Fema And The Fake Press Conference

| October 30, 2007

When this happened it was far less interesting than what we were covering here, but this one was quite alarming to me.

From the Federal Times:

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s deputy administrator, Harvey Johnson, had an unusually friendly audience at an Oct. 23 news briefing on his agency’s response to the California wildfires: his own spokesmen.

FEMA drafted at least four of its employees to play the part of reporters at a hastily called news conference when no members of the media showed up, spokesman Aaron Walker said. No reporters showed because FEMA announced the news conference only 15 minutes before it began. All reporters could do was call in on a phone line that did not let them to ask questions.

As a result, Johnson took questions like, “Are you happy with FEMA’s response so far?” from agency spokesmen Mike Widomski, Cindy Taylor, Pat Philbin and Ali Kirin.

First off, FEMA has been rather creepy for a while, even more so since Katrina. Secondly, we now come to find out that the person who concocted and executed this stunt was in line to be the press secretary for the Director of National Intelligence:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The man who staged a fake Federal Emergency Management Agency news conference concerning the Southern California wildfires has lost a chance to be National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell’s top public information officer.

John P. “Pat” Philbin, FEMA’s external affairs director, who had been scheduled to move into the new job today, will not be getting it after last week’s phony news conference. The staged question-and-answer session was harshly criticized by both the White House and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, whose department oversees FEMA.

The last thing the intelligence community needs is a self aggrandizing BS artist anywhere near it. Perhaps this guy should send his resume to Kim Jong Il, it seems more in line with their government than ours.

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Category: Journalism, Main

About the Author ()

Bruce Henderson is a former Marine who focuses custom data mining and visualization technologies on the economy and other disasters.

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