Oh, my. The dynamics of journalism have certainly changed when CNN just flat-out calls you a liar (emphasis of glorious smackdown added):
Chertoff: Katrina scenario did not exist
However, experts for years had warned of threat to New Orleans
Defending the U.S. government's response to Hurricane Katrina, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff argued Saturday that government planners did not predict such a disaster ever could occur.
But in fact, government officials, scientists and journalists have warned of such a scenario for years...
[Chertoff] called the disaster "breathtaking in its surprise."
But engineers say the levees preventing this below-sea-level city from being turned into a swamp were built to withstand only Category 3 hurricanes. And officials have warned for years that a Category 4 could cause the levees to fail...
[Chertoff] added: "There will be plenty of time to go back and say we should hypothesize evermore apocalyptic combinations of catastrophes. Be that as it may, I'm telling you this is what the planners had in front of them. They were confronted with a second wave that they did not have built into the plan, but using the tools they had, we have to move forward and adapt."
But New Orleans, state and federal officials have long painted a very different picture.
"We certainly understood the potential impact of a Category 4 or 5 hurricane" on New Orleans, Lt. General Carl Strock, chief of engineers for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said Thursday, Cox News Service reported.
Oh, man, this is so becoming cover-your-ass time. Read the whole article, it just gets better:
On Sunday, a day before Hurricane Katrina made landfall, Ivor van Heerden, director of the Louisiana State University Public Health Research Center in Baton Rouge, said, "This is what we've been saying has been going to happen for years."
"Unfortunately, it's coming true," he said, adding that New Orleans "is definitely going to flood."
Also on Sunday, Placquemines Parish Sheriff Jeff Hingle referred back to Hurricane Betsy -- a Category 2 hurricane that struck in 1965 -- and said, "After Betsy these levees were designed for a Category 3."
He added, "These levees will not hold the water back."
But Chertoff seemed unaware of all the warnings.
Boy, I hope all you Americans are feeling safer with Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff on the job. You might want to build a dirty bomb and blow yourself up right now just to save the terrorists the trouble.