CBS’s own offers only vague statements alluding to the fact that it is possible the levees might fail, shouldn’t Smith have at least named the experts to which he is referring?

Hurricane Katrina CBS Early Show