Three weeks after FEMA held its now infamous fake press conference, and less than three weeks after Primary Source asked the question, a second head rolled...sort of...in the FEMA press office. Aaron Walker resigned his position as national spokesman for the agency on Wednesday.
FEMA reps are not saying if he quit or was asked to quit but he handed in his resignation Wednesday to the agency's administrator, David Paulison. The resignation comes after an internal investigation into the fake presser was conducted by Russ Knocke, the veteran spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security. Knocke is also standing in for John "Pat" Philbin who was, theoretically the first head to roll.
Philbin had long-planned to leave FEMA the week of the press conference to take a job at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. He was not actually fired from FEMA but ODNI withdrew its job offer. Like Philbin, Walker said he had been planning to leave his job since September and seek a job in the private sector, according to the Washington Post's Spencer Hsu.
So it looks like no heads have actually rolled. There was one planned departure and one 'resignation' as part of a planned departure.
But one key question remains: if, as the Post reports, the internal inquiry into the press conference could not corroborate accounts that Harvey Johnson, the second in command at FEMA, was told ahead of time that he would be asked questions not by reporters but his own staff and as Pat Philbin himself told Primary Source that Johnson did not realize it was FEMA staffers asking the questions, why is it that in the video of the press conference Johnson is seen calling to one if his staffers by name in the "press" gallery to ask a question?
Johnson, who was nominated to the position of Deputy Administrator and COO of FEMA by President Bush on September 7 of this year is expected to have his confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee before the Thanksgiving recess.