This is just amazing: Bush is on videotape, being briefed before Katrina.
Video showing President George W Bush being warned on the eve of Hurricane Katrina that the storm could breach New Orleans' flood defences has emerged.
The footage, obtained by the Associated Press, also shows Mr Bush being told of the risk to evacuees in the Superdome.
It appears to contradict Mr Bush's statement four days after Katrina hit, when he said: "I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees."
Of course, Bush being caught in yet another lie is hardly news.
The footage does the president no favours, the BBC's Justin Webb reports from Washington.
It shows plainly worried officials telling Mr Bush very clearly before the storm hit that it could breach New Orleans' flood barriers.
In the past, the president has said nobody anticipated a breach but the video shows Michael Brown, the top emergency response official who has since resigned, saying the storm would be "a bad one, a big one".
"We're going to need everything that we can possibly muster, not only in this state and in the region, but the nation, to respond to this event," Mr Brown says.
He also gives a strong, clear warning that evacuees in the Superdome in New Orleans could not be given proper assistance.
And what is the Bush Administration's response? Typically, they try to pooh-pooh the whole thing.
New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, shown the footage for the first time at a press conference, told Reuters he was "shocked" by what it revealed.
"It surprises me that if there was that kind of awareness, why was the response so slow?" he asked.
But Homeland Security spokesman Russ Knocke said most transcripts of discussions had already been made available to congressional investigators examining the response to Katrina.
"There's nothing new or insightful on these tapes," he said.
Yeah, Bush has lied to the American people. That's not news. Bush knew of the dangers to New Orleans, and opted to go party instead. That's not news.
Lauren at the Center for Internet and Society notes:
Then I realized after watching the BBC piece that the technology used to perform the video briefing (while Bush was vacationing in Texas and Natâ€™l weather service people were getting worried in DC) also created a record of the briefing. It may have been a secure connection, but since nobody bothered to store the file securely, or encrypt it, a whistleblower (?) was able to leak it to the press.
Iâ€™m guessing they will not make this mistake again. But it is a great example of how in todayâ€™s world, few communications are ephemeral. Technology that enables new forms of communicationsâ€” like video conferencingâ€” also creates new records of communications that can be rebroadcast to parties the speakers never intended. Maybe this experience will make the Bush administration more sympathetic to privacy concerns?
I think that when it comes to governmental officials' being held to accountability, they're quite vigorous in defending "privacy." It's when it comes to the rest of us peasants that privacy is either a "quaint, old-fashioned notion" or a "tool for terrorists."
I expect much stonewalling and bluster on this one.