Brown: Regret that 'I let the American public down'

WASHINGTON (AP) - Former FEMA Director Michael Brown says his biggest regret a year after Hurricane Katrina is that he didn't speak up about the lack of a federal response.

Brown said on N-B-C's "Today" show, "there was no plan." He says he stuck with "White House talking points" rather than leveling with the country about how bad things were after the hurricane slammed the Gulf Coast.

Brown confesses that, as a political appointee, he wanted to protect the president. He says he was "torn between telling the absolute truth and relying on those talking points."

Brown, who President Bush once said was doing a "heck of a job," thinks he was made a Katrina scapegoat because he was "low man on the totem pole."

He also says it's "baloney" for critics to suggest he wasn't qualified to head FEMA.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)