Ex-FEMA Head: Gov't Didn't Tell All on Katrina

President Bush talks as FEMA director Mike Brown, right, looks on, during a briefing on damage from Hurricane Katrina in Mobile, Ala., Friday, Sept. 2, 2005. Brown, the principal target of harsh criticism of the Bush administration's response to Hurricane Katrina, was relieved of his onsite relief command Friday, Sept. 9, 2005. He will be replaced by Coast Guard Vice Adm. Thad W. Allen, who was overseeing New Orleans relief, recovery and rescue efforts, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
AP Photo/Susan Walsh
Five years after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, the federal official at the heart of a firestorm over Washington's slow response is acknowledging the government's shortcomings.

Former Federal Emergency Management agency director Mike Brown tells NBC's "Today" show "there was a disconnect" about what the Bush administration was saying about the situation, and how bad things actually were.

Brown said "there was a mentality in Washington which says you put the best face on everything."

Complete Coverage: Katrina Five Years Later

He said information given out by the administration was factually accurate, but "we never put it in context: We're doing all these things but it's not enough, or it's not working.

"And I think that's a huge failure of government to trust the American people with the actual facts of what happened.

"I think politicians and government leaders need to learn that the American public wants accurate information," he said.

Brown is the man whom then-President George W. Bush famously praised publicly for doing a "heck of a job."

When asked if he had thought the federal government was ready then, Brown said, "No.

"I was concerned about the Superdome, I was concerned about the evacuation, all of those things, plus the placement of FEMA and DHS," Brown said, in what he termed "a severing of the relationships" between the federal government the state and local authorities.

He also believes the systemic failures that hampered the government's efforts in 2005 have not been addressed.

Bropwn currently hosts a talk show from Denver's KOA Radio.