November 7th, 2007
07:00 PM ET
15 years ago

FEMA's fake press conference claims another victim

FEMA Administrator David Paulison has received the resignation of the agency's press secretary.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Aaron Walker, press secretary for FEMA, submitted his resignation to FEMA administrator David Paulison this afternoon, according to a FEMA official. The official will not say whether Walker was asked to resign or did so voluntarily. His resignation becomes effective in early December.

Walker is the second FEMA press official to suffer the repercussions of a staged FEMA news conference during the California wildfires.

John (Pat) Philbin, FEMA's director of external affairs, left his job two days after the news conference to become head of public affairs for the Director of National Intelligence, Mike McConnell. That job offer, however, was rescinded as Philbin's role in the press conference became clearer.

The FEMA said that Philbin and Walker bore the "greatest degree of responsibility for the planning and execution" of the press conference. "They had the greatest ability to stop that train from going down the track, and they didn't," said the official.

- CNN Homeland Security Correspondent Jeanne Meserve

Filed under: FEMA
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. jw, canadian,ok

    This country is being ran by a bunch of idiots with negative IQ's.

    November 7, 2007 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  2. Carrol Ann, Newport, Maine


    November 7, 2007 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  3. mark wilkes barre pa

    Well, thats a story ender folks. the right people got axed and thats it. I know I know , lib responce..... what about bush why don't they fire bush,bush knew, bush lied, theres a consperacy in here somewhere,not enough heads rolled for this one to be over, who else knew, this is unacceptable,we need to impeach some one for this. geeeese my head is going to explode,,,, Is this what it feels like to be a liberal ????

    November 8, 2007 06:11 am at 6:11 am |
  4. John K. Riggs

    Chertoff probably ordered the fake news conference and when they got caught he deep six's em just like his boss dubya.When you have two passports your loyalty can be and should be questioned. If real reporters didnt like being left out they could go to a free speech zone and complain. No wonder why we are now the laughing stock of the world.

    November 8, 2007 06:47 am at 6:47 am |
  5. Jim Topeka, KS

    A fake press conference from an administration that use to issue political statements under the labels of breaking news. And now people are getting upset, don't figure.

    November 8, 2007 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  6. Raj, Dallas, Texas

    After katrina, I have no idea of how these kind of thoughts originate in the minds of these people. Not only they should resign their jobs but they need to have an asterik behind their names. They should never get a 6 figure job. It is so dumb.

    November 8, 2007 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  7. J.Crobuzon

    Before Katrina, this would have been an embarassment but not a career-buster. FEMA's reputation is in the toilet these days, and they badly need for people to be able to trust them. Sad for Philbin and Walker, who were trying to get info out to the public, but they really stepped on their junk this time. Hope they both land on their feet and continue their public service.

    November 8, 2007 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  8. Matt H. Nashville,TN

    I evacuated from New Orleans when Katrina hit. I went down there less than a month later it was BAAAAADDD! I went down there 5-6 months later and it was still BAAAAADD! FEMA has never done anything worth talking good about so, I don't know why this comes as a suprise to us? Look at them they know there worthless they have to pull fake press confrences!?! Just another well FAILED plan by "George W.rong-again Bush" THANX FEMA You're the best!

    November 8, 2007 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  9. Raymond, El Paso TX

    Interesting! Bush did the exact same thing before occupying Iraq yet that lame duck is still quacking.

    November 8, 2007 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  10. Jim Topeka, Kansas

    Okay, everyone in FEMA is paying the price for a fake press conference. Questions were asked and questions were answered, just that the questions were not asked by reporters.

    Now, if my memory serves me and it does. This administration was renowed for issuing " news breaks " that were infact nothing more than administration political statements produced by the administration, edited by the administration to get administration points across under the cover of being a news story. Which was worse, misrepresenting a political view as news, or having questions asked at a fake news conference and answered.

    November 8, 2007 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  11. Karen,ny

    I think that this is very UNETHICAL and we shall overcome this CLOUD hanging over our head just like we DID in the PAST. As they say..hit me with your best away!

    November 8, 2007 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    Why isn't this a bigger story? This is huge. A government agency has been caught red handed totally manipulating news stories. This should be a major outcry.

    I guess we're just used to all the corruption.

    It's up to Barack Obama to come in and clean up this whole mess. He can do it.

    Obama 08

    November 8, 2007 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  13. THOMAS BILLIS las vegas nv

    At this point fake news coming out of the White House is de rigeur.If everybody who had a hand in fake news at the White House resigned there would be no one left to impeach.

    November 9, 2007 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  14. Rick, Chicago Illinois

    mark wilkes barre pa

    "geeeese my head is going to explode"

    What was your first clue? The pain way up inside your colon?

    November 9, 2007 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |