updated 9/16/2005 8:02:22 AM ET 2005-09-16T12:02:22

The former FEMA director who became a lightning rod for the sluggish federal response to Hurricane Katrina put the blame on state officials in an interview with the New York Times newspaper.

Within hours of Katrina’s attack on New Orleans Michael Brown said he told the White House that state officials couldn’t get their act together.

"I can't get a unified command established," he said he told Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and a White House official.

Brown said he called Chertoff and White House chief of staff Andrew Card to let them know the situation was out of control.

His account suggested the White House knew right away that the storm was leaving the coast in shambles.

A top administration official told the Times that White House officials remember Brown’s calls, but don’t think they had the urgency he recalls.

Brown resigned this week, days after being from the Katrina mission.

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