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Warning Was Given

Official says feds warned of storm’s potential:

Max Mayfield, director of the National Hurricane Center, said yesterday that officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Homeland Security — including FEMA Director Mike Brown and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff — listened in on electronic briefings given by his staff before Hurricane Katrina slammed Louisiana and Mississippi and were advised of the storm’s potential deadly effects.

“We were briefing them way before landfall,” Mayfield said. “It’s not like this was a surprise. … I keep looking back to see if there was anything else we could have done, and I just don’t know what it would be,” he said.

Chertoff said Saturday that government officials had not expected the damaging combination of a powerful hurricane and levee breaches that flooded New Orleans.

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