Michael D. Brown

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Michael DeWayne Brown (Mike Brown), director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, resigned September 12, 2005, "'in the best interest of the agency and best interest of the president,' three days after losing his onsite command of the Hurricane Katrina relief effort." [1]

Brown's official title was Under Secretary of Emergency Preparedness and Response in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Remarks on BP's Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Michael Brown, speaking to FOX News about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in May 2010, accused President Obama of "playing politics" with the oil spill, claiming that the president waited for the spill to worsen before responding in order to turn public opinion against drilling.[1] He told the network's Neil Cavuto:

"This is exactly what [President Obama and his administration] want, because now he can pander to the environmentalists and say, 'I'm gonna shut it down because it's too dangerous,'" ... "This president has never supported big oil, he's never supported offshore drilling, and now he has an excuse to shut it back down."[1]

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill has now been classified as the world's worst accidental oil spill.[2]

Disaster Planner

Michael Brown is "starting a disaster preparedness consulting firm to help clients avoid the sort of errors that cost him his job," the Associated Press reported November 25, 2005. Admitting that he made mistakes "in response to Hurricane Katrina," Brown said "he had been planning to quit before the hurricane hit."

"Brown said companies already have expressed interested in his consulting business, Michael D. Brown LLC" which Brown plans to run "from the Boulder [Colorado] area, where he lived before joining the Bush administration in 2001."

Related Links

Fired, Then Hired

Michael Brown "told congressional investigators [for Rep. Tom Davis, (R-Virginia)] Monday [September 26, 2005,] that he is being paid as a consultant to help FEMA assess what went wrong in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, according to a senior official familiar with the meeting." --Ed Henry, CNN, September 28, 2005.

Hurricane Katrina

Brown Relieved of Hurricane Katrina Duties

On September 7, 2005, it was announced that on Monday, September 6, 2005, Brown was "removed from his role in managing the Bush administration's Hurricane Katrina relief efforts and is returning to Washington."

"Brown, who has been under fire for the federal government's slow response to the storm that devastated much of the Gulf Coast region, [was] replaced by Coast Guard Vice Adm. Thad W. Allen, who was overseeing New Orleans relief and rescue efforts," Lara Jakes Jordan reported for the Associated Press.

"Convenient Fall Guy"

"In the aftermath of 2005's Hurricane Katrina being named an 'Incident of National Significance', Brown was named the Principal Federal Official and placed in charge of the government's response by Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff. CNN report[ed] increasing anger filling the region due to what seem[ed] like complacency and tardiness from FEMA, coupled with an unsympathetic response from Director Brown, who [laid] some of the blame on the victims for their suffering." [2][3]

On September 6, 2005, the Associated Press reported that leaked internal FEMA documents revealed just five hours after the hurricane hit the coast Brown sought approval from Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff for the dispatch of 1,000 Homeland Security employees within two days. Brown's memo noted that the ermployees would be expected to "convey a positive image of disaster operations to government officials, community organizations and the general public." [4]

However, Knight Ridder has since obtained federal documents which show that Brown had "only limited authority" to "mobilize a massive federal response" to Hurricane Katrina "until about 36 hours after the storm hit, when Chertoff designated him as the 'principal federal official' in charge of the storm." It was Chertoff, and not Brown, who "was in charge of managing the national response to a catastrophic disaster, according to the National Response Plan."

Additionally, Josh Marshall pointed out September 14, 2005, in his Talking Points Memo, "if you go back to August 27th," President Bush had already "declared a state of emergency in the state of Louisiana under Title V of the Stafford Act, ... Ergo, Katrina became an Incident of National Significance on August 27th -- two days before the storm. But Chertoff apparently didn't realize this and waited till a day after [on August 30th] to make the determination on his own, one that according to the flow chart had already been made."


"Brown came to Washington at the behest of his childhood friend and Bush 2000 campaign manager, Joe M. Allbaugh, who became head of FEMA in the Bush administration. After three years in two posts at FEMA, Brown replaced Allbaugh as director." [5]


According to his official FEMA biography:

"Michael D. Brown was nominated by President George W. Bush as the first Under Secretary of Emergency Preparedness and Response (EP&R) in the newly created Department of Homeland Security in January 2003. Mr. Brown coordinates federal disaster relief activities, including implementation of the Federal Response Plan, which authorizes the response and recovery operations of 26 federal agencies and departments as well as the American Red Cross. He would also oversee the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration, and initiate proactive mitigation activities.

