OK that banner wasn’t really there at the -building trust is top priority- press conference of General Van Antwerp, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. But it may as well have been. Read on…
Beginning with what Oyster says for the overview…
In a blockbuster post,
Matt McBride outlines his initial impressions about the Army Corps of
Engineers’ internal investigation on the floodgate pumps. In short, New
Orleanians are at risk because the pumps haven’t been fixed properly.
Please read the whole thing; it’s mega-important.
Then on to the post by Matt at Fix the Pumps for details. First he states…”The report is stunning in its breadth and depth. Things are way worse than I knew. […] The amount of crap this investigation uncovered is breathtaking.” Matt then details what is wrong with the pumps among other things. There is this regarding what has been known…
Colonel Bedey, Jim St. Germain, and Dan Bradley have been lying to us
in New Orleans and Jefferson Parish, all of the media (local and
national), and the entire nation for a year, right up to and including
Bedey’s assurances during General Van Antwerp’s “Truth & Honesty”
tour last Thursday. There is a critical fix (as in, the pumps could
fail without it) that needs to be applied to the drive units. The New
Orleans Corps has known about it and has not performed that fix since
June of 2006! I don’t see how these men can keep their jobs.
And this regarding the pump contract…
The contract administration has been a travesty – perhaps even
criminal – and there appears to have been an active effort to cover
that up. MWI was writing change orders – including prices – and the
Corps was sending them back to MWI with a bow on them. Duplicate
payments have been made to MWI. There appears to be no written
justification for most of the payments. There appear to be millions of
dollars unaccounted for.
In an update Matt gives a timeline of how this story has been managed or as Matt says how the Corps “played possum with the release of this report.” Here are parts of that timeline from Matt…
May 11:The report itself was done
May 25:The national media started arriving in New Orleans to start putting together stories for the start of hurricane season.
May 29-31: General Van Antwerp visited New Orleans and had a big,
whoop-te-doo, “We’re going to tell the truth, no matter what” press
conference at the 17th Street floodgates on May 31. Every news
organization in town was there.
June 1: Hurricane season started. National media starts heading home.
Thursday, June 7: After repeated inquiries all week, only local
reporters are emailed the report. Many public officials are not given a
copy. The reporters are told not to report on it until after 2 PM
Friday – a so-called “embargo.”
Friday, June 8: Early in the morning, public officials at all levels of government receive the report, but not from the Corps. […] far from the 17th Street canal and its photogenic backgrounds […] in a conference room at the Corps’ building on Leake Avenue, the Corps
holds an invitation-only round table to release the report. […]Six reporters are in the room. They represent the AP, the Baton Rouge
Advocate, WWL-TV, Fox 8 (TV), the Times-Picayune, and an engineering
magazine. No reporters, other than from the AP, represent national
Yesterday Senator Landrieu requested a Justice Department investigation…
“I respectfully request that the United States Department of Justice
conduct a full investigation into the charges of misconduct in the
contract administration between the Corps of Engineers and Moving Water
Somehow I’m not hopeful of Gonzales doing the right thing.
This story is just not going away, as much as elements of ACE would like it too. It shouldn’t. If the pumps fail, New Orleans floods.Yet as with too many NOLA stories it is not being heard.
If you have a blog please consider posting on it.
One final note: Matt at Fix the Pumps has worked tirelessly on tracking what has been happening with the NOLA pumps. He has filed numerous FOIA’s to get information which he has posted to his blog along with analysis. It was Matt who provided the ACE memo to the Associated Press which broke the story on the defective pumps.