According to Hugh Hewitt, Major Garrett of Fox News is reporting that the Red Cross “had prepositioned water, food, blankets and hygiene products for delivery to the Superdome and the Convention Center in the immediate aftermath of the hurricane, but were blocked from delivering those supplies by orders of the Louisiana state government, which did not want to attract people to the Superdome and/or Convention Center.”
Explosive, obviously, if true. Hugh has interviewed Garrett, who says the report comes from “sources at the highest levels of the Red Cross.”
UPDATE: Several readers report seeing this statement made by Red Cross officials. Jane Ehrgott writes:
I saw the woman who was the spokesperson for the Red Cross on tonight’s Shepard Smith Report. She said on that interview that the Louisiana “STATE HOMELAND SECURITY DEPT.” stopped them from going to the Superdome in the immediate aftermath. I was shocked.
Kent Anderson writes:
Your story on the red cross being barred from nola was confirmed wed morning by an official spokesperson of the red cross on the diane ream npr show. a caller inquired if it was true and she (the spokesman) replied unequivocally that it was true.
UPDATE: David Kolbe sends a link:
A Red Cross official, Carol Miller, said on NPR’s Diane Rehm show this morning that the Red Cross was told not to provide aid at the Superdome by the Louisiana, not U.S., Department of Homeland Security. Audio here: http://www.wamu.org/programs/dr/ (click link on left side of page) the comment is about 35:40 into the show.
I’ve listened to the exchange, and the Red Cross representative clearly confirms that the Louisiana authorities directed the Red Cross not to operate in New Orleans lest residents be tempted to stay. The Super Dome and convention center aren’t specifically mentioned, but obviously would be included in the prohibition.
Other readers have pointed out that the same information is on the Red Cross web site. So there isn’t any doubt about the basic point. The thing that would make it more explosive, I guess, is if the Red Cross had specifically stockpiled materiel to go to the Super Dome and convention center, as indicated by Garrett’s report on Fox.
THE LAST WORD: The Political Teen has the video of Major Garrett on Fox, and RadioBlogger has the transcript of Garrett’s interview on Hugh Hewitt’s show tonight. Some key exchanges:
I was watching up on the corner television in my studio, and it’s headlined that the Red Cross was blocked from delivering supplies to the Superdome, Major Garrett. Tell us what you found out.
MG: Well, the Red Cross, Hugh, had pre-positioned a literal vanguard of trucks with water, food, blankets and hygiene items. They’re not really big into medical response items, but those are the three biggies that we saw people at the New Orleans Superdom, and the convention center, needing most accutely. And all of us in America, I think, reasonably asked ourselves, geez. You know, I watch hurricanes all the time. And I see correspondents standing among rubble and refugees and evacuaees. But I always either see that Red Cross or Salvation Army truck nearby. Why don’t I see that?
HH: And the answer is?
MG: The answer is the Louisiana Department of Homeland Security, that is the state agency responsible for that state’s homeland security, told the Red Cross explicitly, you cannot come.
HH: Now Major Garrett, on what day did they block the delivery? Do you know specifically?
MG: I am told by the Red Cross, immediately after the storm passed.
HH: Okay, so that would be on Monday afternoon.
MG: That would have been Monday or Tuesday.
HH: I also have to conclude from what you’re telling me, Major Garrett, is that had they been allowed to deliver when they wanted to deliver, which is at least a little bit prior to the levee, or at least prior to the waters rising, the supplies would have been pre-positioned, and the relief…you know, the people in the Superdome, and possibly at the convention center, I want to come back to that, would have been spared the worst of their misery.
MG: They would have been spared the lack of food, water and hygiene. I don’t think there’s any doubt that they would not have been spared the indignity of having nor workable bathrooms in short order.
HH: Now Major Garrett, let’s turn to the convention center, because this will be, in the aftermath…did the Red Cross have ready to go into the convention center the supplies that we’re talking about as well?
MG: Sure. They could have gone to any location, provided that the water wasn’t too high, and they got some assistance.
The Democrats may need to re-think their calls for an investigation.