Chertoff set for Web Q&A on hurricane relief efforts

The government will be using the power of the Internet to answer questions from the public about measures being taken to assist hurricane victims and how individuals can contribute. Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff will begin answering questions from the public tomorrow at 4 p.m.

White House spokesman David Almacy said several hundred questions had already been submitted and that he was trying to select the most frequently asked questions and suggestions in order to cover as much topical ground as possible.

'We got confirmation about the secretary's interest in participating this morning, pending his schedule availability,' he said.

Chertoff had already been scheduled to be a guest tomorrow on 'Ask the White House,' the Internet chat that is a regular feature on the White House home page, Almacy said.

'He was prescheduled to do [Sept.] 1st because the topic was going to be National Preparedness Month [and] he was going to do a kickoff,' Almacy said. 'In the wake of the hurricane, we wanted to ensure that the secretary was able to address concerns about what federal efforts are being employed to provide support to those affected by the storm.'

'We're kind of playing it by ear' as to whether Chertoff will be answering questions live, Almacy added. The Internet Q&A sessions are regularly handled by the programmers and designers on the White House Web site team, he said.

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