Lawmakers: Video raises questions about response

Democrats are renewing calls for an independent investigation.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Lawmakers from both parties said Thursday a newly disclosed videotape of a pre-Katrina briefing for President Bush and top administration officials raises new questions about government response to the storm that flooded New Orleans and killed more than 1,300 people.
Sen. David Vitter, R-La., said the video "makes it perfectly clear once again that this disaster was not out of the blue or unforeseeable. It was not only predictable, it was actually predicted. That's what made the failures in response -- at the local, state and federal level -- all the more outrageous."
The video, obtained by The Associated Press, "confirms what we have suspected all along," said Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, charging that Bush administration officials have "systematically misled the American people."
Call for probe
Reid and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California renewed their calls for an independent commission to investigate the federal response to the hurricane.
The House and Senate have conducted separate investigations of the federal response, and the White House did its own investigation. House Democrats for the most part refused to participate in the House probe, insisting since last fall that an independent commission should be created to handle the probe.
"I try not to get angry, but I am plenty frustrated that we're not getting answers" from the administration, said Rep. Charlie Melancon, D-La., one of the few Democrats who participated in the House investigation. "If nobody was hiding anything, why did the committee not get the documents it requested? We need to use subpoenas if necessary to get those documents."
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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