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The Deep S**t on FEMA'S Brown, Allbaugh & Bush

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2006 7:40 pm    Post subject: The Deep S**t on FEMA'S Brown, Allbaugh & Bush Reply with quote

This is the definitive skinny on Brown & Bush's boy Allbaugh.
(Lots of incidental interesting angles too)

From RealNews --who are a seriously heavyweight hit team,
which includes Dan Ellsberg on their Editorial crew.

But somebody wants these guys taken down - and good.


A Real News Exclusive
Unholy Trinity: Katrina, Allbaugh and Brown

Page 1 of 7 (Full Text Version) Release Date: Feb. 6, 2006
Copyright 2006, Russ Baker/Real News Project, All Rights Reserved
By Russ Baker

FEMA Director Michael Brown explains Katrina situation to President
George W. Bush and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff

...Michael Brown will forever remain the poster child for federal incompetence. And the central question has yet to be answered: who was Michael Brown, and how did he end up at the helm of the Federal Emergency Management Agency?

Indeed, how did he and his predecessor and mentor, Bush political operative Joe Allbaugh, manage to turn FEMA, a once proud and effective agency, into a national laughingstock?

On any level, it makes absolutely no sense that Michael Brown should have been holding any major government post. Prior to joining FEMA, his professional pinnacle had been to serve as an inspector of Arabian Horse judges; his highest governmental job had been an assistant to a city manager in a small Oklahoma city decades ago.

"Brownie" had done no known political work for George W. Bush. He was not an industry figure. He was not even among the many longtime allies of the Bush family. The only answer the public has ever gotten in the aftermath of Katrina as to why Michael Brown headed the Federal Emergency Management Agency was a peculiar and highly dissatisfying one: Joe Allbaugh wanted him there. Allbaugh is the brash and powerful but little-known Bush confidant who preceded Brown as FEMA director. When Allbaugh came to Washington, he brought Brown with him and rapidly promoted him until Brown was positioned to take over the agency.

But why Michael Brown? Why, out of all the people Allbaugh had met over three decades as a GOP operative, did he place such confidence in a failed lawyer whose last job was a troubled tenure with an obscure association of show horse owners?

When pressed, the taciturn Allbaugh tersely replied that Brown was a lifelong friend in whom he had confidence. To this moment, that has remained the official, indeed only, explanation of how and why Michael Brown was running FEMA when Hurricane Katrina struck.

But a Real News Project investigation, encompassing scores of interviews and hundreds of documents, has uncovered another reality. It begins with this astonishing fact: nearly all of Joe Allbaugh's friends and acquaintances say they had never heard of Michael Brown, never met him, never even seen the two men in each other's presence. To them, Michael Brown is a complete stranger. Allbaugh's explanation of why he chose Brown as his heir apparent at FEMA baffles one and all.

The truth, RealNews has learned, is that the relationship between the two is a decades-long hidden partnership designed to advance both men's business and personal interests. By all appearances, that relationship encompassed Allbaugh's decision to ask Bush to let him run FEMA, and then his decision to turn the place over to Brown so he could profit from their ties......

And just how far into the Bush White House does this dismaying story reach?


While most folks who knew Brown over the years were startled to see a person of such modest accomplishments in a high Washington post, the IAHA brass was not. As Hart recalls, “Brown had been saying for six months or more that, if Bush was elected, he was going to have a high position in Washington because he was very close to someone who was very active in Bush’s campaign.”

Why exactly would this apparent incompetent be tapped for one of the most sensitive jobs in post-9/11 Washington? The key to that mystery lies in the career of Joe Allbaugh, George W. Bush’s adjutant since 1994, who first met Brown back in the 1980s when both were young men starting out professionally in Oklahoma......

The first verifiable direct link between Allbaugh and Michael Brown is in an obscure company called Campground Development Corporation, which Brown and his brother-in-law, Bill Oxley, formed in 1985. For two years, records show, Campground Development employed Joe Allbaugh as a state capitol lobbyist.....

When she began o demand answers, she says, Allbaugh angrily warned her to mind her own business. Hogan also remembers that, shortly before she asked him for a divorce, Allbaugh claimed to be in the C.I.A.

By 1980, Allbaugh was traveling widely, working on campaigns throughout the country; in 1984 he rose to be deputy regional coordinator for the Reagan-Bush reelection campaign, responsible for 11 Western States. That year, by his own account, he met George W. Bush, who was in Oklahoma City on behalf of his father’s campaign.

As part of his job, Allbaugh communicated directly with Adjutant General Daniel James III, the head of the Texas National Guard (later appointed by President George W. Bush to run the federal Air National Guard). What remains unclear is whether he ordered James to dispose of any old Bush military files that might prove embarrassing, an order former Lieutenant Colonel Bill Burkett, head of a Guard efficiency task force, claims to have heard Allbaugh issue in a conversation on James’s speakerphone.

In retrospect, Allbaugh’s most damaging accomplishment at FEMA was pre-positioning Michael Brown as his successor. Allbaugh included him in all key deliberations, even naming him Chief Operating Officer, and Brown’s influence was apparent to all. Within six months of Brown’s arrival as general counsel of FEMA, Allbaugh was ready to promote him. First, though, he had to oust his current acting deputy director, John Magaw—a former director of the U.S. Secret Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, whom Clinton had placed in charge of coordinating domestic-terrorism efforts for FEMA.

“One day, Mr. Allbaugh came in and said, ‘I know you’ve got these other things to do. I’m going to ask Mr. Brown to be deputy,” recalls Magaw, who promptly returned to the domestic-terror position assigned him by Clinton. The timing was remarkable. Just a week prior to September 11, 2001, Allbaugh removed one of the most experienced men in government and replaced him with one of the least experienced.

Consider the trajectory of Shaw Group, a Baton Rouge engineering and construction firm, and one of Allbaugh’s biggest clients. On August 15, 2005, with hurricane season getting under way, Joe and Diane’s firm, Allbaugh Co., registered as a lobbyist for Shaw, which began advertising for workers to man its rebuilding projects before Katrina even struck. After the levees broke, Shaw, which had not been a FEMA contractor during the Clinton years, received two separate $100 million federal clean-up contracts and saw its stock price shoot up 50 percent in a few weeks.

The Allbaughs and Cheneys are literally so at home with each other that, on first arriving in Washington in 2001, the Allbaughs bought Cheney’s townhouse in McLean, Virginia, for $690,000. During the house tour, Cheney must have pointed out the revolving doors. One of Allbaugh’s biggest clients is Cheney’s former employer, Halliburton, whose Kellogg, Brown and Root subsidiary got at least $61 million worth of Katrina business.

He also formed Blackwell-Fairbanks, a joint venture with Andrew Lundquist, with whom he had served on vice president Cheney’s secretive energy task force. (The name of the company is based on the hometowns of the two principals.) Clients in 2004 included the aerospace giant Lockheed Martin; on required forms, Blackwell-Fairbanks would later report that it had lobbied both the offices of the president and of the vice president. Filings for Joe and Diane Allbaugh’s The Allbaugh Company show among its clients Oshkosh Truck, the leading supplier of vehicles to the Pentagon.

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