On the Fox News Channel just a little while ago, Major Garrett, one of Fox's star reporters, and author of The Enduring Revolution, broke a very disturbing story for those on the left that want to play the blame game regarding the reaction to the Katrina. Here's his interview with Hugh Hewitt moments ago:
HH: You just broke a pretty big story. I was watching up on the corner television in my studio, and it's headlined that the Red Cross was blocked from delivering supplies to the Superdome, Major Garrett. Tell us what you found out.
MG: Well, the Red Cross, Hugh, had pre-positioned a literal vanguard of trucks with water, food, blankets and hygiene items. They're not really big into medical response items, but those are the three biggies that we saw people at the New Orleans Superdom, and the convention center, needing most accutely. And all of us in America, I think, reasonably asked ourselves, geez. You know, I watch hurricanes all the time. And I see correspondents standing among rubble and refugees and evacuaees. But I always either see that Red Cross or Salvation Army truck nearby. Why don't I see that?
HH: And the answer is?
MG: The answer is the Louisiana Department of Homeland Security, that is the state agency responsible for that state's homeland security, told the Red Cross explicitly, you cannot come.
HH: Now Major Garrett, on what day did they block the delivery? Do you know specifically?
MG: I am told by the Red Cross, immediately after the storm passed.
HH: Okay, so that would be on Monday afternoon.
MG: That would have been Monday or Tuesday. The exact time, the hour, I don't have. But clearly, they had an evacuee situation at the Superdome, and of course, people gravitated to the convention center on an ad hoc basis. They sort of invented that as another place to go, because they couldn't stand the conditions at the Superdome.
HH: Any doubt in the Red Cross' mind that they were ready to go, but they were blocked?
MG: No. Absolutely none. They are absolutely unequivocal on that point.
HH: And are they eager to get this story out there, because they are chagrined by the coverage that's been emanating from New Orleans?
MG: I think they are. I mean, and look. Every agency that is in the private sector, Salvation Army, Red Cross, Feed The Children, all the ones we typically see are aggrieved by all the crap that's being thrown around about the response to this hurricane, because they work hand and glove with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. When FEMA is tarred and feathered, the Red Cross and the Salvation Army are tarred and feathered, because they work on a cooperative basis. They feel they are being sullied by this reaction.
HH: Of course they are. Now Major Garrett, what about the Louisiana governor's office of Homeland Security. Have they responded to this charge by the Red Cross, which is a blockbuster charge?
AND HERE, MY FRIENDS, WE HAVE THE MONEY SHOT FROM MAJOR GARRETT:
And Hugh raises an excellent issue of what would have happened if the supplies had made it before the levees broke:
MG: I have not been able to reach them yet. But, what they have said consistently is, and what they told the Red Cross, we don't want you to come in there, because we have evacuees that we want to get out. And if you come in, they're more likely to stay. So I want your listeners to follow me here. At the very moment that Ray Nagin, the Mayor of New Orleans was screaming where's the food, where's the water, it was over the overpass, and state officials were saying you can't come in.
HH: I also have to conclude from what you're telling me, Major Garrett, is that had they been allowed to deliver when they wanted to deliver, which is at least a little bit prior to the levee, or at least prior to the waters rising, the supplies would have been pre-positioned, and the relief...you know, the people in the Superdome, and possibly at the convention center, I want to come back to that, would have been spared the worst of their misery.
MG: They would have been spared the lack of food, water and hygiene. I don't think there's any doubt that they would not have been spared the indignity of having nor workable bathrooms in short order.
And again, folks, here is the key crux of the matter which shows utter incopetence and lack of coherence in leadership:
Now, here is an interesting and relevant sidebar, about issues of...geography, about the location of New Orleans vis a vis what the Red Cross could do, based on past experiences.
HH: Now, were they utterly dependent upon the Louisiana state officials to okay them?
HH: Because you know, they do work with FEMA. But is it your understanding that FEMA and the Red Cross and the other relief agencies must get tht state's okay to act?
MG: As the Red Cross told me, they said look. We are not state actors. We are not the Army. We are a private organziation. We work in cooperation with both FEMA and the state officials. But the state told us A) it's not safe, because the water is dangerous. And we're now learning how toxic the water is. B) there's a security situation, because they didn't have a handle on the violence on the ground. And C) and I think this is most importantly, they wanted to evacuate out. They didn't want people to stay.
MG: Well, there is something, Hugh, that I think we have to be honest with ourselves about. New Orleans is a situation, because of its geography, utterly unique in America. We don't build cities in bowls, except there. This complicated the Red Cross efforts, and the FEMA efforts, from the start. In the mid-90's, the Red Cross opened a shelter in South Carolina that was eventually flooded. And there was a big controversy about that. After that, the Red Cross made a policy decision that it would never shelter, or seek to shelter, any evacuee from any hurricane, anywhere where flooding was likely to occur. High ground is where they were going to be, and where they were going to go. Well, that basically rules out all of New Orleans.
HH: How senior are your sources at the Red Cross, Major Garrett?
MG: They're right next to Marty Evans, the president.
HH: So you have no doubt in your mind that they have...
MG: Oh, none. None. And I want to give credit to Bill O'Reilly, because he had Marty Evans on the O'Reilly Factor last night. And this is the first time Marty Evans said it. She said it on the O'Reilly Factor last night in a very sort of brief intro to her longer comments about dealing with the housing and other needs of the evacuees now. She said look. We were ready. We couldn't go in. They wouldn't let us in, and the interview continued. I developed it more fully today.
HH: And the 'they' are the Louisiana state officials?
HH: Now any in the 'they'...is the New Orleans' mayor's staff involved as well? Or the New Orleans police department?
MG: Not that I'm aware of, because the decision was made and communicated to the Red Cross by the state department of Homeland Security and the state National Guard. Both of which report to the governor.
End of interview
If people want to play the blame game, the blame is best spelled BLANCO. More and more, the truth is getting out beyond the Lefty MSM spin. The Red Cross was poised. The federal government was poised. All it took was a little leadership. Sadly, that seems to have been in short supply in LA.