US Rep William Jefferson - (D) - New Orleans

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by brainzz_n_dong, Sep 14, 2005.

  1. brainzz_n_dong

    brainzz_n_dong New Member

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    Amid Katrina Chaos, Congressman Used National Guard to Visit Home

    Two Heavy Trucks, Helicopter Were Involved in Lawmaker's Trip at Height of Crisis

    By Jake Tapper of ABC News

    Sept. 13, 3005 — Amid the chaos and confusion that engulfed New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina struck, a congressman used National Guard troops to check on his property and rescue his personal belongings — even while New Orleans residents were trying to get rescued from rooftops, ABC News has learned.

    On Sept. 2 — five days after Katrina hit the Gulf Coast — Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., who represents New Orleans and is a senior member of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, was allowed through the military blockades set up around the city to reach the Superdome, where thousands of evacuees had been taken.

    Military sources tells ABC News that Jefferson, an eight-term Democratic congressman, asked the National Guard that night to take him on a tour of the flooded portions of his congressional district. A five-ton military truck and a half dozen military police were dispatched.

    Lt. Col. Pete Schneider of the Louisiana National Guard tells ABC News that during the tour, Jefferson asked that the truck take him to his home on Marengo Street, in the affluent uptown neighborhood in his congressional district. According to Schneider, this was not part of Jefferson's initial request.

    Jefferson defended the expedition, saying he set out to see how residents were coping at the Superdome and in his neighborhood. He also insisted that he did not ask the National Guard to transport him.

    "I did not seek the use of military assets to help me get around my city," Jefferson told ABC News. "There was shooting going on. There was sniping going on. They thought I should be escorted by some military guards, both to the convention center, the Superdome and uptown."

    The water reached to the third step of Jefferson's house, a military source familiar with the incident told ABC News, and the vehicle pulled up onto Jefferson's front lawn so he wouldn't have to walk in the water. Jefferson went into the house alone, the source says, while the soldiers waited on the porch for about an hour.
    Finally, according to the source, Jefferson emerged with a laptop computer, three suitcases, and a box about the size of a small refrigerator, which the enlisted men loaded up into the truck.

    "I don't think there is any explanation for an elected official using resources for their own personal use, when those resources should be doing search and rescue, or they should be helping with law enforcement in the city," said Jerry Hauer, a homeland security expert and ABC News consultant.

    Jefferson said the trip was entirely appropriate. It took only a few minutes to retrieve his belongings, he said, and the truck stayed at his house for an hour in part to assist neighbors. "This wasn't about me going to my house. It was about me going to my district," he said.

    Two Heavy Trucks and Helicopter Involved

    The Louisiana National Guard tells ABC News the truck became stuck as it waited for Jefferson to retrieve his belongings. Two weeks later, the vehicle's tire tracks were still visible on the lawn.

    The soldiers signaled to helicopters in the air for aid. Military sources say a Coast Guard helicopter pilot saw the signal and flew to Jefferson's home. The chopper was already carrying four rescued New Orleans residents at the time. A rescue diver descended from the helicopter, but the congressman decided against going up in the helicopter, sources say. The pilot sent the diver down again, but Jefferson again declined to go up the helicopter. After spending approximately 45 minutes with Jefferson, the helicopter went on to rescue three additional New Orleans residents before it ran low on fuel and was forced to end its mission.

    "Forty-five minutes can be an eternity to somebody that is drowning, to somebody that is sitting in a roof, and it needs to be used its primary purpose during an emergency," said Hauer.

    Coast Guard Cmdr. Brendan McPherson told ABC News, "We did have an aircraft that responded to a signal of distress where the congressman was located. The congressman did decline rescue at the time so the helicopter picked up three other people.

    "I can't comment on why the congressman decided not to go in the aircraft," McPherson said. "Did it take a little more time to send the rescue swimmer back a second time? Yes … You'd have to ask the congressman if it was a waste of time or not."

    The Louisiana National Guard then sent a second five-ton truck to rescue the first truck, and Jefferson and his personal items were returned to the Superdome. Schneider said he could not comment on whether the excursion was appropriate. "We're in no position to comment on an order given to a soldier. You're not going to get a statement from the Louisiana National Guard saying whether it was right or wrong. That was the mission we were assigned."
    Jefferson insisted the expedition did not distract from rescue efforts. "They actually picked up a lot of people while we were there," he said. "The young soldier said, 'It's a good thing we came up here because a lot of people would not have been rescued had we not been in the neighborhood.'"

    Jefferson's Homes Searched in Unrelated Investigation

    In an unrelated matter, authorities recently searched Jefferson's property as part of a federal investigation into the finances of a high-tech firm. Last month FBI officials raided Jefferson's house as well as his home in Washington, D.C., his car and his accountant's house.

