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Obama to Nominate Florida's Craig Fugate to Lead FEMA

Updated 3:19 p.m.
By Spencer S. Hsu
President Obama will nominate W. Craig Fugate Jr. to lead the Federal Emergency Management Agency, tapping a veteran Florida hurricane official to assume the high-profile disaster response post, the White House announced today.

Fugate, 49, will inherit a sprawling agency reorganized repeatedly since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and that bore the brunt of the political blame for the Bush administration's bungled response to Hurricane Katrina in August 2005.

Responsible for everything from more than $3 billion in state and local security grants, to nuclear preparedness, to emergency communications, to responding to natural and man-made disasters, FEMA has seen its management budget rocket from $526 million to $943 million in two years.

The agency is also helping to pay for the rebuilding of New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf coast, where local officials have complained that more than 1,200 projects valued at $3.7 billion await agreement on funding by authorities, and where the chief of staff of FEMA's local office is under investigation for numerous personnel complaints.

"Craig has what it takes to help us improve our preparedness, response and recovery efforts and I can think of no one better to lead FEMA," Obama said in a statement. "I'm confident that Craig is the right person for the job and will ensure that the failures of the past are never repeated."

Fugate has directed the Florida Division of Emergency Management since 2001, leading hurricane responses in the nation's fourth most populous state. A former volunteer firefighter and paramedic who spent 10 years as emergency manager for Alachua County, Fla., Fugate has presided over 23 declared state emergencies and 11 disasters declared by presidents, including four hurricanes that struck the state in 2004 and 2005.

On a brewing congressional debate over whether to make FEMA a stand-alone, cabinet level agency instead of a component of the Homeland Security Department, Fugate in the past has said he agreed with his future boss, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, saying he was more concerned with ensuring that FEMA operates successfully than where it fits in the government's organizational chart.

Fugate declined to comment today pending Senate confirmation, but will join Napolitano during a visit tomorrow to New Orleans to review recovery efforts from Hurricane Katrina.
Fugate canceled a scheduled appearance last Wednesday before a House appropriations subcommittee hearing on FEMA's future at the last moment, fueling speculation that his selection was imminent.

"Craig Fugate is no stranger to emergency management or to FEMA," Napolitano said. "He is one of the most respected emergency managers in the nation, and the work he's accomplished in Florida serves as a model for other states to follow."

Sen. Mary L. Landrieu (D-La.), who leads a Senate homeland security subcommittee that has investigated the Katrina recovery effort, called Fugate, "a strong choice," praising his "tremendous knowledge of disaster management" and work on-the-ground with FEMA.

Fugate's selection was also praised by state and local emergency managers and Florida Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.).

Nancy Dragani, president of the National Emergency Management Association, which represents state emergency management officials and on whose board Fugate sits, said, "One of Craig's greatest strengths is his vision. Under his leadership I think we have the opportunity to redefine emergency management at the Federal, state and local level. "

The International Association of Emergency Managers United States Council, the professional association for more than 4,500 workers, also said it was "pleased" with Fugate's selection. IAEM has formally called for FEMA to be made independent.

"We believe that this move is a strong and clear statement of the importance that the Administration places on having a fully functional FEMA led by top-notch professionals," said Russ Decker, the group's president.

By Lexie Verdon  |  March 4, 2009; 2:41 PM ET
Categories:  Cast of Characters  
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I've been a supporter of Mr. Obama and a vocal one at that. I think he has made some tough choices and risked his presidency to save our backsides but now he has gone to far. I do not want Craig Fugate to head FEMA under any circumstances. He is more than capable of doing it right but as a Floridian and an eyewitness to his ability I would rather we keep him right here in hurricane alley. Sorry, but even I can be as selfish and self centered as Rush Limbaugh on special occasions. Mr. Pres, Craig is a great pick and has no tax problems so I guess we're gonna miss him around here.

Posted by: anOPINIONATEDsob | March 4, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse



The following item ran in this space on February 6th. The writer suggests that President Obama order an independent scientific investigation into whether EMF (electromagnetic field) radiation, i.e., low-powered or high-powered microwave radiation, could be responsible for premature graying of hair, premature aging and other physical symptoms such as headaches, mood changes and skin changes... possibly posing a health risk to White House occupants.





