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10/20/2017 1:01:18 AM
9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 9/13/2005 8:38:20 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/13/2005 8:43:39 PM EDT by Aviator]
Sept. 13, 3005 — Amid the chaos and confusion that engulfed New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina struck, a local congressman used National Guard troops to check on his property and rescue his personal belongings — even while New Orleans residents were trying to get rescued from rooftops, ABC News has learned.

On Friday, Sept. 2 — five days after Katrina hit the Gulf Coast — Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., who represents New Orleans and is a senior member of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, was allowed through the military blockades set up around the city to reach the Superdome, where thousands of evacuees had been taken.

Military sources tells ABC News that Jefferson, an eight-term Democratic congressman, asked the National Guard that night to take him on a tour of the flooded portions of his congressional district. A 5-ton military truck and a half dozen military police were dispatched.

Lt. Col. Pete Schneider of the Louisiana National Guard tells ABC News that during the tour, Jefferson asked that the truck take him to his home on Marengo Street, in the affluent uptown neighborhood in his congressional district. According to Schneider, this was not part of Jefferson's initial request.

Jefferson defended the expedition, saying he set out to see how residents were coping at the Superdome and in his neighborhood. He also insisted that he did not ask the National Guard to transport him.

"I did not seek the use of military assets to help me get around my city," Jefferson told ABC News. "There was shooting going on. There was sniping going on. They thought I should be escorted by some military guards, both to the convention center the Superdome and uptown."

The water reached to the third step of Jefferson's house, a military source familiar with the incident told ABC News, and the vehicle pulled up onto Jefferson's front lawn so he wouldn't have to walk in the water. Jefferson went into the house alone, the source says, while the soldiers waited on the porch for about an hour.

Finally, according to the source, Jefferson emerged with a laptop computer, three suitcases, and a box about the size of a small refrigerator, which the enlisted men loaded up into the truck.

Two weeks later, the vehicle's tire tracks were still visible on the lawn.

"I don't think there is any explanation for an elected official using resources for their own personal use, when those resources should be doing search and rescue or they should be helping with law enforcement in the city," said Jerry Hauer, a homeland security expert and ABC News consultant.

Jefferson said the trip was entirely appropriate. It took only a few minutes to retrieve his belongings, he said, and the truck stayed at his house for an hour in part to assist neighbors.

"This wasn't about me going to my house. It was about me going to my district," he said.

Two Heavy Trucks and Helicopter Involved

The Louisiana National Guard tells ABC News the truck became stuck as it waited for Jefferson to retrieve his belongings.

The soldiers signaled to helicopters in the air for aid. Military sources say a Coast Guard helicopter pilot saw the signal and flew to Jefferson's home. The chopper was already carrying four rescued New Orleans residents at the time.

A rescue diver descended from the helicopter, but the congressman decided against going up in the helicopter, sources say. The pilot sent the diver down again, but Jefferson again declined to go up the helicopter.

After spending approximately 45 minutes with Jefferson, the helicopter went on to rescue three additional New Orleans residents before it ran low on fuel and was forced to end its mission.

"Forty-five minutes can be an eternity to somebody that is drowning, to somebody that is sitting in a roof, and it needs to be used its primary purpose during an emergency," said Hauer.

Coast Guard Commander Brendan McPherson told ABC News, "We did have an aircraft that responded to a signal of distress where the congressman was located. The congressman did decline rescue at the time so the helicopter picked up three other people.


Link Posted: 9/14/2005 10:37:50 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/14/2005 10:40:26 AM EDT
Wonder if he'll win the next election? I guess we'll see how he plays this one.
Link Posted: 9/14/2005 10:41:26 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/14/2005 10:44:02 AM EDT
No surprise. I'd have more respect for him if he just admitted he did it for selfish reasons
Link Posted: 9/14/2005 10:45:07 AM EDT
So he was only there for a few minutes, but the Coasties were on station for 45 minutes after the truck got stuck in the quagmire of the rep's front lawn?

Note: Must come up with some exit strategy joke to insert here.
Link Posted: 9/14/2005 10:45:12 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/14/2005 10:47:02 AM EDT by uncle_frank]
Wonder how he will blame it on Bush?

Oh, just found out he is black! No problem, just blame it on whitey, the brothers and sisters will understand!
Link Posted: 9/14/2005 10:46:19 AM EDT
Whitey owes it to me.
Link Posted: 9/14/2005 10:49:32 AM EDT

Any questions?
Link Posted: 9/14/2005 10:50:44 AM EDT
Save a black congressman. Kill whitey.
Link Posted: 9/14/2005 10:52:19 AM EDT
At least he didn't have the 5ton pull up to Wal-Mart and have them wait while he ran in and liberated some goodies....
Link Posted: 9/14/2005 11:11:20 AM EDT

It was the proper use of 'gubment ahhsets. Dat's how we do 'em in Looooweeessseeeaaannnaaa!
Link Posted: 9/14/2005 11:13:15 AM EDT

Link Posted: 9/14/2005 11:17:56 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Peak_Oil:
Wonder if he'll win the next election? I guess we'll see how he plays this one.

He's black, he'll get the benefit of the doubt in the voters eyes.
Link Posted: 9/14/2005 11:59:04 AM EDT
You guys haven't heard the rest of the story. The CG rescue diver dropped on the third floor balcony, and broke a French door to make entry and check on the distinguished gentleman. Now the Honorable William Jefferson is pissed that the USCG broke his window. I'm not shitting you, he's really pissed off.
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