    Jefferson has not commented on that matter, except to say he is cooperating with the investigation. But he has emerged as a major voice in the post-Katrina political debate. "The levee system that had protected New Orleans for hundreds of years had failed," he said on the House floor on Sept. 7. "Our city was inundated, 80 percent of it, with deadly water. Thousands of lives were lost, many drowned, trapped in their homes. Others were lost trying to escape the fury."

    Last week, Jefferson set up a special trust fund for contributions to his legal defense in light of the FBI investigation. A senior federal law enforcement source tells ABC News that investigators are interested in learning if Jefferson moved any materials relevant to the investigation. Jefferson says he did not.

    ABC News' Sarah H. Rosenberg, Chris Isham and Ted Gerstein contributed to this report.

    *************************

    It's a good thing Mr. Jefferson doesn't have an ® next to his name. If he did, they'd be organizing his recall election (among other things) for pulling a stunt like this.
     
  2. Shelby

    Gold Member

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    You got that right.

    Plus, Blanco and Nagin have to be pretty relieved that Bush deflected some ot their heat.

    But the haters will just use his admission to beat him about the head. Poor Hillary, Dubya cut her off at the pass.
     
  3. jay_too

    jay_too New Member

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    dude..

    Think Bathtub Tom. Oops, I meant Hot Tub Tom DeLay. But of course, the roach has no shame.

    jay
     
  4. KinkGuy

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    WooHoo!!! One shitty congressman and that eliminates all the pain, loss, death and suffering of 250,000 people. Score one for the Republicans.

    The article you cite has been "spun" and certainly doesn't negate the fact that hundreds of poor, black, Democrats from a "blue state" died and thousands more were turned into homeless, starving, slandered and abandoned citizens. At least they were citizens pre-bush.
     
  5. brainzz_n_dong

    brainzz_n_dong New Member

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    I was offering up the news story as a commentary on the apparent moral shortcomings of one man, kink. It showed that a man who otherwise had much to criticise local, state, and federal officials about when the idea of a "proper response" comes up didn't shy away from monopolizing men and machinery when presented with a chance to save goodies out of his home at the expense of those assets being free to save citizens in the city of NO.

    That you somehow think the facts of the story exist as some attempt to negate the totality of the tragedy in NO...and that you inexplicably see something like this as a blue state versus red state issue speaks to where you come from, kink.

    You'd better take up that "spinning" allegation directly with and against ABC News. Last time I checked, they were not an outpost of conservative news opinion.
     
  6. Dr Rock

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    who lives in the east 'neath the willow tree? Sex
    what a scumbag. I hope someone burns his fucking house down.
     
  7. madame_zora

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    No, I agree it was a self-serving, fuckheaded thing to do, no doubt the military could have used those resources better elsewhere.

    Likewise, our firement could have been better used actually helping people rather than attending bush's rally for the press, but there is just no end to the loathsome behavior in many of our governmental officials. Plenty of blame to pass around, I'm not in favor of saying the Dems are doing better than the repubs on this one. Mostly it has been left to the PEOPLE to clean up the mess, perhaps this should be a warning to us all.
     
  8. SpeedoGuy

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    Anything to distract us from the fact that W was playing golf and hamming it up at a fundraiser while NOLA was getting thrashed.
     
  9. Dr Rock

    Gold Member

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    who lives in the east 'neath the willow tree? Sex
    I think we're already aware of what a turd bush is; he's unlikely to surprise us these days. in fact, he and his pals are such monumental assholes that they often eclipse the scumbag behavior of their less powerful colleagues - we do sometimes need reminding that all politicians, regardless of their "affiliation", are equally mendacious and incompetent. identifying with political parties is equally stupid whatever they're called - these people are not your friends, and they sure as hell don't have your interests at heart.

    the problem is not, as they would like you to believe, a question of bullshit party politics. the problem is that the electorate itself is too stupid and apathetic to do anything about a system of government which is clearly and irreparably broken.
     
  10. KinkGuy

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    And I WAS TRYING TO POINT OUT that the neocons are jumping all over this story to help "spin" the situation, deflect attention to themselves and change the opinions of the masses and the crimes they have committed during this crisis. YOU MISSED THE POINT.
     
  11. brainzz_n_dong

    brainzz_n_dong New Member

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    Kink, your hatred of Bush is well known in this room. You probably don't even drink Busch Beer because, even though there is a "c" in the name, it's phonetically the same. However, if you think this the reporting on this one misguided representative, all by itself, possess such power as to overcome the story of the death and destruction of the gulf coast area then you must really think the "neocons" at ABC News are the world's next superpower.
     
  12. KinkGuy

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    Well, duh!
     
  13. SpeedoGuy

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    lol. Bnd, you say that like its a bad thing.

    SG
     
  14. jonb

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    And Bush promised to rebuild Lott's mansion.
     
  15. Pecker

    Pecker Retired Moderator
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    We visualize the Projects as high-rises or duplexes, concrete bunkers full of the poor.

    Now we have to add mobile homes, one after the other as far as the eye can see.
     
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