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Wednesday, October 26, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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FEMA chief had planned to quit before Katrina hit

The Washington Post

WASHINGTON — Michael Brown was days away from announcing plans to resign as director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency when Hurricane Katrina hit Aug. 29, according to e-mails released by separate House and Senate investigations into the government's flawed response to the disaster.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, chairwoman of the Senate investigation, questioned whether Brown's status played a role in the response. "The fact that it appears that Michael Brown was planning to resign may explain in part his curious detachment during the Katrina catastrophe," Collins said.

The e-mails also suggest that the administration knew Brown was on the verge of departing when he was recalled as head of the sluggish rescue and relief efforts for the New Orleans area.

Brown resigned Sept. 12, but the Department of Homeland Security then contracted with him at his full $148,000-a-year salary to serve as a consultant on a review of the response to Hurricane Katrina.

Brown had privately shared his intentions with acquaintances.

Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company

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