First up, the NY Times, discussing the problems between federal and state coordination:
While combat troops can conduct relief missions without the legal authority of the Insurrection Act, Pentagon and military officials say that no active-duty forces could have been sent into the chaos of New Orleans on Wednesday or Thursday without confronting law-and-order challenges.
But just as important to the administration were worries about the message that would have been sent by a president ousting a Southern governor of another party from command of her National Guard, according to administration, Pentagon and Justice Department officials.
“Can you imagine how it would have been perceived if a president of the United States of one party had pre-emptively taken from the female governor of another party the command and control of her forces, unless the security situation made it completely clear that she was unable to effectively execute her command authority and that lawlessness was the inevitable result?” asked one senior administration official, who spoke anonymously because the talks were confidential.
Officials in Louisiana agree that the governor would not have given up control over National Guard troops in her state as would have been required to send large numbers of active-duty soldiers into the area. But they also say they were desperate and would have welcomed assistance by active-duty soldiers.
“I need everything you have got,” Ms. Blanco said she told Mr. Bush last Monday, after the storm hit.
In an interview, she acknowledged that she did not specify what sorts of soldiers. “Nobody told me that I had to request that,” Ms. Blanco said. “I thought that I had requested everything they had. We were living in a war zone by then.”
I simply find it hard to believe that these sorts of legal issues have not been resolved post 9/11. Maybe they will be now. In addition, the WaPo has another piece about the backgrounds of top FEMA officials:
Five of eight top Federal Emergency Management Agency officials came to their posts with virtually no experience in handling disasters and now lead an agency whose ranks of seasoned crisis managers have thinned dramatically since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
FEMA’s top three leaders — Director Michael D. Brown, Chief of Staff Patrick J. Rhode and Deputy Chief of Staff Brooks D. Altshuler — arrived with ties to President Bush’s 2000 campaign or to the White House advance operation, according to the agency. Two other senior operational jobs are filled by a former Republican lieutenant governor of Nebraska and a U.S. Chamber of Commerce official who was once a political operative.
Meanwhile, veterans such as U.S. hurricane specialist Eric Tolbert and World Trade Center disaster managers Laurence W. Zensinger and Bruce P. Baughman — who led FEMA’s offices of response, recovery and preparedness, respectively — have left since 2003, taking jobs as consultants or state emergency managers, according to current and former officials.
Because of the turnover, three of the five FEMA chiefs for natural-disaster-related operations and nine of 10 regional directors are working in an acting capacity, agency officials said.
More here from a different angle. And just bonus points for Andrew Sullivan’s brass balls for claiming Instapundit misquoted Blanco. I like Sully and have defended him in the past, but it would be a full-time job counting all the things he has just gotten wrong or quotes he has taken out of context this week .