The Writing on the Wall

FEMA director Michael Brown is being sent back to Washington; Homeland Security Director Chertoff will announce a new leader for on-the-ground Katrina relief efforts, senior administration official tells CNN.

MORE: Coast Guard Vice Adm. Thad Allen will replace Brown as the on-site head of hurricane relief operations in the Gulf Coast.

STILL MORE: Asked if he was being made a scapegoat for a federal relief effort that has drawn widespread and sharp criticism, Brown told The Associated Press after a long pause: “By the press, yes. By the president, No.”

“Michael Brown has done everything he possibly could to coordinate the federal response to this unprecedented challenge,” Chertoff told reporters in Baton Rouge, La. Chertoff sidestepped a question on whether the move was the first step toward Brown’s leaving FEMA.

But a source close to Brown, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the FEMA director had been considering leaving after the hurricane season ended in November and that Friday’s action virtually assures his departure.

EVEN MORE: Brown doesn’t know why he was pulled. ABCNews says he’ll be out as FEMA head, very soon

Others: Malkin | Brown Replacement Familiar With Challenges |

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