FEMA Faces Firestorm for Phony Presser

10/27/2007 10:00 AM PDT

FEMA Faces Firestorm for Phony Presser

It's certainly one way to avoid the tough questions.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is getting serious flak after it let staffers pose as journalists and lob softball questions at one of its top officials at a hastily organized "press briefing" on the California wildfires.

Deputy administrator Harvey Johnson took "questions" from four people identified by the Washington Post as three directors and a press aide, who then didn't allow any questions from the actual journos in the room.

The White House strongly criticized FEMA, and the agency apologized for its "error in judgment." FEMA, of course, was once run by Michael Brown, whose qualification for the job was his experience in running the International Arabian Horse Association. He later resigned.