Created by CREW

CREW V. Dept. of Homeland Security (Katrina)

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) sued the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) over its continued refusal to respond to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request on Katrina-related issues. On September 7, 2005, CREW sent a FOIA request to DHS and its component, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), asking for records and communications regarding the federal government’s preparedness for and response to hurricane Katrina. CREW requested an expedited response from DHS on the FOIA, which was denied by DHS on September 20, 2005. CREW appealed on October 24, 2005, urging the agency to quickly release documents that would inform the public about the circumstances surrounding FEMA’s response to Katrina. On December 21, 2005 DHS again denied CREW’s request for expedited treatment, forcing CREW to sue DHS for the information. Specifically, CREW asked DHS for: •communications between the White House and FEMA regarding the preparation for and response to the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina; •communications regarding offers by corporations and foreign governments to assist the victims of Katrina, and FEMA’s response to such offers; •information regarding the portion of the $3.1 billion 2005 DHS budget for emergency preparedness that was used to prepare for hurricanes on the Gulf Coast and for potential flooding in New Orleans; •information regarding the amount of money that was diverted from natural disaster emergency preparedness to terrorism emergency preparedness and the rationale for any such diversion; •studies, assessments, presentations and scenarios created demonstrating the potential impact of a powerful hurricane on the Gulf Coast and proposed responses to such scenarios.