Hurricane Katrina federal briefing [US DOJ, National Guard]

Press conference with federal officials from the US Justice Department, National Guard Bureau, Defense Department, Department of Homeland Security, US Coast Guard and FEMA. September 1, 2005. Excerpts:

[US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales]...the Department of Justice, working with state and local officials, will do everything that we can do to assure law and order in the affected areas.

We have to be successful in this endeavor because if we're not successful, it makes our job in terms of evacuation and providing relief even more dangerous and more difficult. And for that reason, it is a priority for the Department of Justice. Secretary Chertoff has already indicated that we have devoted, working with state and local officials, there will be a great number of additional security forces brought into the area. But in addition to that, the Department of Justice is working closely with state and local officials, providing whatever technical assistance that we can, providing the resources that we legally can.

We're working to ensure that all federal facilities, DOJ federal facilities are fully protected. We're working with the court officials to help them in relocating. They will have to find new quarters to work out of in New Orleans. We're going to make monies available -- additional grant monies available for law enforcement purposes.

[Lt. General Stephen Blum, on the deployment of National Guard troops] ...This is, not as it has been erroneously reported, martial law. It is not that at all. This is helping a police force that is overstretched with this extraordinary challenge that it's facing. So we are bringing law enforcement officers from around the country that are in the military of the National Guard, in state active duty roles, where their governors have sent them to Governor Blanco on her request, through the Emergency Mutual Assistance Compact. And then those of you that are really astute will say, well, there's no law enforcement provision in the EMAC, so there is a separate agreement between the donor governors -- the governors sending these forces -- and Governor Blanco receiving these forces, where the governors have signed that they have an agreement between the states to allow the law enforcement officers of one state National Guard to work for the Louisiana National Guard in this case, for a period of time.

We are never in charge. The military is not in charge, and not foreseen to be in charge in any respect or manner during the rest of the duration of this particular hurricane recovery operation.
Read the full transcript of the briefing. Reported in JURIST's Paper Chase here.

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