James Lee Witt
James Lee Witt, who headed the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) during the Clinton administration, was named September 4, 2005, as Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco’s liaison with FEMA following the August 29, 2005, strike upon the Gulf Coast by Hurricane Katrina.
"Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco has announced that she is hiring Witt to assist in the hurricane recovery," Wayne Madsen wrote September 7, 2005. "Just a minute here. His firm (which includes retired Gen. Wesley Clark) was part of the IEM team that came up with the non-existent $500,000 FEMA New Orleans-Southeast Louisiana Catastrophic Hurricane Disaster Plan. Why pay this guy again for his incompetence? Republicans + Democrats = Partners in Crime."
Indian Point, New York
The New York Times reported October 28, 2002, that Witt, "[o]ne of the people who [had] been heading Gov. George E. Pataki's safety review of the Indian Point nuclear plant was removed from the project today after The New York Times inquired about his links to the Entergy Corp., the plant's owner." Witt, who was leading the safety review, was "a former official of Entergy."
"The governor and his aides ... said that James Lee Witt Associates is conducting the review, but in fact, it has been a joint effort of that firm and Innovative Emergency Management, or I.E.M., of Baton Rouge, La., which specializes in emergency preparedness studies.
"An Aug. 15 I.E.M. news release says the company 'has been selected by the State of New York' to conduct the study. Mr. Witt said that I.E.M. was a subcontractor to his firm, hired with the knowledge and consent of the governor's office, an account confirmed by Robert Hinckley, a Pataki spokesman.
"The person heading the effort for I.E.M. has been Gary Scronce, according to Mr. Witt and others involved in the project. The company's Web site says that before joining I.E.M., Mr. Scronce was 'an engineering manager' at an Entergy nuclear plant in Louisiana."
Related SourceWatch Resources
- Richard Perez-Pena, "A Pataki Overseer of Safety Is Removed at Indian Point," New York Times (closeindianpoint.org), October 29, 2002.
- Rita Crosby, Transcript: Live & Direct: "'Hurricane Katrina: Crisis and Recovery' for September 4 (6:00 PM ET Special)," MSNBC, September 5, 2005: "Guest: Cathy Flinchum, Richard Ashmore, Reverend Jesse Jackson, Richard Wagenaar, James Lee Witt, Dave, Richard Zuschlag, Anne Marie Tafoya."
- Wayne Madsen, "FEMA Privatized Hurricane Disaster Recovery Planning for New Orleans and Southeastern Louisiana. Firms that received the contract are big GOP contributors," Global Research, September 7, 2005.