Former Senior FEMA Official and Political Appointee Hired at NASA Headquarters

By Keith Cowing
January 10, 2007
Filed under
Former Senior FEMA Official and Political Appointee Hired at NASA Headquarters

NASA Headquarters has a new political appointee in its employ: Patrick Rhode. He’ll be working on the 9th floor. Rhode served as FEMA Director Michael Brown’s Chief of Staff and later, as Acting Deputy Director of FEMA.

According to a press release issued by FEMA, “Before joining FEMA, Rhode was associate administrator at the U.S. Small Business Administration and White House liaison for the Department of Commerce. His first position with the Bush Administration was as special assistant to the President and deputy director of National Advance Operations, a position he assumed in January 2001. Previously, Rhode served as deputy director of National Advance Operations for the George W. Bush Presidential Campaign, in Austin, Texas. His other professional credits include serving in communications and public affairs roles in the Texas state government and the private sector.”

Rhode quickly became swept up in the controversy surrounding FEMA’s mishandling of the post-Katrina human disaster wherein the credentials of senior management at FEMA came under close scrutiny.

According to the New Republic: “Never fear, though: Rhode has covered disasters–as a TV anchor for local network affiliates in Alabama and Arkansas, in which capacity he developed “an acute interest in what responders do in times of crises.” Perhaps not acute enough. He recently said that FEMA’s response to Katrina was “probably one of the most efficient and effective responses in the country’s history.”

Fox News noted that “Brown’s own schedule was booked with media interviews in the days immediately before and after the storm. At 6:21 a.m. the day Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast, Brown was prepping for an interview and e-mailing with his then-deputy, Patrick Rhode.

“Yea, sitting in the chair, putting mousse in my hair,” Brown e-mailed Rhode.

“Me too!” Rhode replied.”

Rhode’s responsibilites at NASA have not been publicly announced.

Editor’s 11 Jan note: Patrick  Rhode is now listed in NASA’s online phonebook as a “senior advisor” to “Organization: A” (Office of the Administrator)

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.