CDC Refuses Congressional Requests for Katrina Reports
Members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday sent a letter to CDC Director Julie Gerberding requesting access to "after-action" reports evaluating the agency's performance during Hurricane Katrina, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
Committee officials said CDC has not yet released any of the reports despite agreeing to do so in a meeting last month. The agency also rejected a Freedom of Information Act request for the reports by the Journal-Constitution, which last month reported that a December 2005 critique by a CDC contractor identified significant problems in how the agency coordinated and managed its staff after the hurricane struck.
The letter -- signed by committee Chair Joe Barton (R-Texas), ranking member Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), and Reps. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) and Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) -- requested CDC to produce the reports by Friday. "We understand that [HHS] and CDC are working to provide this report to the committee but have encountered some problems unidentified to committee staff that is delaying production of this report," the letter said.
The letter continues that because the agency said it already has acted on some of the report's recommendations, "the committee has an even greater interest in expediting the production of the report." The committee has oversight of CDC and has the power to subpoena records from the agency.
CDC spokesperson Tom Skinner on Thursday said the agency is waiting for a decision from HHS.
HHS spokesperson Christina Pearson said the department has asked CDC to identify any issues that might prevent release of the reports and, if there are none, to release them immediately (Young, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 12/8).