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Profile: US Coast Guard


Positions that US Coast Guard has held:




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US Coast Guard actively participated in the following events:


July 6, 2001: Clarke Briefs Senior Security Officials on al-Qaeda Threat      Complete 911 Timeline

       One day after heading a meeting on al-Qaeda with the Counterterrorism and Security Group, counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke heads a similar meeting at the White House with senior security officials at the FAA, Immigration, Secret Service, Coast Guard, Customs, and other agencies. The CIA and FBI give briefings on the growing al-Qaeda threat. The CIA says al-Qaeda members “believe the upcoming attack will be ‘spectacular,’ qualitatively different from anything they have done to date.” [9/11 Commission Report, 3/24/04 (D)] Then Clarke says, “You've just heard that CIA thinks al-Qaeda is planning a major attack on us. So do I. You heard CIA say it would probably be in Israel or Saudi Arabia. Maybe. But maybe it will be here. Just because there is no evidence that says that it will be here, does not mean it will be overseas. They may try to hit us at home. You have to assume that is what they are going to do. Cancel summer vacations, schedule overtime, have your terrorist reaction teams on alert to move fast. Tell me, tell each other, about anything unusual.” [Clarke, 2004, pp 236] Despite this and other warnings to the FBI, the FBI continues to inform state and local agencies that the chances of a terrorist attack is low (see Summer 2001).
People and organizations involved: Federal Aviation Administration, Secret Service, Counterterrorism and Security Group, al-Qaeda, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency, US Coast Guard, Richard A. Clarke, Immigration and Naturalization Service, US Customs Service

November 25, 2002: Bush Creates Department of Homeland Security      Complete 911 Timeline

This Homeland Security department logo of an eye peeking through a keyhole was copyrighted but apparently not used.
President Bush signs legislation creating the Department of Homeland Security. Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge is promoted to Secretary of Homeland Security. The Department will consolidate nearly 170,000 workers from 22 agencies, including the Coast Guard, the Secret Service, the federal security guards in airports, and the Customs Service. [New York Times, 11/26/02 (C); Los Angeles Times, 11/26/02] However, the FBI and CIA, the two most prominent anti-terrorism agencies, will not be part of Homeland Security. [New York Times, 11/20/02] The department wants to be active by March 1, 2003, but “it's going to take years to integrate all these different entities into an efficient and effective organization.” [New York Times, 11/20/02; Los Angeles Times, 11/26/02] Some 9/11 victims' relatives are angry over sections inserted into the legislation at the last minute. Airport screening companies will be protected from lawsuits filed by family members of 9/11 victims. Kristen Breitweiser, whose husband died in the WTC, says, “We were down there lobbying last week and trying to make the case that this will hurt us, but they did it anyway. It's just a slap in the face to the victims.” [New York Times, 11/26/02 (B)]
People and organizations involved: Tom Ridge, Department of Homeland Security, Secret Service, US Coast Guard, George W. Bush, US Customs Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Kristen Breitweiser, Relatives of September 11 Victims, Central Intelligence Agency

12:00 pm August 27, 2005: Coast Guard Issues Safety Bulletin, Restricts Port Access      Hurricane Katrina

       The Coast Guard issues its second Katrina-related safety bulletin, ordering all oceangoing vessels to leave port immediately and reiterating its notice that the affected waterways will be closed no later than 2:00 am Monday, August 29. [Coast Guard (PDF), 8/28/2005]
People and organizations involved: US Coast Guard, Hurricane Katrina

2:00 pm August 27, 2005: Coast Guard Issues Safety Bulletin, Restricts Port Access      Hurricane Katrina

       The Coast Guard orders most vessels to leave several Gulf Coast ports and prohibits vessels from entering the ports, in anticipation of Hurricane Katrina. The Coast Guard warns that all waterways will close no later than 2:00 am Monday, August 29. [Coast Guard/ (PDF), 8/27/2005]
People and organizations involved: Hurricane Katrina, US Coast Guard

August 28, 2005: US Coast Guard Deploys, Prepares for Search and Rescue Missions      Hurricane Katrina

