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Oklahoma emergency management director testifies about FEMA

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- The head of Oklahoma's Department of Emergency Management testifies before Congress about the Federal Emergency Management Agency's response to Hurricane Katrina.

Albert Ashwood Thursday told a House subcommittee that FEMA got lost in the shuffle of agencies reorganized under the Department of Homeland Security after the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001.

Ashwood and others told the subcommittee that FEMA should be re-established outside the Homeland Security Department.

Lawmakers already have provided more than $60-billion in federal relief, and legislation aimed at restructuring FEMA is expected to be considered.

Former West Virginia Governor Bob Wise says former FEMA directors James Witt and Joe Allbaugh were effective because they had a direct link to the White House and functioned at the same level as cabinet officers.

Oklahoma native Michael Brown was elevated to FEMA director after Allbaugh left in 2003, but he resigned last month after being heavily criticized for his performance after Katrina hit.
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