On April 24, 2011 Juliette Kayyem wrote an op-ed on her participation while at DHS on the BP catstrophe. She was the Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs. That position at the time of the BP catastrophe was a direct report to the Secretary DHS but previously was housed in FEMA, and moved by an Appropriations Act to the the direct report status. Despite claims FEMA had nothing to do with the BP catastrophe despite what I perceived as the need for an Emergency Declaration under the Robert T. Stafford Act.
The op-ed can be found at: Boston Globe by Juliette Kayyem
Disclosure: I do not know Ms. Kayyem personally but I regard her as very competent. Her history indicates to me she may well be a player in future events and not just an academic with some experience as a practicioner–although already she has established creds in both worlds!
What I do know is that her op-ed will make her an important witness in the federal case against BP now just a civil case but potentially criminal. She may not have been thinking of that role in her op-ed.
The only FEMA Director to ever have the very fullest backing of the political arm of the WH was Director Witt under President Clinton. It looks from the op-ed although not discussed that Ms. Kayyem ran the political side of the BP disaster for DHS and probably was a key WH interface.
It is still too early to tell about the long-term impacts of the BP catastrophe. Down 5,000 feet on the GOM floor almost anything can happen without being notices. There is no doubt that the Obama Administration and Congress [especially those members from GOM states] will not fund adequately the science side of the research necessary to explore the event fully and few scientists will be allowed to do the deep water research necessary since that capability is largely federal or energy industry.
My guess is that if the next Administration is Republican the law case against BP will be dropped and maybe even by the Obama Administration. So far the only unit of the Executive Branch to fall on its sword is the US Coast Guard which in a way is totally unfair given their staffing and funding over the last decade.
Washington teaches some very hard lessons on both politics and governance which are definitely not the same thing. I hope Ms. Kayyem writes more on her experiences.
I am not one who thinks the long-term result of the BP spill is meaningless from any standpoint and in particular the health of the GOM!