"Additionally, as Under Secretary, Mr. Brown will help the Secretary of Homeland Security ensure the effectiveness of emergency responders, and direct the Strategic National Stockpile, the National Disaster Medical System and the Nuclear Incident Response Team.

"Previously, Mr. Brown served as FEMA's Deputy Director and the agency's General Counsel. Shortly after the September 11th terrorist attacks, Mr. Brown served on the President's Consequence Management Principal's Committee, which acted as the White House's policy coordination group for the federal domestic response to the attacks. Later, the President asked him to head the Consequence Management Working Group to identify and resolve key issues regarding the federal response plan. In August 2002, President Bush appointed him to the Transition Planning Office for the new Department of Homeland Security, serving as the transition leader for the EP&R Division. Mr. Brown currently chairs the National Citizen Corps Council, part of the President's USA Freedom Corps volunteer initiative.

"Prior to joining FEMA he practiced law in Colorado and Oklahoma, where he served as a bar examiner on ethics and professional responsibility for the Oklahoma Supreme Court and as a hearing examiner for the Colorado Supreme Court. He had been appointed as a special prosecutor in police disciplinary matters. While attending law school he was appointed by the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee of the Oklahoma Legislature as the Finance Committee Staff Director, where he oversaw state fiscal issues. His background in state and local government also includes serving as an assistant city manager with emergency services oversight and as a city councilman.

"A native of Oklahoma, Mr. Brown holds a B.A. in Public Administration/Political Science from Central State University, Oklahoma. He received his J.D. from Oklahoma City University's School of Law. He was an adjunct professor of law for the Oklahoma City University."

Brown Finds Success as a Consultant

As the first anniversary of Katrina aproached, the New York Times reported that "Mr. Brown says his reputation was unfairly battered over Hurricane Katrina, so he is speaking up in his own defense. He is also trying to build a consulting firm advising clients on issues relating to disaster preparedness — a notion some critics find curious, if not absurd." [6]

The Times story continued, "Mr. Brown has attracted about a half-dozen clients, he said. Charlie Baker, chief executive of On-Screen Technologies, an Oregon firm that markets mobile signs for use during emergencies, cited Mr. Brown’s 'total experience' in working with first responders." [7]

Brown "is also doing unpaid work helping St. Bernard Parish, La., devise strategies to secure federal money for its cleanup effort. 'He’s been very nice and very knowledgeable and knows the inner workings of government,' said Charlie Reppel, the chief of staff to the parish president. He said the parish drew criticism for working with Mr. Brown, in light of his 'reputation problems.'" [8]

Other Brown clients, according to an April 2006 New York Times story, include Jarvis Construction of Harrison Township, Michigan, and Shifting Culture, a nonprofit organization in Boulder, Colorado. Brown told the Times that, as a consultant, "he expects to be earning far more than the $148,000 he was paid annually as FEMA director. 'I will be making more,' he said. 'Significantly more.'" [9]

SourceWatch Resources

External links


  • Michael D. Brown in the Wikipedia.
  • "Michael D. Brown," FindLaw.
  • "Michael D. Brown nominated for key homeland security position," Fire Chief, February 15, 2003: "As deputy director, Brown functions as FEMA's Chief Operating Officer, assisting Director Joe M. Allbaugh with oversight of the agency's activities. ... 'In my opinion, the president couldn't have chosen a better man to help Governor Ridge and Secretary England prepare and protect the nation,' Allbaugh said. 'Mike Brown is a great leader and a great man who I am proud to call my friend. He will be a tremendous asset to the homeland security team.'"

Internal E-Mails Obtained Under FOIA

2005 Articles & Commentary

2006 Articles & Commentary

  • 1.0 1.1 HuffingtonPost.com
  • BP Leak the World's Worst Accidental Oil Spill, Telegraph UK, August 3 2010, accessed August 22, 2010