       Coast Guard Admiral Robert Duncan, head of the Eighth District in New Orleans, deploys cutters, helicopters, and other vessels today, and requests additional forces from the commander of the Coast Guard's Eastern Area, in Norfolk, Va., which is responsible for everything east of the Mississippi, according to Coast Guard officials. In response to Duncan's request, Jayhawk rescue helicopters from Coast Guard locations along the Eastern Seaboard take off today. They will follow the hurricane to the Gulf Coast and arrive just behind Katrina. “We don't have to get approval to execute,” according to Richard J. Dein, a retired Coast Guard commander and a search-and-rescue specialist. “The Coast Guard is organized by geography. All of those districts act autonomously. They each have a command and control center. What you [have is] a ready response network.” [Boston Globe, 9/11/2005 Sources: Richard J. Dein] }
People and organizations involved: Robert Duncan, US Coast Guard

9:32 pm August 28, 2005: Coast Guard Announces Port, Waterway Closures, Outlines Preparations for Rescues      Hurricane Katrina

       The Coast Guard announces that it is closing ports and waterways along the Gulf Coast, and evacuating its own personnel and resources from out of harm's way. “Extensive damage and closures to ports and waterways throughout the central Gulf coast should be expected,” the Coast Guard warns. More than 40 Coast Guard aircraft from units and more than 30 small boats, patrol boats, and cutters, are positioning themselves in staging areas around the projected impact area (from Jacksonville, Florida, to Houston, Texas), and they are preparing to conduct immediate post-hurricane search, rescue, and humanitarian aid operations, as well as waterway impact assessments and waterway reconstitution operations. [Coast Guard, 8/28/2005]
People and organizations involved: US Coast Guard

Early Morning August 29, 2005: Louisiana National Guard Stands Ready to Respond to the Storm      Hurricane Katrina

       Maj. Gen. Bennett C. Landreneau reports that the Guard is ready to respond to the storm: Aircraft positioned from Hammond to the Texas border are ready to fly behind the storm to check damage after it passes over New Orleans. Search and rescue operations are coordinating with the state Wildlife and Fisheries Department and the Coast Guard. More guardsmen stationed at the Jackson Barracks, stand ready to head into the city with high-water vehicles as soon as the storm passes. [Times-Picayune Blog, 8/29/2005]
People and organizations involved: US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Coast Guard, Louisiana National Guard, Bennett C. Landreneau

(7:30 pm) August 29, 2005: FEMA Representative Details New Orleans' Levee System Breaches, Flooding, and Damage to Mayor and officials at FEMA Headquarters      Hurricane Katrina

       Around this time, Marty Bahamonde, a FEMA spokesman, who has spent the day at the Superdome before surveying the damage from a Coast Guard helicopter, briefs New Orleans Mayor Nagin on the extent of the damage. Bahamonde describes the surge of water flowing through the city as “surprising in its intensity.” Mayor Nagin is devastated, Bahamonde will later recall. Others attending the briefing begin to cry. [Knight Ridder, 9/11/2005] According to a later Newsweek report, Bahamonde asks for a phone. “I need to call Washington,” he says. “Do you have a conference-call line?” He seems a little taken aback when the answer is no, according to a Mayor's aide. Bahamonde manages to find a phone that works, but he has trouble reaching senior officials in Washington. When he finally gets someone on the line, the city officials hear him repeating, “You don't understand, you don't understand.” [Newsweek, 9/19/2005] According to Knight Ridder, Bahamonde also calls the FEMA team at Louisiana's Emergency Command Center in Baton Rouge to brief them on the situation. [Knight Ridder, 9/11/2005]
People and organizations involved: US Coast Guard, Marty Bahamonde, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Ray Nagin

After 9:00 am August 29, 2005: Coast Guard Fields Dozens of Calls from Stranded Residents, Some New Orleans Residents Awaiting Rescue on Rooftops      Hurricane Katrina

       According to Petty Officer Cliff Roberts, at the Coast Guard's Command Center, the Guard has received about four dozen emergency electronic signals from vessels in Grand Isle, Venice, and elsewhere. “It's unbelievable.” The Coast Guard is also fielding calls from distressed residents unable to get through on 911 lines, and has received reports of people on rooftops at Villere and Louisa streets and in the 200 block of Almonaster Drive. [Times-Picayune Blog, 8/29/2005 Sources: Cliff Roberts]
People and organizations involved: US Coast Guard

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