It is a known scientific fact that radiation emanating from electromagnetic fields (or electromagnetic-emitting devices) can cause headaches, mood and behavioral changes, even adverse physical effects such as the induction of illness or injury.

Is it possible that such of the high-tech communications (or security protection) devices or weaponry in the vicinity of POTUS are causing physiological effects that could be affecting his sense of well-being -- or perhaps even endangering his health?

Given the advanced state of White House telecommunications and security technology, President Obama and his key staff should give this issue their serious and immediate attention.

Radiation-emitting devices and weaponry have been linked to adverse physical effects. Here is some source material:

Posted by: scrivener50 | March 4, 2009 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Fugate is top-notch and a great choice for FEMA. As another commenter said, he is the only reason Jeb received so many props for the Florida hurricanes.

Fugate knows how to organize and was also a great communicator with residents in the really scary '04 season. Trust me - I lived through 'em.

Posted by: parkerfl1 | March 4, 2009 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Jeb Bush sucked as Governor except for one thing - his handling of the hurricanes. Fugate was the reason. He is a great choice for this post because he's been in the trenches many times.

Posted by: rmiller19 | March 4, 2009 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Great. Another Republican appointee. This time one who believes states should do their own emergency preparedness and not rely on the federal government. Heck of an appointee. Makes me feel better already.

Remind me again why I voted for Obama?

Posted by: SarahBB | March 4, 2009 6:48 PM | Report abuse


Do something -- tell your story to the American Civil Liberties Union (link below).

Then demand that ACLU renew its free speech fight by filing a class-action suit against unconstitutional, rogue government surveillance operations.

Posted by: scrivener50 | March 4, 2009 6:42 PM | Report abuse

I just want to know if his taxes are paid up?

Posted by: BubbaRight | March 4, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Will Mr. Fugate disavow FEMA's role in THIS?



Scribes, correspondents and producers:

Still-secret Bush Justice Department memos are believed to have approved the covert use of classified, silent microwave radiation weapons on U.S. citizens -- "targeted" under the pretext of the "war on terror" as "undesirables" and "dissidents."

Victims, including the journalist who authored the articles linked below, say these painful, debilitating and illness-inducing microwave assaults constitute torture and "slow-kill" (a military descriptive) homicide -- what could be described as an American genocide.

Victims of these assaults say their family finances are decimated by an array of secret "programs of personal financial destruction" that involve the forced cooperation of private enterprise; surveillance and interception of mail and telecommunications; and the forging of billing, utility, banking and mortgage statements -- what they charge is a process of expropriation and theft by deception.

Sources say these covert programs were justified by the Bush Justice Department under legal theories that are said to include a suspected "nexus to terrorism" and, according to a source, the legal theory that weapons and/or medical experimentation on U.S. citizens is permissible if subjects are under federal investigation for suspected offenses.

These microwave weapons assaults have continued under the Obama administration, and are facilitated by an "extrajudicial punishment network" enabled by federal agencies; local police nationwide; and "community gang stalker" citizen vigilantes fronted by government-funded community policing and volunteer organizations.


Victims have asked the FBI/Justice Department to launch a civil rights investigation. They say officials have told them they see nothing to investigate, refuse to run down leads, and hint that victim accounts are delusional.

Victims maintain that marginalizing the persecuted as "unstable" or "mentally ill" is a tactic being used to cover up crimes against humanity, a highly organized and well-funded social genocide.



• Silent, covert microwave radiation weapons assaults on innocent but "targeted" U.S. citizens;

• Terroristic vigilante community gang stalking, surreptitious home entry, police-tolerated vandalism;

• Secret federal "programs of personal financial destruction."

OR (if links are corrupted / disabled):

Posted by: scrivener50 | March 4, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

I hope they checked his tax returns.

Posted by: JRM2 | March 4, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Fugate's appointment may be illegal -- why doesn't Obama simply release his LONG FORM birth certificate to put this issue to rest -- especially before some part of the country really needs FEMA?

Posted by: JakeD | March 4, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

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