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Was Chertoff Talking About Imposing Martial Law?

Reported by Ellen - November 15, 2005

Michael Chertoff, Director of Homeland Security, did a lengthy interview with Sean Hannity on Hannity & Colmes last night (11/14/05). Most of the discussion was about illegal immigration but at the end, Hannity asked Chertoff about the government's response to Katrina and other possible catastrophes in the future. I found his vague remarks disturbing.

Chertoff told Hannity what has been learned from Katrina. "When the next catastrophe occurs, we can really integrate our response, the military's response, state and local response with a very hard-headed, realistic approach to making sure we can respond.

Chertoff described Katrina as "an extraordinary catastrophe" that in many ways was worse than 9/11, and "a tremendous wake-up call." Comment: Why hadn't DHS "woken up" earlier? Wasn't 9/11 a wake-up call? And the government had plenty of advance warning about the potentially disastrous consequences of a hurricane well before Katrina hit. But Hannity never mentioned that and Chertoff took no questions from Alan Colmes.

Chertoff said we owe it to the victims of Katrina to put the lessons learned into effect ASAP. He claims to be working with other governments and other agencies to prepare for a worst case scenario, including a break down of public order. Referring to the civil unrest in France, he said, "Sometimes you have to be prepared to come in with almost overwhelming assets and overwhleming resources in order to stabilize a situation and I think those are some important take-aways from Katrina."

Comment: Chertoff expressed no remorse for the overdue, inadequate and poorly co-ordinated federal response, for not having learned the lessons when he had earlier opportunities for doing so and for not having a qualified manager at the head of FEMA. Instead, he compared Katrina to unrest in France, implying that what was needed was more law and order and more resources, not working smarter.

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