Alabama Wanted Background Checks On Katrina Evacuees - Homeland Security Said No

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by GotZoom, Nov 10, 2005.

  1. GotZoom
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    GotZoom Senior Member

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    Nov. 9 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Homeland Security Department refused requests by Alabama officials to conduct background checks on Hurricane Katrina evacuees to keep criminals out of temporary housing facilities, according to e-mails released by congressional investigators.

    In the e-mails, provided by a special House committee investigating the federal response the storm, Michael Waters, the department's security adviser for the Birmingham district, said such background checks might be viewed as racist. Many storm victims who lived in shelters were low-income blacks.

    The checks were a ``potentially explosive issue given the existing race/class issues,'' Waters wrote in a Sept. 7 e-mail to a state official. ``I recommend we not attempt to do this at all.''

    The e-mails will be the subject of questions during the panel's hearing today about how state and federal officials interacted in Alabama in the storm's aftermath, said Rob White, a spokesman for committee Chairman Tom Davis, a Virginia Republican.

    In their responses to Waters, state officials warned of what might happen if storm survivors weren't screened.

    ``You're right about an explosive issue,'' wrote Joe Davis, assistant director of management for the Alabama Department of Homeland Security. ``Just wait till the feds don't track who they put in their long-term housing areas and a child molester does his thing.''

    Waters had argued that evacuees shouldn't undergo background checks unless there was cause to suspect that they would be a danger to the other survivors.

    `No Authority'

    Nicol Andrews, a spokeswoman for FEMA, said the agency's role in screening evacuees ``is extremely limited, as conducting background investigations is a decision left strictly to state and local authorities.''

    ``FEMA has no authority to conduct blanket background checks,'' she said. ``Any FEMA-provided housing remains under the jurisdiction of local law enforcement officials.''

    FEMA does assist law enforcement authorities in tracking registered criminals by running local databases against FEMA's national registration database, she said.

    In his e-mail, Waters said that doing background checks on every evacuee ``gets you into the realm of profiling'' and that then-FEMA Director Michael Brown had said the agency wouldn't do it.

    Thought Out

    The e-mails indicate that state and federal officials hadn't thought out in advance how to contend with evacuee housing issues, said White, the House panel's spokesman.

    ``A recurring theme in our investigation, and in these exchanges, seems to be the lack of communication and logistical coordination between the federal and local governments,'' he said. ``Everybody was in charge, so nobody was in charge.''

    State officials eventually conducted on evacuees housed in trailers in state parks the same background checks that the Department of Housing and Urban Development does on residents of subsidized housing, White said.

    The House committee has been probing what went wrong in the federal response to Katrina, which has been criticized by both Democratic and Republican lawmakers.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000103&sid=aByEYFELK6cU&refer=us
     
  2. William Joyce
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    William Joyce Chemotherapy for PC

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    Once again, the governmedia calculates that black feelings are more important than white lives or safety. Wow. You know, someone out there might have a problem with living under such a government, given that it's obviously not concerned with YOUR safety or YOUR protection, thus causing you to question its core legitimacy and wonder who out there is looking out for YOU and YOUR FAMILY. But shucks. That would be radical, wouldn't it?
     
  3. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    In the Red Cross Shelter at Lake Charles was a resident that the FBI wanted to question--FEMA and local authorities refused. I guess we still have a wall between our intelligence and law enforcement communities. We have no "homeland security".
     

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