The blame for the sloth-like federal response to the Hurricane Katrina disaster has been placed squarely at the feet of Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff and other officials of that department according to a report from the Government Accountability Office.

The GAO investigation concluded that Chertoff had not appointed anyone from his office to oversee the response to Katrina which eventually led to the chaos and finger-pointing afterward.

In a statement, the Homeland Security Department said that the GAO report was "a significant misunderstanding of core aspects of the Katrina response."

However, auditor general David Walker said repeated warnings emanating from the National Hurricane Center issued repeated warnings of the magnitude of the storm and therefore should have provided enough time to implement a timely response.

The aftermath of the Aug. 29, 2005 hurricane left thousands of people without food or water in New Orleans and other Gulf Coast areas.

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