The water reached to the third step of Jefferson’s house, a military source familiar with the incident told ABC News, and the vehicle pulled up onto Jefferson’s front lawn so he wouldn’t have to walk in the water. Jefferson went into the house alone, the source says, while the soldiers waited on the porch for about an hour.
Finally, according to the source, Jefferson emerged with a laptop computer, three suitcases, and a box about the size of a small refrigerator, which the enlisted men loaded up into the truck.
Okay bad enough, but at a human level, I guess it’s understandable to be concerned about one’s home, even though grabbing a Guard unit during an emergency for your own use is entirely inappropriate for a congressman. But it gets worse:
The Louisiana National Guard tells ABC News the truck became stuck as it waited for Jefferson to retrieve his belongings.
Two weeks later, the vehicle’s tire tracks were still visible on the lawn.
The soldiers signaled to helicopters in the air for aid. Military sources say a Coast Guard helicopter pilot saw the signal and flew to Jefferson’s home. The chopper was already carrying four rescued New Orleans residents at the time.
A rescue diver descended from the helicopter, but the congressman decided against going up in the helicopter, sources say. The pilot sent the diver down again, but Jefferson again declined to go up the helicopter.
After spending approximately 45 minutes with Jefferson, the helicopter went on to rescue three additional New Orleans residents before it ran low on fuel and was forced to end its mission.
… “I can’t comment on why the congressman decided not to go in the aircraft,” [Coast Guard Commander] McPherson said. “Did it take a little more time to send the rescue swimmer back a second time? Yes… You’d have to ask the congressman if it was a waste of time or not.”
The Louisiana National Guard then sent a second 5-ton truck to rescue the first truck, and Jefferson and his personal items were returned to the Superdome.
Schneider said he could not comment on whether the excursion was appropriate. “We’re in no position to comment on an order given to a soldier. You’re not going to get a statement from the Louisiana National Guard saying whether it was right or wrong. That was the mission we were assigned.”
But wait–it gets still worse:
In an unrelated matter, [Oh, really? How are you so sure of that? –WC] authorities recently searched Jefferson’s property as part of a federal investigation into the finances of a high-tech firm. Last month FBI officials raided Jefferson’s house as well as his home in Washington, D.C., his car and his accountant’s house.
Jefferson has not commented on that matter, except to say he is cooperating with the investigation. But he has emerged as a major voice in the post-Katrina political debate.
… A senior federal law enforcement source tells ABC News that investigators are interested in learning if Jefferson moved any materials relevant to the investigation. Jefferson says he did not.
And you just took him at his word? I repeat: good grief.