Using FOIA requests, they were able to put together thousands of documents to create a unified look at the world's response to the disaster. They also collected e-mails from officials around the globe.
According to CREW
The matrix includes all international offers, whether they were rejected or accepted and the reasons why, if available. The documents reveal a number of disturbing responses to offers from 145 countries and 12 international organizations from around the world.
For example, an email from Jeffrey Goldstein, a U.S. Embassy official in Estonia, to several DOS officials, states:It is getting downright embarrassing here not to have a response to the Estonians on flood relief. And now I see from the staff meeting notes that the task force may disband soon. We know that what the Estonians can offer is small potatoes and everyone at FEMA is swamped, but at this point even “thanks but no thanks” is better than deafening silence.
Another email responding to an offer from Argentina to DOS officials reads “All, The (sic) word here is that doctors of any kind are in the 'forget about it' category. Human assistance of any kind is not on our priorities list....It’s all about goods, not people, at this point.”
Another email describes how the transport of Israeli relief supplies loaded on a C-130 aircraft was delayed for over 48 hours on the tarmac while Israeli officials waited for clearance from the U.S. government. The unidentified author states: “I’ve been on the phone with the [Israeli] attache every couple of hours since noon . . . they’re patient, but not amused by our delay, obviously.” The documents do not reveal if or how the issue was resolved.
Melanie Sloan, CREW’s executive director said today, “A review of the State Department documents reveals distressing ineptitude. Countries were trying to donate desperately needed goods and services, but as a result of bureaucratic bungling and indifference, those most in need of these generous offers of aid never received it.”
The State Department as you may recall, has been headed by Condoleeza Rice since the beginning of Bush's second term. Condoleeza Rice left for vacation on Wednesday, August 31, 2005. Get that? On the first two days of the hurricane crisis, Condi was on the job. But on Wednesday morning she woke up, said to herself 'all's well at the office' and flew to New York to buy some shoes and take in a Broadway show.